More spaceship than flagship and with more tech that we’ve ever seen on wheels in Singapore, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class previews the future of motoring
Photos: CarBuyer Team
We’ve tested the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and for better or worse, there’s more technology here than we’ve ever seen in any car in Singapore to date. In fact it reminds us of the Heart of Gold, the half-sentient spaceship in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, since it’s at almost a living tool that helps you do what you wish, rather than just something you drive.
The good : This is technology that enhances the classic, imperious, elevated S-Class feeling of being somewhere you feel like anything is possible. The bad is, like the snarky ship, it still has some rough edges when it comes to existing in a hazy, human world.
For the full background info on the new S-Class, our international debut story has it all here, while our local Singapore launch news story has all the details on model variants and pricing.
In short, this is the seventh-generation model which debuted here in April 2021. The standard car is codenamed W223, but only the V223 long-wheelbase model is sold here officially, as was the case with the predecessor. There are two versions, the S 450 L with a 3.0-litre inline six, and the S 580 L with a 4.0-litre V8, and we’ve tested the S 450 L here.
From here there’s little overt indication of the tech inside – only the intricate ‘Digital Light’ headlights, with the rears having what Mercedes dubs a ‘crystal look’ with three horizontal fibre optic elements. The former does all sorts of optical gymnastics to help you see, from dimming itself so it doesn’t blind oncoming drivers, to highlighting pedestrians and road works.
You expect a flagship luxury limo to be long, and the S-Class surely is. The V223 has gained 34mm and is now 5,289mm long, with a 3,216mm wheelbase. It’s not Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase long, but very few other machines on the road will match this for length.
The new design manages to hide the size by emphasising horizontal lines instead of vertical ones. The head- and tail-lights for instance, have become far more streamlined and less blocky. The rear of the car, especially, has less visual flab than before, something the auto pop-up door handles help with too.
Taking it all in, the S-Class actually looks more restrained than it used to, even with an AMG Line kit. At this size, and with the classic three-pointed star on the bonnet, you can afford to be restrained and let the size do the talking.