What is it?
This is the facelifted Mercedes S-class, which the German company describes as the “original reference point in the luxury class”. Judging by the performance of the S 350 CDI tested here, we wouldn’t disagree.
The six-cylinder turbodiesel that powered the popular S 320 CDI has been uprated and now puts out 199g/km of CO2 and achieves 37mpg combined, an improvement of 21g/km and 3mpg.
Aerodynamic improvements, low-resistance tyres and modifications to the seven-speed auto ’box account for the environmental improvements.
What’s it like?
As effortless and cosseting as ever. New speed-sensitive variable-ratio steering and a torque-vectoring brake system make turn-in sharper, and though the weight and size of the S-class are always noticeable, it’s easy to feed accurately down a winding road or through traffic.
Ride quality is exemplary, and still a class benchmark. Even the most severely broken road surface is smoothed into submission by the Airmatic air suspension.
The S 350 CDI engine is equally effective. It’s well matched to the seven-speed ’box, and most users won’t ever find the need to change out of D thanks to the spread of torque, though using the paddle shifts is a satisfying experience on the right road.