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COMFORT is the clue when it comes to driving the acclaimed Mercedes S Class, a saloon so smooth and satisfying it’s a wonder it doesn’t come listed as part of a healthy living feature rather than a road test review.
Online homework, before heading to Al Haddad Motors to pick up the car, revealed some impressive remarks with one distinguished journal suggesting that ‘without a doubt this was the benchmark big luxury saloon the other marques must define themselves by and be measured against’.
Walking into the impressive showroom in Tubli it is clear the dealership is proud of its fabulous flagship as there is a huge banner proclaiming ‘The new S Class’ is in town.
Joining me on a spin around the kingdom was award-winning Imran Sakhawat Ali, head of marketing at Al Haddad Motors, fresh from picking up the prize of Digital Champion at the recent Mercedes-Benz Global Marketing Forum in Portugal.
‘Mercedes throws everything it knows into the S-Class. Freshly-face-lifted, it’s better than ever’, Top Gear’s verdict suggested … and it was spot on. The all-singing, all dancing Type S 450 L Sedan was sensational and deserves its crown as the techiest, tastiest Merc.
As highlighted earlier in MotoringWeekly, the model offers a redefined level of comfort for the driver and passengers with its new ENERGISING control feature.
With this, various comfort systems can be linked, such as climate control and massage functions, whilst allowing them to configure specific set-ups to suit the mood and enhance physical comfort and performance on the road.
This feature is a world-first and can be experienced in all seats. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system, including fragrancing (which I’m come to late) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the panel heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres, and enables a specific ‘wellness’ set-up tailored to the needs of its driver and passengers.
The S-Class adds an additional layer of innovative driving assistance systems, including Active Steer Assist, Active Braking Assist, Evasive Steering Assist and Pre-Safe Sound.
Another comfort enhancement is CURVE, the curve-tilting function available in this class for the first time which left me dreaming of times gone by.
My late father, who was Polish, settled in England after the Second World War and on occasions would pile our family into his beloved Ford Zephyr, mother in the front and me squashed in the back between my two much larger and older sisters, and head off on a 3,000km-plus round trip to see our relatives.
Unfortunately, he was one of the world’s worst drivers and just five minutes into the journey after the first roundabout I was seriously suffering, so you can well imagine how I felt after a three-day road trip.
If only he’d had this Merc. No child could ever suffer travel sickness in this marvellous machine, not even on the stop-start Bahrain school run. The body tilts to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees and thereby reduces the centrifugal forces perceived by the passengers.
On a trek around Tubli and the surrounding districts we called into the huge Al Haddad Motors service centre and depot in Salmabad.
‘Flying doctor’ Dominik Rammenzweig, who holds the grand title of ‘global service & parts after-sales market support passenger cars’, had flown in from Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz base in Stuttgart to work alongside his fellow countryman, Jamil Ajjane, Al Haddad’s manager of the passenger car workshop, and his team, to help host a special service week for long-term owners.
It included a free visual vehicle inspection, 17 point check, tyre condition report and special discount. A new express service centre was also unveiled on site and for the occasion the team had erected an impressive Arabic-style tent alongside it to keep customers entertained in comfort whilst work was carried out.
The inside of the tent was luxurious, food and drinks were being offered and there was even a display of Mercedes-Benz fragrances available for the car … so you can sniff the smell of success on your journey!
Fresh air is available too as the S-Class GCC models come with a panoramic sunroof as standard, as well as a Sun Protection Package to protect passengers from direct sunlight and reduce the interior temperature of the car.
Under the bonnet, the V6 engine provides all the kick you could desire with acceleration from zero to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds. It’s as slick on the highway as it is smooth strolling along in heavy traffic.
The parking package comes with a 360-degree camera, making it a simple operation to reverse into the most confined of spaces as I found out when we stopped off for lunch at a rather splendid hot chicken establishment, whoops, almost got into restaurant review mode then!
And when we pulled up, the best thing ever happened. As soon as you stop the car and open the door, the engine turns off without you having to do a thing. Don’t you just love those classy making-life-simple touches?
Other delights include the fact that smart phones can be charged wirelessly and without a telephone holder and the Burmester 3D Surround Sound system, with an output of 1520 watts, has been expanded with a speaker in the overhead control panel and two speakers in the sides, and it sounds superb at all levels of output.
It is little wonder the S-Class is the best-selling luxury sedan in the world. My test-drive car was bright diamond white with leather nut brown and black upholstery.
There was a similar one shining in the showroom priced BD48,180, alongside others on display. Worldwide unit sales of the Mercedes-Benz dream cars increased by 12.9 per cent in October. In total 12,593 coupés, cabriolets and sedans were delivered to customers.