Gulf Auto Zone

Cover Story: Mercedes S-Class – Redefining Luxury and Safety

Mercedes recently launched the 2018 S-Class with many refinements into the Bahrain market. The new S-Class will be available in six model variants in the GCC markets: Mercedes-Benz S 450, Mercedes-Benz S 560, Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC, Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+, Mercedes-AMG S 65 and Mercedes-Maybach S 650.

The Mercedes-Benz S 560 e, an upgraded plug-in hybrid variant, will be available later in the year.

The Mercedes-Benz S 450, S 560 4MATIC and Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ will be available from August 2017. All other model variants will launch in November 2017.

The time to know the vehicle and its worth resulted in a test drive of the S 450 perhaps the flagbearer in simulated and natural conditions. The opinion, it is a piece of luxury and we are forced to offer it as the car for the aspiring young senior executive or even the management personnel for whom the valet opens the door. It is luxury re-defined.

The most important component is the ease of driving, truly bringing the S450 to the next level of technology – autonomous driving, with driver assistance systems and substantially expanded functionality.

Leave the driving to us, Mercedes seems to say to the potential user. The cruise control, we found, automatically decides the speed for curves, intersections ( that Bahrain has in plenty) changes in speed limit and the often seen speed brakes and traffic lights. Look at it with that sarcasm, so what!! The loaded GPS data gives the car its own sensing power. Even as we decided to put it to test on the crowded internal roads, the functionality did not leave us bewildered. Strongly, this could be a huge step forward in cruise control.

The active steer assist helped in automatically keeping the car on track, without human intervention. Did we actually test it? Yes on the Buddaiya Hamala stretch. It tracks the lanes and unpaved roads, as well as roads under construction  and ensures that it stays safe – right in the middle.

Another key area of test was the active brake assist. Driving into dead ends with cement barricades, the brake assist did detect the obstacle and came to a halt. We tried driving into heavy traffic, into undetecting motorists and simulated situations and found that the Minus Man braking performed very well.  We found this a huge plus in Bahrain, where in peak hours traffic rage assumes meteoric heights and the truck, six-wheelers and such others rarely care for the safety of the fellow motorists.

All that aside, are the pedestrians – especially the labourers hurrying to get home in the evening and school children running about like little cats. The evasive steering assist we found detected road crossing and evaded the person. It then straightened up without a hug. But it is important for the driver to pay heed because in Bahrain, for example, there are too many of these in a short distance. Overused programmes tend to take the brunt. Dependence on this occasionally is good, but not all the time.

On safety our last check was rear collisions. Yes the pre-safe sound did help. I pretended to be occupied but the car warning was bold enough to make me move out of trouble.

That aside, the next on the agenda was the blind spots while lane changing, one of the key areas for accidents. The indicator on, while making the lane change, it refused stubbornly because of a car in our blind spot. It just switched off. So after speeding about two minutes I switched on the lane change to the right and it promptly complied.

Bahrain, however, offers a challenge and for now it takes the driver to be on the road, gently depressing the brakes at yields and stop signs. Traffic signals change and the car cannot be blamed for not knowing it all.

Think of a car that sees the road ahead and decides the driving? Well yes the Mercedes had that a long time ago. Now that facility has been further improved. The camera eyes spot and scan the road ahead – bumps and troughs – even in dim light. However, it is important for the driver to be way, because technology does not always see the unpredicted. The S 450 has the surface scan technology to study the road ahead. For want of time we could not much look at the distances involved. The overdrive has improved considerably I should say.

Another creature comfort to talk about is the massaging the passengers get even while on the drive. The lumbar and posterior get that extra easy feeling making the ride less tedious and tiresome, thanks to what the agency, Al Haddad and Sons called the Energizing , reminding me of the same in Star Trek. Mercedes claims that the energizing comfort control is a world first entering series production. While the massaging is beautiful, the aroma and the music sure need to change.

The airconditioning, I must guarantee, is a Wow, perhaps due to the car being a brand new one. Should this aspect remain the same, it is simply too very good.

While driving, most all drivers love the feel of folk and country while the music I had in the test drive car did not feel good. Yes indeed, there are six modes – freshness, warmth, vitality, joy, comfort and training.

For those looking under the hood, the six cylinder V shaped arrangement is capable of  2.996 cc and produce a torque of 500 Nm. The S450 is a 367 horses wagon.

Mobile phones can be charged wirelessly and without a telephone holder. Wireless charging works with all mobile devices that support or can be retrofitted to support the Qi standard. The charging pad is integrated into the stowage compartment at the front of the centre console. Wireless charging is optionally also available in the centre console in the rear.

Front and rear passengers now have more text messaging options. They can receive, send, forward and use voice-to-text to dictate text messages. Telephone numbers from text messages and embedded URLs can be used for further actions. The messages are also displayed as pop-ups on the right half of the wide-screen cockpit.

The Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system with an output of 1520 watts has been expanded with a speaker in the overhead control panel and two speakers in the sides.

The interior of the new S-Class is characterised by two new high-resolution displays, each with a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a widescreen cockpit, and as a central element emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design.

Like the instrument cluster, this widescreen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. Because the cockpit is fully digital, the driver can choose from three different display styles (“Classic”, “Sporty” and “Progressive”) and also configure the information and views relevant to them. The Mercedes-Benz parking package and 360-degree camera come as standard in the GCC models, giving drivers full view of the car’s surroundings.

The new S-Class has touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel that respond to swiping motions in the same manner as a smartphone. The driver can use the steering wheel controls to operate DISTRONIC cruise operation and control the entire infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. The infotainment system can be also operated via the touchpad controller in the centre console and by linguatronic voice control.

%d bloggers like this: