Heavyweight champ

Heavyweight champ

Ultra-luxury, big-bodied Merc is still fun to drive

The S-Class from Mercedes-Benz is a top-class model that has represented luxury since 1903 with a "long wheelbase" for customers who want luxury cars.

The AMG was the saloon's high-performance option designed with perfect balance and engineering.

Today, Mercedes-Benz Thailand has the S350 D Exclusive and S350 D AMG Premium. They come fitted with some of the most advanced automotive innovations that place a focus on the user with the highest luxury, comfort and safety.

Fully adjustable driver seat can be set to match the driver's height.

Every detail is meticulously refined, particularly the mobile experience via wireless internet. To provide this service, Mercedes-Benz has partnered with a local 4G LTE service provider in Thailand.

The S350 D's long wheelbase platform is powered by an in-line six-cylinder 2,925cc diesel engine, 286 horsepower and a two-stage turbocharger.

The spec sheet records 0-100kph in 6.4 seconds. The car is fast without sacrificing comfort and luxury. It is also an environmentally friendly vehicle that meets Euro 6 standards.

The design has been upgraded as well, with more space for the interior but with a sportier look compared to the previous model. It was not easy for the design and engineering team but the solution was to extend the wheelbase by 50mm, increase legroom and make the ceiling higher. The panoramic sunroof has nothing to do with space but it does give a nice touch to the car.

The design team also created an invisible line that makes the S350 D appear lower to the ground but it actually isn't. The electric seamless doors also add the final touch to the side view with a simplified look and improved aerodynamics.

The front grille is new and it looks aggressive with a camera and radar system. The headlights are packed with multi-beam LEDs for each fixture and work as a team with the camera to inspect road conditions to design the shape of the beam for an improved driver sightline. The adaptive all-LED tail lights with multilevel crystal design functionality are clean and beautiful.

A 12.8 inch touch screen and sport steering wheel.

In-line six-cylinder diesel engine and 286 horsepower is packed nicely.

Adjustable rear seat with massage system and wireless tablet.

The Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX7 Gen 2, is more intelligent and works faster than the previous generation. Designed to reduce driver distraction, the system comes with high-quality LED screens and is activated by easy-to-reach touch controls on the steering wheel and centre console. The rear interior assistant tablet allows passengers to operate the vehicle's controls.

The S350 D is loaded with one of the most advanced safety systems in the industry with innovations such as frontal airbags for rear passengers and numerous driver assistance functions, such as blind-spot monitoring and lane change warnings.

Mercedes offers the AMG Premium for styling, which means the engine performance from both S350 D Exclusive and S350 D AMG Premium are the same. It adds Nappa leather and adjustable rear massage seats. An air filtration system is designed to kill PM2.5 particulate matter.

Other features include a new steering wheel design with a touch control system, Burmester 3D 710W surround sound system with 15 speakers and built-in internet access.

One could spend hours studying the technology of the S350 D. But its raison d'etre is the ride.

The only element left to chance is should you drive this yourself or hire a driver. The answer is both. Mercedes designed this executive model for comfort and ultra-premium styling while still being fun to drive.

Let's start with passengers in the back. Seating is fully adjustable with climate control and massage systems. You can fully stretch both your legs in perfect temperatures and pure, clean air. Passengers can pamper themselves with the massage seats as well, so you can relax or spread out and work if you choose.

S350 D AMG Premium comes with 155/45 R20 front wheels and 285/40 R20 rear wheels.

A clean diesel engine with Euro 6 standard.

State of the art tail light design.

A quick fingerprint scan system allows riders to set a driver profile. Now for the ride. I started with comfort mode, driving on Bangna-Trad Road. It was there I got to see how the Airmatic suspension works when facing bad road conditions. It was as smooth as it should be.

With more than two tonnes of weight, the S350 D is easy to drive. The driver has a clear view from all directions, which is very important. The braking system is quick and precise, despite being heavy in weight.

I reached Chon Buri faster than I expected. The engine and ride were smooth. It's likely easier to drive faster than you realise, so be careful. Paddle shifters can be used when you want to be a little more naughty on the road.

This car can move, but it doesn't sound like a diesel engine at all. It's very quiet also, however, the raving sound in Sport mode isn't that bad when you want to bring it to the limit.

I also felt safe when taking it into a hi-speed zone. If you want to spend 7 million baht for a car like this, you must love to drive and by that standard, the car is worth every penny.

The new S-Class has two variations available, the Mercedes-Benz S350 D Exclusive, priced at 6.69 million baht and Mercedes-Benz S350 D AMG Premium, priced at 7.19 million baht.

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