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LUXURY MADE IN GERMANY

Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017    

By Irwin B Fletcher



T hey say that there is someone out there for everybody, and I think the same is true for cars. Case in point, if you wander through the Eastern Motors showroom you’ll notice that models range from the more casual and practical C and E-Class to the outright insane behemoth GLE or the race-inspired GTR.

But they also say that with age comes beauty and that is certainly the case as you come to the far end of the Mercedes-Benz spectrum. Beneftting from 114 years of ingenuity and innovation, the 2018 S-Class sedan brings opulence to a whole new level. It may not garner your attention right away, but once you fnd yourself on the open highway, minds and opinions will start to sway.

HREE LEVELS OF INDULGENCE

The S450 comes in three distinct versions; Low, High, and High Premium. The only difference between the High and High Premium is that the latter comes with the Chauffeur package and loads of supplesoft Napa leather. The new array of technology is mostly things that you will never see, especially when it comes to the drive modes.

However, there is still the wide range of entertainment, driver assistance, and safety features that we have all come to be familiar with in a Mercedes-Benz.

Some of the key features I found intriguing were that mobile phones can be charged without a cable charger through the two wireless charging platforms located in the front and rear armrests, plus the rear seats are almost as comfortable as my living room recliner when you bring them into the 43.5 degree reclined position at the touch of a button.

Since this was the High Premium version, it came equipped with the Chauffeur package, which allowed the front passenger seat to be electronically controlled from the seat in the back. Moving it forward gave the rear passenger nearly 8 centimeters of extra legroom. Combine it with the electronic footrest and reclining seats and the longer journeys feel more like time in a frst class cabin of the A380

IT’S SIX-Y AND IT KNOWS IT

Starting the engine and pulling away from the showroom had a different sensation than the last time. The ferocious growl from the engine was there but slightly muted. My sense of bravado was also apparent, but it was augmented with an air of distinction that seemed to say “See the vertical emblem on the hood? You have arrived.” Metaphorically wherever that was.

But getting back on track, I was fortunate enough to get the High Premium version 4-Matic. Just as the bulk of the current Mercedes-Benz family, the S450 utilises the same twin-turbo 3.0 litre V6 and will still get you from zero to 100kph in about 5 seconds thanks to the extremely respectable 367-horse power at your disposal.

Seemingly also standard, is the sport mode choice that is available from the drive options if you want to have a slightly more bang for your buck. But the S450 is a Mercedes-Benz for drivers that prefer long hours of gently cruising as the engine hums away just above 2,000rpms. It was easy to sustain a maximum speed of 158kph on the Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Road without the lamentation of not having 8 or 12 cylinders blasting away.

Since most owners will have Jeeves driving them home, the difference in engine prowess won’t be noticed anyway once you sink yourself into the seats and gently recline for the journey. Either way, you won’t have to worry about it too much as the Intelligent Drive package is working quietly to keep everybody safe.

When it’s engaged, it is a bit disconcerting to be honest; especially the frst few times you try it. It centres you between the lines of the road and keeps you there; making the trip from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi far more enjoyable. What’s even more impressive is the Active Lane Change Assist, which will automatically change lanes for you by simply activating the turn signal.

The S450 may take a few signal blinks before it slides into the adjacent lane once it makes sure everything is clear, but by that time you’ve opened a bottle of water and found a new radio station.

COMING AND GOING

The S450 is the dream-liner that any flagship should strive to be. Once you become accustomed to what it has to offer, the world of autonomous driving and posh luxury seem to be effortlessly combined and the rest of the automotive industry could take a few notes from what has come out of Germany this year.

From my own personal experience, driving the S-Class has been one of the most pampered experiences I’ve had on the road. Perhaps because it’s the culmination of 114 years of doing just that. Are there flaws? A few – but nothing that inhibits the drive to be cumbersome.

The German giant hails the new S-Class as “the best car in the world”. Is it? I can’t be sure myself, as there are a lot of cars out there that I’ve never driven. But does it have enough opulence to be considered at the top of the list? Yes, it does; and now, the flagship comes with a spectacular six-cylinder engine.
 
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