Mercedes deems the new 2014 S-Class sedan the world’s best car
Doctor, gangster, developer or third-world dictator — the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been a perennial marker of success in any career, legal or otherwise. And for the all-new 2014 edition, the world's oldest carmaker added every gadget it could think of — and a few that have never been seen on the road before.
Appropriately, Mercedes’ top executives unveiled the 2014 S-Class in the Airbus Operations center in Hamburg, where another jumbo flagship – the Airbus A380 – sees its fuselage and interior come together in a cathedral-sized assembly hall.
The Benz may not match the 262-foot wingspan of the double-deck A380, but it’s plenty big. And as anyone who’s peered through country club gates can tell you, the S-Class is the conservative choice in big sedans, and has been since 1972. That befits a car whose owner heads a household with an average income of $371,000.
But with luminaries such as former Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda sitting in the front row, Mercedes pulled out all the stops from its own design hangar and marketing playbook. After a technical presentation in a temporary, Mercedes-created theater built to Vegas standards, huge curtains behind the stage parted to reveal the hulking Airbus A380 parked on the outdoor runway just beyond. A pair of S-Classes drove onto the stage between fireworks and a rolling phalanx of other Benz models. And Alicia Keys stepped from the S-Class, strode to a concert grand piano and began to sing, backed by members of the Hamburg Symphony. You know, just another day in the Mercedes universe.
Twirling onstage to Keys’ “This Girl is On Fire,” the S-Class showed it’s more than a backup. This sixth-generation S-Class version ditches the gray flannel for a presence so sensual and commanding – inside and out — that assembled journalists nearly blushed. That design is a continuation of the confident brushstrokes found on everything from the upcoming, $29,995 CLA sedan to the reworked E-Class. Frankly, it’s a heavyweight knockout, so streamlined and powerfully wrought that it makes the Audi A8 look like a frozen slab of meat.
Mercedes claims inspiration from its über-sedans of the ‘30s. That seems a stretch. But the artistically formed front end – with its Viking shield of a grille -- coupe-like profile, scalloped doors, gently falling tail and smartly encased LED tail lamps make a nose-to-tail statement of modern wealth. Once again, Mercedes’ design language is suddenly speaking sexy.
Tossing humility out the window at autobahn speed, Dieter Zetsche, Mercedes’ chief executive, said the S-class aspires to be no less than "the best automobile in the world." It’s already the world’s most popular top-shelf luxury sedan, with the previous generation finding more than 500,000 buyers around the globe.