Luxury limo refreshed and ready to strike again!
“Finally a V6 engine worthy of the S-Class!”
“Simplified controls on the steering wheel make your life easier.”
“Sound and noise isolation makes the S-Class a must-have.”
Almost four and a half years ago, I was in Toronto for the first drive of the sixth generation S-Class. Now I get to lay my hands on the refreshed 2018 S450 model in Lebanon. As a first impression you get a feeling of astonishment (as usual!) when riding in the S-Class.
So what are the changes on the facelifted/refreshed 2018 model?
The main change is the introduction of a new six-cylinder engine that slots beneath the V8-powered S560, which is now called the S450. The new base powertrain provides an economical entrance to S-Class shoppers. Honestly the word “base model” doesn’t really mean “base” at all because there is nothing base about the S450. This new bi-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine delivers 362 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque, which is more than enough to pull you on all Lebanese mountain roads.
Downtown Beirut is surely not a silent city on a Saturday afternoon, right when I was picking up the car. But when you shut the door, the inside of the S-Class is as quiet as a public library. The journey out of the city crosses bumpy and potholed roads, and the refreshed S-Class, just like we were used to in the previous generations, delivers an unbelievable amount of isolation from the outside world.
What I personally experienced too are the simplified and redesigned interior controls. For example, the controls on the steering wheel have been redesigned to be touch-operated, which helps you concentrate on the road without being distracted. Those touchpads on the steering wheel also allow you to take full control over both the 12.3-inch instrument cluster and infotainment display. I didn’t need to remove my hands from the wheel to operate all of the vehicle’s high-tech devices.
Surprisingly, the car moved with brilliantly quick flows when needed, which is due to the high torque number, though I truly preferred it in ‘comfort drive mode’ as opposed to ‘sport.’ Although I was driving the S450 up to Faraya Mountain, I felt the need of being chauffeured so I could sit in the rear seat to get the full experience. Another thing that I noticed is the ambient lighting featured in the cabin. I felt like the S-Class is better to be driven at night and not the day because of the cabin lights’ mood. Another thing that grabbed my attention when driving at night were the intelligent headlights that adapt to any road condition, such that when a car passes by the lights dim to the other side to not distract the oncoming vehicle. When a long light range is needed on dark streets, you can get the full light beam to guide you easily forward.
It was, until now, the iconic vehicle of all time. The slogan “the best or nothing” is still valid for now. If you’ve got the opportunity to test it at any of your local dealerships, I can truly say that the 2018 S-Class will make your journey easy and glamorous. But after having driven the all-new Audi A8 a couple of months ago, it really amazed me how many technologies and features are available that the S-Class doesn’t have. But keep in mind that the S-Class is now four years old and I expect when the all-new S-Class is revealed it will swap its competition (such as the 7-Series and A8!).
Pros: Superb new V6 engine, new LED lights signature, magnificent driving experience, roomy comfort chamber, silent cabin noise
Cons: Lacks a few high-tech features versus the new A8, start/stop feature isn’t effective on the V6 engine
Rivals: BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Lexus LS
one word: best or nothing
3.0L twin-turbocharged, 362 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 500 Nm @ 1,800 rpm
RWD/4WD, 9-speed automatic
0-100 km/h: 5 secs, top speed: 210 km/h, fuel consumption: 15.5 L/100 km
Weight: 2,066 kg