The new luxurious Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a par of excellence
Recently, we had the opportunity to test the Mercedes-Benz S350d variant. it's only improved by setting itself apart from the rest of the pack through refinement and upholding the Mercedes-Benz motto "The best or nothing." Over the years, each model offered modern enhancements, luxury appeal, and a solid and safe commute for several decades.
Measuring over 5 meters in length, the S350d is a masterclass in design. At the same time, the exterior changes are subtle, borrowing design elements from recent Mercedes models. It features a sleeker profile, and innovative door handles that extend when you approach.
The vehicle's large doors are solid, and 20-inch wheels and LED lighting contribute to its distinctive yet discreet appearance.
The most noticeable change inside is the expansive touchscreen, which replaces numerous physical buttons, offering haptic feedback and even biometric security options. The "Hey Mercedes" virtual assistant simplifies infotainment control, although some may find the capacitive surfaces less intuitive than traditional buttons.
The interior offers various trim options, including a striking wooden design with vertical metal accents illuminated by mood lighting. The cabin is exceptionally spacious, with options for a panoramic glass roof. It also offers a fine blend of soft, buttery-smooth white leather upholstery and ambient lighting. The emphasis on passenger comfort is evident in every aspect of the interior design. The front seats also have a heated, cooled option and a premium Burmester 4D surround-sound system.
The S-Class boasts spacious and luxurious seating, especially for rear occupants; heated and cooled options are available, too. There are also ample storage compartments. The rear seats offer exceptional comfort, and you can even equip them with touchscreens, USB-C plugs, wireless charging, foldout tables, and a champagne fridge.
Regarding boot space, the electrically operated tailgate reveals a 550-litre capacity, slightly larger than its predecessor.
It offers many driving features, including a 360-degree parking camera, self-parking capabilities, adaptive air suspension ensuring a comfortable driving experience, and autonomous driving capabilities. The S-Class has an alarm system and tracking subscription for added security.
Safety is paramount in the S350d, with advanced driver assistance systems ensuring a secure driving experience. Features like ABS, EBD, traction control, and numerous airbags provide peace of mind, while adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist in improving the ease of driving.
Under the hood of the S350d is a turbocharged diesel inline-six engine, producing 210kW and 600Nm. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The S-Class is comfortable on the motorway, with a smooth ride, little noise, and high-speed stability. While it prioritises isolation from the road, it handles corners surprisingly well for its size. When met with a few bumps, it glides over them easily thanks to its air suspension.
One can achieve an average of 7.1/100km from simple highway cruising at a minimal speed; remarkably, a car of this size can be frugal.
Competition-wise, the S-Class has the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS500, and Audi A8 on its radar.
With a starting price of R2,424,250, the S-Class, particularly the S350d, represents a significant investment. However, compared to other vehicles in its class and considering the level of luxury and technology it offers, the S350d presents a valuable proposition.