2022 Mercedes-Benz S350d L AMG Line Premium Plus Executive Automatic V223
The launch of a new S-Class is cause to stop and stare, for this is nearly always the benchmark vehicle that other manufacturers try to replicate. Stuffed to the rafters with cutting edge technology, these are the gadgets that will trickle down to more mundane vehicles over time. So a new S-Class W223 is a real sense of occasion, and we test one of the plushest examples that manages to breach the £100k barrier. Most people that travel in an S-Class do so from the back seats, but we’ve been lucky enough to be perched up front, so what’s it like?
It’s beautiful in an understated kind of way. Sure, the caramel-coloured accoutrements take some getting used to, however, set against the metallic black paintwork, it really works. We love the diamond quilted upholstery and textured wood trim that is wonderfully tactile as you run your fingers across it. The 12.8-inch touchscreen commandeers your attention and is akin to a large iPad. It’s paired with the generously proportioned 12.3-inch digital instruments that sits happily behind the brand-new steering wheel with double pronged haptic controls. We love the simplistic design of the latest S-Class, and the logical placement of the small number of buttons and switches that there actually are. Of course, most of the controls are now contained within the central infotainment screen, but we like the way the most important settings are neatly embedded on the home screen. And while we’ve been critical of other systems in the past, the S-Class just works, even while on the move. Swipe right, motion left, the infotainment system adopts all of the best bits from a modern smartphone, making it familiar to those that are used to the latest technology. MBUX is the operating system and it’s one of the most user-friendly systems on the market and a personal assistant can be summoned by calling “hey Mercedes”. There’s also a huge colour head-up display that gathers up all of the essential information together, right within your field of vision. The driving position is low, yet still commanding, with a good view out all around the car thanks to relatively slim pillars, and a plethora of cameras and sensors to aid you when manoeuvring.
“Most people that travel in an S-Class do so from the back seats…”
The front chairs are sumptuous and akin to your favourite armchair, while the headrests are like pillows made from clouds, so soft they are. There’s a generous amount of headroom up front and at the rear there’s lots of adjustment available so that you can gain a comfortable seating position. Space for legs, knees and feet is first rate, exactly how a long wheelbase limousine should be. Boot space is more generous than its Audi and BMW rivals, with 540 litres of carrying capacity on offer. Oddment space is good, too, with a large, lidded cubby able to hide items away, together with long door pockets, a large glovebox and extra space nestled underneath the central armrest.
The 2.9-litre straight-six diesel engine delivers silky performance, with whisper quiet behaviour at all times. It packs a punch if you demand power to overtake, and if you’re not careful, you’ll soon be accelerating towards losing your licence. The zero to 62mph dash may occur in 6.4 seconds, but in practice, it feels a whole lot faster. There are meaty brakes to bring you to a stop effortlessly, and a choice of five driving modes if you feel like you want to get involved.
Brilliant attention to detail means that you won’t hear a murmur from the road, tyres or wind, with effective soundproofing all around. For such a lengthy vehicle, the steering is quite agile, making it good fun to place on back roads, and equally restful on a long motorway journey. Mercedes-Benz engineers have made a good job of making the S-Class feel youthful on B-roads, with a spring in its step, while creating a majestic and stately ambience all at the same time. Air suspension delivers a hugely comfortable ride for both driver and rear seat occupants alike.
FACT & FIGURES
- On sale — Now
- In showrooms — Now
- List prices — £80,450 to £107,285
- Bodystyles — 4-door saloon and 4-door long wheelbase saloon
- Powerplants — 2.9 Diesel automatic (282bhp), 2.9 Diesel automatic (326bhp)
- Trim levels — AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Executive, AMG Line Premium Plus, AMG Line Premium Plus Executive
- Also consider — Audi A8 D5/4N, BMW 7 Series G11/G12
- Version tested — S350d L AMG Line Premium Plus Executive Automatic
- List price — £102,335
- Built in — Sindelfingen, Germany
- Codename — W223
- Platform — MRA II
- Bodystyle — 4-door long-wheelbase saloon, 5-seats
- Layout — Rear-wheel-drive
- Powerplant — 2,925cc, 6-cylinder, 24-valve, turbo diesel
- Gearbox — 9-speed automatic
- Stop-start — Yes SCR — Yes
- Max power — 282bhp @ 3,400-4,600rpm
- Max torque — 443lb ft @ 1,200-3,200rpm
- Top speed — 155mph 0-62mph — 6.4secs
- CO2 emissions — 190g/km
- Economy (combined) — 39.2-39.8mpg
- Fuel tank — 76 litres
- Range — 665 miles
- Insurance group — 50
- BIK rate (2021/2022 tax year) — 37%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) — 5,320/2,130mm
- Boot space (min/max) — 540 litres
- Kerbweight/max towing — 2,040/2,100kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating — Not yet tested
- Warranty — 3 years/Unlimited miles
- Wheels (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flat/selfsealing/ repair kit) — No/no/no/no/yes
- Verdict — The W223/V223 S-Class once again takes its place as the benchmark vehicle that other luxury saloons have to aspire to be like.
- DrivesToday rating — 9/10