And not just in terms of luxury, but also in areas of technology and craftsmanship.
It’s the most luxurious luxury car. It’s also the largest selling one—even in India, where more than 8,250 units of the S-Class have been sold. The new seventh-generation S-Class is also value for money—while the imported model cost Rs 2.17 crore (S 400 d) and Rs 2.19 crore (S 450), the new made-in-India models cost Rs 1.57 crore (S 350 d) and Rs 1.62 crore (S 450).
It’s also lovely to drive and unparalleled to get driven in. From leather to buttons, everything feels supremely luxurious. The ‘feel’ inside the cabin is like a luxury yacht or a business jet, possibly even better.
Exterior elements that make it stand out are seamless door handles (these electrically come out of the when the driver approaches, or the outer surface of the door handle is touched), digital lights (optimally adjusted to other road users and surrounding conditions), beautiful 19-inch alloy wheels, and the overall fit-and-finish.
The cabin is where it feels a class apart. The S-Class gets the NTG7 MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Essentially, there are five screens on board (two in the front row and three in the second row). The computing power of the MBUX has increased by 50% compared to the system in the earlier generation, Mercedes-Benz said, and the interior voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ can be controlled from rear seats.
Air-vents in the new S-Class are rectangular; in the previous generation these were round. The all-new portrait OLED head unit now provides a 64% larger screen area in high resolution. The car also has a redesigned new instrument cluster sized 12.3 inches.
Leather interiors are offered in new three different shades of offering in waterfall design. Rear massage seats have 10 different massage programmes to choose from, such as hot relaxing back massage, hot relaxing massage, classic massage, and so on. In fact, these massages are so good that these often can make a person sleep. The rear seating area anyway can be turned into a very private place, with curtains on the rear door windows and on the rear glass.
The new S-Class gets the Burmester 3D surround sound system with a total output of 710 watts. There is ambient lighting everywhere, even in the seatbelt buckle holder. There are a lot of swipe functions everywhere inside the cabin. The 3D, on the driver’s information system, is the best you would have seen on any car, ever. Overall, the new S-Class is a car you can step into just to relax, although driving it is a great experience as well.
First, with 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 5.1 seconds, the new S-Class is as quick as the EQC electric car (and faster than Audi e-tron). Second, the centre of gravity is so low there is absolutely no body roll. Third, even on bad and broken roads almost zero vibrations enter the cabin (but on these plastic speed breakers increasingly seen on Indian roads, a loud thud is often heard). Fourth, at about 5.3 metres (and wheelbase of 3.2 metres), the S-Class tends to scrape some ‘tall’ speed breakers. Fifth, the dynamic ride selector is located inconveniently on the central screen (not on the steering wheel) and that too on the farther side of the screen (as if the front passenger is supposed to operate it!).
In India, the S-Class competes with Audi A8, BMW 7 Series sedan and 8 Series Gran Coupé, and Lexus LS. All those have their own strengths and one cannot claim whether or not the S-Class is really better than its competitors, but where the S-Class stands out is its unrivalled brand value and that ‘best car in the world’ tagline that has evolved alongside the evolution of the car.