Fleet News

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes-Benz

Review

The car pictured here is the new look Mercedes-Benz S-Class, although you could be forgiven for not noticing the subtly altered front grille unit or the new front bumper.

What this mid-life refresh is all about is ushering in new technology under the skin.

The big news is the availability of a petrol-electric hybrid model, but that won’t be coming to the UK because of the dominance of diesel in this country.


Instead, the UK will continue with four conventional engines – three petrol units and the all-important diesel model which accounts for more than 80% of sales.

At launch there will be the choice of standard or long wheelbase models, with the latter accounting for 40% of sales, many of which will go to chauffeur companies.

Mercedes-Benz figures show that fleet and business sales account for 53% of all S-Class registrations, something which is likely to continue with the new model.

The new diesel is now badged as S350 CDI BlueEfficiency, delivering claimed combined fuel economy of 37.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 199g/km (201g/km for a long wheelbase version fitted with larger wheels).

That compares to the current S320 CDI’s 34.0mpg and 220g/km of CO2.

That BlueEfficiency badge brings aerodynamic tweaks such as sealed joints around the headlamps to reduce drag, low rolling resistance tyres and an automatic transmission which disengages from the engine at a stanstill to save fuel.

Other technology centres around driver aids, with headlights which automatically dip when a car approaches, a vibrating steering wheel alarm if the car veers into another lane without the driver indicating, and Night View Assist Plus which uses a camera to identify pedestrians.

As well as a suite of devices designed to mitigate or lessen the likelihood and severity of a crash, there is also Attention Assist which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness, and Active Body Control which can compensate for crosswinds by using sensors to activate the ESP traction system.

Not all of these will be standard equipment, though, and options prices can be high – for example, the lesser Night View Assist on the current model costs £1,311.

Variety is a traditional strength of the S-Class range with a choice of 10 models currently offered at prices from around £55,000 to £150,000 for the ridiculously powerful AMG versions.

While Mercedes-Benz says prices will rise slightly when deliveries begin in August it promises higher levels of standard equipment.

As ever the S-Class is about effortless long distance comfort and ease.

Only under light throttle openings around town with the radio off could you hear it was a diesel and even then it was more of tinkling note than a diesel rattle.

Verdict

The S-Class has always been about style, luxury and quality, teamed with the latest in aids for driver ease and safety. The 2009 model is a bit dressier but not at the expense of substance, moves the safety game on and looks set to once again become the benchmark luxury saloon.

Rival to consider

BMW 730d SE
P11D price £53,465*
Benefit-in-kind tax (40%) £6,201 per annum*
Fuel 39.2mpg*
CO2 192/km*
Residual value (3yr/60k) £16,100/31%*
Wholelife cost 79.03ppm/£47,418*
*best figures


 

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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