MercedesBenz SClass (2005) motoring com au

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Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI Long W221

Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2005-) 2005)

Big V8 performance in S500

Not so

Fussy styling details

New system takes some

Much of the good stuff is


It doesn’t seem too ago that if you someone mentioned the first car that sprang to was something large, ostentatious and of power. Something like the in fact, although Mercedes’ has been overshadowed more by other offering ranging tiny hatchback A-Class and through to 4WD M-Class, a cornucopia of and even the (even bigger and Maybach brand.

Make no though, the S-Class represents the spin-doctors would call core values — performance and safety among — and a new one is very big news So make way for the new W221 model, the since the hugely popular released way back in 1998. car sold more than a million world-wide and even year it still regularly all-comers in the rarefied world of luxury sedans.

How to improve on success? Mercedes has made the new car stronger and much faster to new and revised engines that a 5.5-litre V8 on the S500 driven with enough power to acceleration like a sports The S-Class also traditionally new technology that filters the Mercedes range in years to and this one is no exception. Much of it is but includes things like a vision system for improving driving, an active cruise system that does of the driver’s work for them, and that think ahead and themselves for an emergency stop.

It’s a complicated car in some but the concept is simple; Mercedes to build the world’s best car. CarPoint turned up to a through the north of Italy and the Alps to find out.

The new S-Class is still a conservative car in senses, even if Mercedes has a somewhat radical approach to It’s a four door of course, but now comes with rounded wheel arches and embellishments at least as controversial as the that appeared on the 1961

The flanks are convoluted by sweeping the rear end has more than a of Maybach about it and the boot lid is and seemingly separate from the of the design. Yet that big grille and tail lights could be no other car, and while the impression is not necessarily pretty, it has a massive and imposing presence.

that’s not surprising given at 5076mm the standard wheelbase is 33mm longer than the old one a 70mm longer wheelbase, and 16mm wider and 29mm The long wheelbase version a another 130mm to the length. has been used for the front bonnet and boot-lid but at 1950kg for the for instance, it works out to about a increase.


The interior of the new isn’t just new in terms of and materials, but in concept as well. is the conventional instrument panel normal dials, and in its place is a TV used to display night-vision when asked. If that garish then don’t the large speedometer projected it is conservatively coloured in grey-and-black and no outlandish digital readouts.

More confronting is the large knob on the centre armrest to control the Comand centre. It very much like i-Drive system, although reckons its really just an of the previous S-Class’s profusion of on the centre console. Here, you hit a to change parameters for the stereo, or even seat set-up, use the knob to scroll through the It’s pretty easy to use but some learning to find functions and inevitably detracts watching the road.

The good is that a lot of the on-off switches for the control system are still on the somewhere, and although the gear has been moved to the steering it’s a set-and-forget function Another nice touch is the lighting (likely to be an option) by fibre-optic cable to the underside of the strip surrounding the cabin. aluminium for the window, seat and switches balance the amount of timber and not too much plastic of generously proportioned and stylish

The front seats are superbly with plenty of support and and there are nicely padded for each of the driver’s elbows. The controller has a kind of padded itself that flips to reveal the keyboard for the on-board The overall impression inside is of an yet high-tech comfort that to the rear seat with its leg room made even generous in the long wheelbase


There are no NCAP ratings for the S-Class yet, but you feel sorry for the concrete about to get hammered by two-tonnes of steel. Mercedes claims the in structural design elements and to protect its passengers, but there’s that high and strangely bonnet to give pedestrians a if they are unlucky enough to onto Toorak Road at the moment.

More interesting is the gamut of active safety available. Night View for instance, shines invisible light down the road at and a camera records an image displayed on the instrument panel in of the speedo. Mercedes says testing a dummy in dark could be spotted at a distance of 164 instead of just 72 metres normal low-beam lighting.

Or Brake Assist Plus, uses the active cruise (Distronic) radars to measure to vehicles ahead of the S-Class and in the same direction. It will a warning if the safe braking is encroached upon, but also what’s needed to safely the car and is ready to apply the appropriate — usually much than the driver imagines – the brake pedal is applied.

Add to Distronic itself, which now right down to zero and so can be used to crawl though traffic, and the latest ABS and ESP software and it is the depths of the S-Class’s safety are only being scratched.

When the S-Class arrives in early in 2006 the range start with the S350 its 3.5-litre V6 that’s good for and also 350Nm of torque as low as 2400rpm. Then there’s the which, despite the same as its predecessor gets the larger and V8. This one has 5.4-litres to play and four valves per-cylinder so its not power has gone up from to 285kW and torque has also beefed-up from 460Nm to

Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI Long W221

That’s enough to give the bantamweight footwork despite its bulk. The sprint from to 100km/h takes a claimed 5.4 and yet improved efficiencies mean reckons fuel consumption the same. Part of the reason for is the brains of the standard seven-speed gearbox to go with the brawn of the

Suspension is by air springs all-round and a version of the old S-Class’s multi-link end and there are massive ventilated backed by the latest ABS and brake systems.

A little further the track will be a number with different engines. The CDi with its 173kW and 540Nm V6 is one possibility, but the S600L powered by a twin-turbo V12 is a definite. Even at it will do 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and the way for the new 6.2-litre V8 S63 AMG that will the current supercharged S55 at a later


Lexus with its and Audi with its A8 might be at Mercedes’ heels, but the one major for the S-Class is, of course, the BMW 7-series. no pricing available for the S-Class but it is expected to be more expensive. the big BMW has historically been a little the price gap might widen more.

The Seven is usually seen as the choice, although the new-found of the S-Class could change right down to the six-cylinder model. Whether that’s as a factor with buyers as the confronting styling is another the interesting thing is the new S-Class is no oil painting.

Then there is the A8, offers lightweight aluminium and all-wheel-drive among its armoury, and the XJ6 which is also lightweight, but captured the hearts of buyers its strong performance, agile and very British interior. it’s the old-fashioned exterior has harmed the Jag, but it’s unlikely that any car apart the BMW — and maybe not even — will give dealers too many sleepless


You would think all that technology looking the brakes, handling and even control there wouldn’t be for the driver to do in the new S-Class. In fact, pretty much the case it’s not hard to be entertained by turns out to be an extremely capable as as comfortable drive.

The S500 establishes that it’s not on performance. Although it will along with a barely hum from the big engine, stand on the and the car surges forward with indecent haste, accompanied by a hard-edged rumble of V8 noise. The auto is very smooth intuitive kickdown, and offers a and manual mode that are not really needed most of the

The main impression is of size and surrounded by a whole lot of metal, but of refinement and an exceptionally good quality. The Airmatic suspension quite perfect before, but to be approaching that now with an to iron out shorter, sharper than it once did.

There’s also an optional body control that roll and wallow, and it works a to keep the big car on the straight and narrow. the brakes have no trouble the S500 down from The steering has some free-play away from the straight-on but has plenty of feel and feedback that. Handling isn’t so entertaining as supremely stable, an impression of being planted to the and yet somewhat aloof from it.

The is that while the new S-Class cause a faint ripple of thanks to its comparatively radical and even its BMW-like controls, it the standing notions of making the feel that more $200,000 has been well on comfort, technology, safety and all presence. It’s a logical to what’s come before; by a good margin, very very likely to uphold spot on top of the luxury-car tree.

Saturday, 1 October 2005

Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI Long W221
Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI Long W221
Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI Long W221


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