I’d like the €160,000 dilemma this week’s test car poses – I’m sure you do too.
The car in question is the high-performance petrol plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the acclaimed Mercedes S-Class.
There is no doubt that this is a powerful super luxury sedan. But is there anything else I should look out for with my imaginary €160,000? And is this option already inviting in the broader Mercedes network?
I asked myself that question as I drove around in my long-wheelbase silver test S-Class — a car that many consider the best production passenger vehicle in the world.
It was an odd feeling driving something of such prestige and caliber while contemplating the merits of an alternative.
Before I get into that, I want to tell you a little bit about this plugin that I tested. It was enormously spacious – my Nappa leather-clad model had a rear seat that dwarfed my 6ft 1in frame when I sat down to explore its dimensions.
The same applied when a passenger of similar stature joined us. He seemed quite a distance from us, way back with so much room to himself. And that has practically everything to do with the extra-long wheelbase.
With this type of space, buyers of a certain variety can choose to be driven in style. Time is precious to many of these occupants, and when you don’t have to drive, you can do business on the go.
You’ll expect, and certainly get, a leather-dipped cabin with immensely comfortable seats. And they are largely shielded from the outside world thanks to relatively quiet power distribution, heat-insulating, sound-insulating and infrared-reflecting laminated glass.
The fact that up front a 3-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine works together with a large electric motor to produce a system output of 510 hp in hybrid tandem might tempt some rear-seat owners to sit behind the wheel for longer.
You will enjoy your time there because this is a real performer. From zero to 100 km/h it’s not boring – just 5.2 seconds. And all that for €140 in road tax per year, based on what is said to be just 18 g/km. I know it’s crazy, isn’t it? But that’s how the cookie crumbles in our emissions-based tax system.
Funnily enough, all of the quibbles I found worth mentioning had to do with the driving end of things. When driven at moderate speeds, it was mostly silent, although the engine could occasionally be heard. That shouldn’t happen with a Mercedes of this quality and cost.
And for some reason, despite ample wheel and seat adjustment (electric, of course), I always felt like I would have liked to have sat a little higher and felt like I had better all-round visibility. However, they are small quibbles.
The car had real handling characteristics – the kind that comes from finely tuned air suspension.
So there I was, feeling like a CEO, driving across the country, enjoying the drive, feeling the power, feeling the road feedback through the (nicely weighted) steering wheel – but every now and then I wondered: Should that be “my next.” be a car?
If yes, why not? And if not, why?
The thing is, Mercedes also has the brand new all-electric flagship sedan EQS in its ranks, which I reviewed here recently.
It’s a mold breaker; A compendium of innovation. It’s not an electric S-Class sedan, but the electric equivalent of the S-Class. It can travel 770km (claimed) so range anxiety isn’t an issue.
Should I rather own it than opt for a plug-in S-Class with a three-liter petrol engine? Wouldn’t it be environmentally and economically friendly in the long term? Yes, the model I had cost €168,000 but it had almost everything you could dream of. And what’s €9,000 or so at that level of spending?
In contrast, the S-Class is longer, wider and lighter than the EQS (but not as fast to 100 km/h – 4.3 seconds).
Most notably, the S-Class LWB has so much usable space.
As I said, I would like to have the €160,000 dilemma that this creates. But I have to ask myself: Would I buy it?
It’s a really tough decision and I suppose it boils down to a case of different shots for different people.
The S-Class is a really great piece of work, I really liked it.
However, I would probably choose the EQS solely because of its importance, as we are turning the corner into the electric age with more and more energy
https://www.independent.ie/life/motoring/car-reviews/mercedes-s-class-the-160000-dilemma-posed-by-this-powerful-super-luxury-saloon-42031204.html Mercedes S Class: The 160,000 euro dilemma of this mighty super luxury sedan