Mercedes-Benz S-Class World Premiere
We were promised a spectacular reveal for the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and we were not disappointed.
We've already seen the car's radical new interior, and now it was finally time to see the outside of the new S-Class in the metal.
It's been worth the wait. Mercedes revealed the new luxury saloon in Hamburg against the impressive backdrop of the mighty Airbus A380 double-deck airliner, and not even a thunderstorm was going to dampen the launch.
Mercedes chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche presented the car, saying the Airbus factory in Hamburg had been chosen as it gave Mercedes the chance to bring together “two icons of luxury travel – the new S-Class and the A380“.
Soul diva Alicia Keys added a touch of glamour by serenading the S-Class with a couple of classy numbers before the Mercedes bosses got down to describing the new saloon in detail.
Top news was the confirmation that an S300 Bluetec Hybrid version will join the range within the first year of production. This will use a very similar powertrain to the E300 Bluetec Hybrid, with four-cylinder diesel and electric motors, and will have spectacular 64mpg combined fuel economy and CO2 emissions of just 115g/km.
Unlike the E300 Bluetec Hybrid, the lithium ion battery pack will not be under the bonnet, but instead will be under the rear seat, and there will be no compromise on boot space.
The boot offers 510 litres of space, despite the hoop hinges, which are necessary for motorised opening and closing. The boot can be opened by kicking a foot under the rear of eth car, which is handy if you're carrying cases in both hands.
We experienced the sumptuous rear seats earlier in the year, and there's plenty of rear legroom as the new S-Class has been designed primarily as a long-wheelbase model. In fact, Mercedes reckons around 75% of production will be LWB, and in major markets such as China and the US, only LWB models will be offered.
The main offering will remain the S350 Bluetec, which will have improved fuel economy of 50.4mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 148g/km. This retains the current 3-litre V6 diesel and 7G-tronic automatic transmission, giving 0-62mph acceleration in 6.8sec. The car's body is 100kg lighter than the current S-Class and the new shape is more aerodynamic.
UK sales begin in October, initially with just the S350 and S400 petrol hybrid, with the S300 Bluetec Hybrid following next April. Further down the line, an extended Pullman version will join the line-up in 2015, along with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid that will cut CO2 emissions to just 75g/km.
Sadly, 4Matic all-wheel drive is still technically difficult to achieve in right-hand drive form, though Mercedes executives said this would be available at mid-life facelift, in around four years.