Calling all moguls, monarchs, musos and megalomaniacs – your new Mercedes has arrived

The new Mercedes S-Class range goes on sale in Ireland via Motor Distributors at an ‘affordable’ €98,000

Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 06:00

Rejoice, all ye well-heeled businessmen, government officials, minor royalty, dictators and anyone with a penchant for exclusive motoring – your new car is here. The all-new (and it really is all-new, some engines aside) Mercedes-Benz S-Class has arrived.

It’s doubtful that any car of this year has been more hotly anticipated, and Motor Distributors, the Mercedes importer for Ireland, is hoping to captialise by introducing a range that now starts at a more affordable level.

Of course, affordable is a relative term; the €98,255 that it will cost you to get into a new S350 CDI BlueTec diesel is still a fortune to most of us, but is actually around four per cent cheaper than before. That model will constitute the bulk of S-Class sales in Ireland, but there will be a myriad of other versions and options, including both a powerhouse pair of V8 and V12 AMG high-performance models and a remarkable S500 plug-in hybrid, which will be able to glide around town on pure electric power, and for which Mercedes claims a scarcely believable 75g/km CO2 rating. A plutocratic S-Class with lower emissions than a Toyota Prius? Truly, the world is being turned on its head . . .

That is a fate unlikely to befall any S-Class occupant, as once again the car is pushing the boundaries of safety technology. The adage that what appears on the S-Class becomes standard equipment for family cars in a decade’s time may be well worn, but it is no less true.

This time around, the big S arrives with such systems as Distronic Stop & Go Pilot, which effectively turns the S-Class into a fully autonomous vehicle when trickling along in sticky traffic. Mercedes claims that it reduces fuel consumption, brings down driver tempers and minimises the risk of a rear-end collision for all. The S-Class will also have Magic Body Control, which uses a radar to scan the road ahead, looking for bumps and potholes; thus forewarned, the electronically controlled suspension can better prepare itself for what’s ahead and keep the car’s occupants as unruffled as possible. For once, a hyperbolic name that included the word ‘magic’ may well be accurate: the system is as close to witchcraft as automotive technology is ever likely to come.

In more mundane matters, the S-Class will once again be available in two wheelbases, standard and long, and a third, extra-long Pullman model will arrive in 2015, taking over from the failed Maybach brand and reviving memories of the classic 600 Grossë of the 1960s, so beloved of both national leaders (elected and otherwise) and rock stars.

In every S-Class version, the focus will be firmly on the rear-seat passengers (where the owner is most likely to sit); such options as reclining, massaging, heated and cooled seats, a drinks cabinet, fold-away tables and a perfumed air-conditioning system will all be available.

So when perfumed air-con, precognitive suspension and near-fully automated driving arrive on the standard equipment list of your humble family hatchback in a decade’s time, you can mark the end of October 2013 as the beginning of their journey from S-Class to working class.