By James Wong
The new W222 S-Class is a stunning piece of engineering. Sadly, Singapore-bound cars are again missing out on most of the technological marvels. Already retailing at nearly half a million dollars, the S350 CDI base model only has a measly selection of features as standard fit – the LED headlights, the base Burmester sound system, satnav navigation and the AIRMATIC suspension. Grossly missing are headline features such as Magic Body Control, front/rear massage & ventilated seats and a 360-degree camera. And get this: an Edition 1 package will set you back $52,900…
However, at the very least the S-Class is now better specced than before. Just look at the older W221s – they don’t even get xenon headlights! Still poorly optioned compared to an equivalent 7-Series, A8 or LS460 though.
What bothers me more than the options list is that Singaporeans are buying mostly the S400L Hybrid. It is all good if it is saving the world, but clearly the hybrid is simply the pick because the majority of buyers just want a S-Class with a petrol engine – and the cheapest one. Why anyone would buy the S400L Hybrid is beyond sensible thinking. It only has 370Nm of torque (the cheaper diesel S350 CDI has 620Nm), it’s not any quicker than the diesel, and consumes 1L/100km more than the oil burner in the combined cycle. There is simply absolutely no reason to buy the hybrid, and it annoys me that our market is skipping the excellent diesel option which in my opinion suits the S-Class so, so well. I had a drive in both and the diesel is clearly the more refined, capable drivetrain. The hybrid just feels contrived, unfinished and overall a disappointment.
400 units have already been sold of the new S-Class. If you do your math, that’s already nearly $200 million in revenue! But future S-Class prospects, please do the motoring world a favour and get the S350 BlueTEC or wait for the S400 twin-turbo petrol. Hybrids just don’t work, and in this case, they simply are a poorer option.