2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: First drive review
The new S-Class is a technological marvel, but is it the best car in the world?
Mercedes-Benz is deadly serious in its claim that its flagship, the redesigned 2014 S-Class, is "the best car in the world." Perhaps that explains the large luxury sedan's somewhat furrowed brow.
Mercedes-Benz has kept ambitions for its new S-Class modest: It merely wants its redesigned flagship to be "the best car in the world." Whether or not you feel it hits that mark, it can't be said that Mercedes-Benz hasn't made the full effort; the refinement of the driving and safety technology in the 2014 S-Class is stunning. However, some tech quirks in the interior, along with an odd design choice, might leave some potential S-Class converts cold.
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The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is available as a 4-door sedan with a panorama sunroof. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, but drivers can order 19-inch twin 5-spoke or 20-inch 5-spoke wheels. Various option packages include 19-inch (Sport Package, Edition 1 Package) or 20-inch wheels (Sport Package Plus One).
Under the hood
Both the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 and S550 4Matic come with a 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 455 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from 1800 to 3500 rpm. The Mercedes 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission appears in both 550 variants. The S550 is rear-wheel drive, while the S550 4Matic is all-wheel drive.
With Maybach no longer in the Mercedes family lineup, it's full-tilt luxury or bust for the new 2014 S-Class. Before even taking the time to consider the driver's position, it's worth noting that the rear seats in the new S-Class may be the very definition of "the lap of luxury." With options including folding tables, four-place seating and a refrigeration box, the rear cabin of the S-Class can be tailored to the exact level of "flaunt" that each customer requires.
In addition, the optional Burmester High-End 3-D Surround Sound system ranks with the best car stereo systems we've ever heard. And although we initially scoffed at the $350 Air Balance package that filters, ionizes and perfumes the air in the cabin as a classic "look what I have that you don't" option, in practice it's actually very pleasant — nonintrusive and momentary.
Not everything about the 2014 S-Class interior is as wonderful as the stereo, though. The rear video screens really should be touch screens; using the phone app or the remote is a pain while on the move, and while that may seem like nitpicking, every issue at this level of excellence is a major one. It's annoying that one has to access many of the car's seat adjustments through the menu screen rather than through a tactile setup on the seat itself. Again, it seems like a minor annoyance, but making what should be simple tasks unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming is no small matter. Then there's the interior's Metalized Ash Wood trim, which is simply tacky; it would look out of place even in the most tricked-out aftermarket whip.
Strangely enough, we were never able to get the temperature quite right in the 2014 S-Class. The constant temperature adjustments left us wondering if the sensor may be overly sensitive to sunlight. Overall, however, the 2014 S-Class has an impressive interior, though it may be more so for the passengers in the back rather than for the driver busily managing controls up front.
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The Mercedes Benz line of automobiles are nicely designed, well built and generally quite reliable. Additionally, the price point of most of their offerings obviate their status and exclusivity in the marketplace. That said, the depreciation, repair and insurance costs are a factor to be reckoned with, even for the majority of people who can purchase these vehicles. They are fine cars, no doubt, but do they constitute true value?
With all of the offerings in every price niche, there are probably a dozen brands available that provide a substantial 'bang for the buck' with nice designs, state of the art engineering and extremely reliable performance, without an exorbitant cost. In light of this, perhaps the question should be ... is the expense of a true marquee luxury vehicle really worth it, or is it simply the brand name and the cache' of ownership that is attached to it? Peace to all ~
My husband lusts after this car. My hope is that we can eventually get him one to enjoy even if its a year or two old. He works so hard and deserves this:)))