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By Kap Maceda Aguila
MERCEDES-BENZ is out to reclaim its throne in the ultra-luxury segment through its flagship line. Since its introduction in 1972, “S” has epitomized luxury, and continuously sought to raise the bar over seven head-turning generations. The S-Class first appeared in the Philippines in 2005.
And now, the latest iteration (W223), first debuting worldwide last year, is finally here.
Auto Nation Group, Inc. (ANG), the official importer and distributor of the Stuttgart-headquartered brand, last week presented online the latest iteration of the executive vehicle, at one time called Sonderklasse. The digital launch event was attended by officials led by ANG President Felix Ang, ANG Chief Operating Officer Frankie Ang, and Mercedes-Benz Cars Head of Daimler for South East Asia II Region Sagree Sardien.
“The new S-Class has undergone the most extensive refinement process in the history of Mercedes-Benz. The brand did to the new S-Class what it does best — putting the customers in the center. It can now be experienced with all the senses — seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling — while offering impressive innovations in the areas of driver assistance, protection, and interaction,” said Frankie Ang in a release.
The S-Class heralds a slew of technological advancements as it becomes a true showpiece of cutting-edge features. Mercedes-Benz also reports that the vehicle has physically grown — “with a long bonnet, short overhang, long wheelbase, flowing C-Pillar and balanced rear overhang, the S-Class is designed as a classical sedan with perfect proportions.” It gets 21-inch multi-spoke AMG wheels. The familiar three-pointed star takes its place above the grille.
The German vehicle maker declares it’s about interpreting the design philosophy of “sensual purity” in “its most modern form.” Its so-called Digital Light Headlamps have a “three-dot design,” featuring more than one million pixels per headlamp for optimum illumination.
Driving the S-Class is a potent three-liter, in-line six engine with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Complemented by an EQ Boost mild-hybrid system, it generates 435hp and 520Nm. The company insists this motivation is “more than enough (for the S-Class) to plow through the streets of the metro, and cruise along on gentle long drives.” The power plant is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission conveniently controlled by a Direct Select gear lever ergonomically located just behind the steering wheel. The driver can select from five different driving modes through the Dynamic Select switch. Meanwhile, the Airmatic air suspension system allows the S-Class to “react sensitively to the unevenness of the roads.”
Seamless door handles are a completely new parlor trick. They usually are flush with the door panels, then automatically extend when the owner approaches the car and presses the key fob, and retracts when the doors are locked. In the rear, the car receives two-piece horizontal taillamps, with 3D-like display, sequential indicator lamps, two visible exhaust tail tips, and a rear diffuser.
A higher version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which first rolled out in the A-Class, makes an appearance in the S-Class. Passengers at the back will be treated to a high-end rear entertainment system and two fully integrated 11.6-inch touch displays with a brilliant graphic quality. The infotainment system finds expression through a Burmester 3D surround sound system with 15 speakers promising a total system output of 710 watts.
Rear occupants can watch a movie, browse the internet, or simply relax. Touch controls are possible through the MBUX-enabled rear tablet in the armrest; or the occupant can prompt the system by saying “Hey Mercedes.” It can even give the passenger a massage. For added convenience, a refrigerated compartment is located at the center of the armrest.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class also features Active Ambient Lighting which lets each passenger tailor the illumination on inconspicuous light strips in the instrument panel, which continue along the doors, and into the rear. The German marque said that the S-Class cabin’s design is inspired by a yacht — with large 12.3-inch OLED touchscreen as its centerpiece of the S-Class cockpit.
The car can recognize the fingerprint and voice of the driver — and even remember personal settings. The driving experience promises to be much safer and convenient through a slew of driver assistance systems such as the Active Distance Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Parking Assist, and others “that make for a semi-autonomous driving experience for the driver. Everything is about minimalism and ease of use.”
For safety, it gets an intelligent rear seat air bag for frontal impacts, and monitors the vehicle’s surroundings through a new proprietary Pre-Safe Impulse System. Amid the pandemic, the new S-Class levels protection with its whole-cabin air filtration, ionization, and “fragrancing” which allow passengers to breathe in clean and fragrant air.
ANG Assistant Vice-President for Marketing Rhomel Franco said 556 units of the S-Class have been sold locally in the past, and expressed confidence that there will still be takers despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Ms. Sardien mirrored the confidence, saying that 36,000 units of the new model have so far been delivered to customers worldwide. “I’m extremely positive in the Philippines, and that this model will prosper,” she underscored.
For now, a sole trim, the S 500 4Matic Long Wheelbase AMG Line, will be offered with a sticker price of P17.89 million. The export of other variants and power trains will be explored in the future, said ANG Senior Manager for Product and Market Planning Benjie Bautista.
The new S-Class is available for viewing in all Mercedes-Benz Dealerships: Mercedes-Benz EDSA-Greenhills (02) 8784-5001 / 0939-937-2009, Mercedes-Benz Bonifacio Global City (02) 8815-7777 / 0920-9740-4575, Mercedes-Benz Alabang (02) 8553-6334 / 0905-435-2840, and Mercedes-Benz Cebu (32) 260 3333 / 0917-718-2369. Visit the online showroom at www.mercedes-benz.ph for more details.