Home / Home / Mercedes S-Class Drive Review – Grace


The all-new Mercedes S-Class has arrived in India in V223 long-wheelbase guise. Graceful design and performance meet advanced technology, an incredible motor, and innovative safety and interactive elements for a more luxurious experience than ever before.

Mercedes S-Class S 400 d

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Music. It’s a small, simple word. Yet, the depths of its influence are tremendous. The impact it can have, even more so. A crescendo like a tidal wave at its highest. Explosive emotions the likes of an erupting volcano are but a series of notes and a scale away. Emotion. That’s what rules many. And that’s what it seems has gone into the Mercedes S-Class.

What is the Mercedes S-Class to you, dear reader? The best luxury car? The pinnacle of automotive technology? The flagship badge from one of the most revered automobile brands? The big one? Whatever it is to you, what it truly is is special.

The Mercedes S-Class embodies the promise of “das beste oder nichts” — the best or nothing — from the three-pointed star. In terms of song, I’d always had a vision with “Heart of Courage” by Two Steps From Hell as the background score to a new S-Class feature. It’s a popular score used for promos for, among others, BBC Earth, Sony’s Bravia, and the first Ferrari FF. What it represents to me, personally, is a build-up of courage: from seemingly rock-bottom, battling through armies and elements, and taming a stormy sea on the way to victory. Why all that? Because the S-Class represents what Mercedes is all about. It is the Mercedes-Benz.

The new Mercedes S-Class is not about top speed, or acceleration, or braking from 100 km/h to zero to stop on a dime. It’s about the experience. Call it a mobile office, an executive lounge, a connected luxury car or one of the ultimate automobiles built. The S-Class dates back to Mercedes’ early years, the early 1900s, with an early and very telling example being the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP from 118 years ago in 1903. Models that followed from the Mercedes and Benz brands always included something in the executive and luxury class but, while open touring cars were most popular back then, the more powerful models in particular were offered as luxurious saloons. With traffic increasing and a developing road network a few decades later, priorities were updated. Safe driving characteristics, comfortable interior, maximum protection from wind, rain, and dust all became important. The “S” badge was officially introduced as a new model designation in 1949; the letter S standing for “Super” or “Special”. The first long-wheelbase version, stretched by 100 millimetres, was introduced in 1963 and brought a significant increase in rear leg-room and travelling comfort. The new S-Class raises the bar yet again and, this time, it’s a whole new series of experiences.

The new Mercedes S-Class, in the S 400 d L 4MATIC AMG Line guise we have here, is the straight-six twin-turbo diesel, long-wheelbase with all-wheel drive and in the sporty yet extremely luxurious AMG Line trim — a 5.3-metre-long car with a wheelbase of more than three metres. One of the most useful features on the car is the rear-wheel steering system that tightens the turning radius appreciably. It’s a massive car but they’ve managed to not just make it look elegant and conceal its very generous proportions but also added more than a few elements to give it jaw-dropping appeal; and identify it as the next-generation Mercedes. The S. The pinnacle of the range.

Mercedes S-Class S 400 d

The adaptive headlights use three light-point separators that replace the three light bars on the 222-generation model with the blue highlights adding a unique accent. They auto-level at start-up and do a little dance as well. The revolutionary, and optional, “Digital Light” are projectors of a different kind: they can project marking aids or warning symbols on to the road ahead in the driver’s field of vision. Each headlamp module has three extremely powerful LED units with light that is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors for a resolution of more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle. Furthermore, the more than 50 electronic components in the new Mercedes S-Class that can be updated with new software over-the-air (OTA) and the Digital Light units are among them.

The flared front wheel-arches and sweeping side profile make for a dominating presence. The initial lot in India are fully imported units in AMG Line trim level. This model starts from Rs 2.17 crore (base ex-showroom). The most obvious features from the AMG Line specification are the 20-inch wheels with mixed rubber: 255/40 front and 285/30 rear. The rear has split tail-light clusters, not seen on an S-Class as far as I remember. The boot has a concealed space-saver and, at last, a usable 540-litre volume.

More on page 2 >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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