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New S-Class drops in for launch

2013-05-17 06:53

WORLD WELCOME FOR TWO STARS: Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, introduces superstar Alicia Keys... oh yes, and the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Image: Mercedes-Benz


HAMBURG, Germany - Daimler has unveiled the newest version of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class, described as a key part of the company's effort to restore its earnings performance.

The world launch was held here in Hamburg as the car was flown in from the plant in Stuttgart on a new Airbus A300-600 DHL cargo plane - two machines at the current pinnacle of their respective development.


At the delivery centre for the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new luxury saloon in front of around 750 international guests from the worlds of politics, industry and media.

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Flanked by the 20 current Mercedes-Benz models and accompanied by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the new top-of-the-line model was driven across the tarmac as part of a spectacular show.

In a dazzling display, it took up its position at the head of the Mercedes-Benz family and drove on to the stage with its first passenger - global superstar Alicia Keys.

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars,told the crowd: "Rather than being about safety or aesthetics, power or efficiency, comfort or dynamism, our aspirations were 'the best or nothing' in every respect.

"No other car stands for the Mercedes-Benz brand promise more than the S-Class."

The cars will be launched to the South African media in November 2013.

The new sedan was shown on Wednesday (May 16) at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany. It has a taller grille that changes its exterior appearance but the major emphasis was on the technology added to increase driver comfort and safety - and underline the Mercedes' image as an advanced vehicle for the well-heeled.


The car will be important to the company's efforts to improve earnings. First-quarter profits fell 60% to $733-million (R6.6-billion) and the company had to abandon its profit estimate for the year.

Analyst Christoph Stuermer at IHS Automotive said: "The S-Class has always been the signature model, the beacon model of Mercedes-Benz as a brand. This is the most important model in terms of shaping the global brand image and propelling the success of the other models."

Typically, the company puts technology in the S-Class that only later appears in other models. The car can process information from its 360-degree cameras and radar to help drivers steer within their lanes and keep sufficient space between it and other vehicles and avoid collisions at crossings.

It can detect a rough surface ahead and adjust the suspension to keep the ride smooth.

The seats offer a hot-stone massage using 14 air-operated chambers (a serious improvement on the massage chairs that Merc has had for years) and heating elements in the seat back. If desired, a perfume generator allows the cabin ambience to be adjusted, with four "discreet and mild" fragrances and three intensity settings.


The company hastens to promise the scent dissipates quickly and that no perfume will get on occupants' clothes. How discreet!

The company says it put much effort into the comfort of rear occupants, catering for Asian customers who are more likely to have a chauffeur and will be working or resting instead of driving. One version can adjust the rear-seat recline angle by 43.5 degrees.

The new S-Class will go on sale on July 20 in Europe and in September in the US . Prices start at 79 789 euros (about R920 000)for a short-wheelbase diesel and go up to 107 635 euros (about R1.3-million) for a longer-wheelbase petrol version.

Read more on:    mercedes-benz  |  daimler  |  frankfurt

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