Mercedes-Benz S450 4Matic LWB : Subtle, supple, stately, and sublime

Mercedes-Benz S450 4Matic LWB 
Subtle, supple, stately, and sublime
(Photos: Mercedes-Benz)
The chariot of choice for plutocrats, politicians, potentates, diplomatic corps, and the other assorted rich and powerful, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has held a unique position among luxury cars since before the S-Class name was officially adopted in 1972. اضافة اعلان

Stately and “serious”, its presence and reputation made a solid statement that carried a more austere sense of unostentatious luxury and benefitted from Mercedes’ then reputation for “bullet-proof” reliability and longevity as an investment.

A more discrete luxury car, the S-Class’s global popularity was likely aided by popular perceptions of West Germany as a more benign industrial power. Less politically charged than American, British, French, or Soviet luxury cars, the S-Class was styled similar to more common Mercedes saloons and shared a badge with many taxis.

Less likely to elicit the ire of the many or unwanted attentions of the malcontent, the S-Class’s ability to better blend in than haughty, expensive, and gaudy alternatives was another big selling point.
More indulgently luxurious and high tech than its immediate predecessor, the new S-Class is a veritably “space-age” flagship next to historic models.
Still trading on many such qualities, the latest generation S-Class — circa 2020 — better captures this conservatism than the previous three iterations. With an elegantly long bonnet and short front overhang contrasting with a rearwards cabin and long overhang, rakishly descending roof, and tapered-in boot at the rear, the new S-Class’s smoother design features less aggressive surfacing. Its fascia is more upright and arrogant, with slim high-set headlights and broad grille, while CD0.22 aerodynamic efficiency — depending on specification — is exceptional.

More indulgently luxurious and high tech than its immediate predecessor, the new S-Class is a veritably “space-age” flagship next to historic models. Its significantly enhanced technology envelope features many new or improved convenience, connectivity, infotainment, driver-assistance, and semi-autonomous systems too numerous to list.

Suffice it to say that fully equipped and enabled where legal, it is capable of claimed “level 3” driving and “level 4” parking autonomy on a scale of zero to five.

Making a welcome return, entry-level S-Class variants are powered by smaller, smoother, and more powerful and efficient straight six-cylinder engines in place of outgoing V6 designs.

Twin-turbocharged, Jordan’s single three-liter S450 4Matic (LWB) version produces 367HP at 5,500–6,100rpm and ample 500Nm throughout an accessibly broad 1,600–4,500rpm torque plateau. It is, meanwhile, lightly and subtly aided by a 22HP and 250Nm 48V starter/generator mild hybrid system that primarily runs electric and ancillary systems for improving efficiency.

Responsive from standstill with quick-spooling turbos, the S450 pounces through zero to 100km/h in 5.1-seconds and onto 250km/h. Digging deep for every last horsepower when reaching for redline on steep inclines, the S450’s purring revs rise with increasingly urgent but subdued refinement and clean, consistent delivery.

Briskly athletic, if not outright brutish, the S450’s well-pitched performance levels allow for muscularly relaxed driving and better opportunity to explore rev limits and engine characteristics than more abundantly powerful variants.

Channeling power through a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox, the S450’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive is rear-biased in character, albeit with front wheels generating additional traction when necessary.

Tidy into corners with accurate steering and balanced throughout, the S450 handles well through switchbacks. However, Electronic stability controls seem over-cautious even in “Sport” mode, intervening to curb power at the whiff of grip loss, and precluding one from exploring handling and grip limits for tightening cornering lines.

More taut and responsive with “Sport” driving parameters engaged, the S450’s core characteristics become better focused but intrinsically unchanged. The most agile S-Class yet, with all-wheel-steering, its rear wheels turn opposite to front for nimble low-speed maneuverability and in the same direction at speed for lane-changing stability. A stable high-speed continent-crunching express, the S450’s sublime, gently nuanced, and rippled ride is supple over imperfections, with air suspension taking the edge off lumps, bumps, and cracks.

Wafting along, the S450, however, never feels aloof or disconnected and better dispatches unevenly lumpy roads than ever, and without shunting passengers from side to side. Best in “Comfort” mode, the S450 is persuaded along winding roads with a lighter touch and less aggressive intent. Well-controlling cornering lean, its ride is meanwhile settled in vertical movement and rebound. But with a long wheelbase and forgiving suspension, primary compression can be deep over certain sharp and sudden road dips.

Comfortable, cosseting, and highly refined for extended travel, the S450’s luxuriously appointed and thoroughly equipped cabin is awash with quality materials, quilted leathers, and tastefully ergonomic designs. Spacious inside, with highly adjustable seats front and rear, the S450 features a thin tablet-style instrument screen and a large infotainment screen. However, its many touch-sensitive controls are not as initially intuitive as buttons and dials. Meanwhile, the regional specification spare tire mounted above the boot floor reduces otherwise generous 550-liter luggage volume.

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