2015 SLK-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been completely redesigned for the 2014 model year. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a soft-spoken style but boasts technology unheard of when the previous S-Class arrived as a 2007 model.
Essentially, the new 2014 S-Class has more of everything. Leaving alone for a moment the sumptuous perforated-leather seats, the rear-seat legroom that would accommodate a stretched-out LeBron James, the illusion that the windshield actually seems to widen out toward the top, well, there's the extraordinary safety systems and sophisticated electronics built into this iconic automobile.
The 2014 S-Class deserves a doctorate as a study in automotive technology and safety features. It is stuffed with sensors, surrounded by cameras and radar, and it can sense rough roads, pedestrians and other cars in its path, predict collisions and initiate braking. Data are collected by a stereoscopic camera able to see a 3D view of the environment up to 50 meters ahead and sense the spatial position and movements of objects ahead of the vehicle.
Mercedes calls all of these sci-fy-ish systems Intelligent Drive. Some of the components are standard, such as Collision Prevent Assist and Magic Vision Control. Others, while others such as the Driver Assistance Package and Magic Body Control are options.
The latter is worth a special mention. While the standard S-Class receives a pretty good air suspension, Magic Body Control employs the stereo camera to detect irregularities in the road surface ahead, and to automatically adjust the hydraulic suspension damping to a softer mode in a fraction of a second. The system works at speeds of up to 80 MPH. Goodbye, bumps.
The curvaceous interior is welcoming to all occupants, with fine leather and threads and a wraparound sweep to the cockpit. This is no cabin to cozy up to, but this is no sports car either.
The 2014 S-Class arrives in the U.S. in its long-wheelbase iteration (124.6-inch wheelbase, 206.5-inch overall length), making it ideal for a chauffeur-driven sedan, where it's possible to stretch out in the expansive rear seat, and on the passenger's side to recline much as in the first-class cabin of an international jet.
The all-new S-Class begins in the U.S. market with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 and S550 4MATIC and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC.
The 2014 S550 and S550 4MATIC are propelled by a V8 that displaces 4.6 liters and outputs 455 horsepower at 5250 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque from 1800 to 3500 rpm. Zero-to-60 acceleration performance is 4.8 seconds, according to the manufacturer. Top speed is limited to 130 mph. All 2014 S550 models come with a 7-speed automatic. The S550 uses rear-wheel drive, while the S550 4MATIC is all-wheel drive.
The 2014 S63 AMG 4MATIC is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine hand-built by Mercedes-AMG rated at 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard as is a 7-speed AMG Speedshift sports transmission and an AMG ADAPTIVE sports suspension. The new S63 AMG is 220 pounds lighter than a comparable previous-generation version. This high-performance sedan is capable of 0-60 mph in a very quick 3.9 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz USA.
Options are plentiful for those who wish to extend their car payments. How many makes offer heated armrests?
Competition in this autobahn-blaster segment is robust. There are the usual suspects from Germany, including the Audi A8 and the BMW 7 Series, but they lack the cachet of the Mercedes brand (although they maintain a fashionable cachets of their own). Lexus also presents an appealing luxe alternative with its top of the line LS series.
The all-new S-Class launches in the U.S. as the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, S550 4MATIC, and S63 AMG 4MATIC. All three are sedans. (The other 2014 S-Class variants are built on the previous-generation platform.)
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 rear-wheel drive and S550 4MATIC four-wheel drive come with a 4.7-liter twin turbocharged V8 and 7-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 ($92,900) comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, the COMAND system with navigation, a panoramic sunroof, rearview camera, a complete LED lighting system. Technologies include Magic Vision control, Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, Adaptive Braking, Collision Prevention Assist, mbrace2, electronic trunk closer, soft-close doors.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 4MATIC ($95,900) includes all-wheel drive.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC ($139,500) is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine hand-built by Mercedes-AMG rated at 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard as is a 7-speed AMG Speedshift sports transmission and an AMG ADAPTIVE sports suspension. The S63 AMG is equipped similarly to the other S-Class but also includes powered AMG sports seats in Nappa leather, Keyless Go remote starting, an AMG exhaust system, LED ambient lighting, and a Burmester audio system.