The W222 measures 5116 mm in length, 1899 mm in width and 1483 in height with a 3035 mm wheelbase, while its long-wheelbase counterpart has been stretched to 5246 mm with a wheelbase of 3165 mm. Looking like an overgrown E-Class, it featuring a more streamlined look than the outgoing model – and a slippery drag coefficient of 0.23 – the new version gains a larger, more upright grille, a sportier fascia with large intakes and muscular flanks with a pronounced shoulder above the rear wheel area. The first ever car without a single light bulb as standard, the S-Class’ headlamps use up to 56 LEDs each, the tail lights up to 35 and the interior around 300.
Moving inside, the upholstery can be specified in a choice of leathers, with wooden trim elements, metallic switchgear, a touch-sensitive telephone keypad, and a twee analogue clock which shares cabin space with a pair of 30.7 cm (12.3-inch) high-resolution TFT displays – one used as an instrument cluster and the other for controlling infotainment and comfort. Impressively, the S-Class offers a genuine multi-user system with Individual Entertainment System in the rear, meaning there is independent access to such media sources as radio, TV, internet, navigation and DVD player from any of the four seats. Customers with slightly deeper pockets can opt for a Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system upgrade.
The front seats are electrically adjustable, with the Seat Comfort package adding a massage system offering six different programs using 14 separate air chambers. In the rear, the Executive Seat package includes reclining seats, the Business centre console and additional cushioning for lardy-butted businessmen, while the First Class Rear option provides thermo-cup holders and fold-out tables.
The S-Class will initially be offered in S 400 HYBRID, S 500, S 350 BlueTEC and S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID guises. The S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is propelled by a 2.1-litre four-cylinder unit developing 150 kW (204 hp) and 500 Nm of torque, allowing a 0-100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 238 km/h (148 mph). Powering the S 350 BlueTEC is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine producing 190 kW (258 hp) and 620 Nm of torque. On the road, 100 km/h appears in 6.8 seconds and top speed is 250 km/h (155 mph).
Moving on, the S 400 HYBRID uses a 3.5-litre V6 engine churning out 225 kW kW (306 hp) and 370 Nm, enabling a 6.8s sprint to 100 km/h and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). For now, the top of the tree is the S 500, which is shunted along by a 4.7-litre V8 petrol unit with 335 kW (455 hp) and 700 Nm under its belt. 100 km/h arrives in 4.8s, with top speed once again 250 km/h (155 mph). All models make use of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT lever as standard.
Pricing in Germany will start at €79,789 for the short-wheelbase S 350 BlueTEC right up to €107,635 for the long-wheelbase S 500. Notable options includes ROAD SURFACE SCAN, which uses MAGIC BODY CONTROL to set the suspension up to deal with varying terrain, the Warmth Comfort package with heated armrests, steering wheel and rear seats, DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist.