2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class first drive review: relaxation chamber Page 4


Suspend your worries

The S-Class comes standard with air suspension at all four corners, adaptive dampers with Sport and Comfort settings, and 18-inch tires. On the road, the S560 is one of the smoothest riding cars you will ever experience, but Mercedes has an option to make it even better.

Order Magic Body Control, and Mercedes replaces the air suspension with steel springs and active hydraulics. When the car is in Comfort mode, the system uses a stereo camera mounted at the top of the windshield to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension for what is coming. The hydraulics lift the car over bumps or push the wheels into and out of potholes while isolating the body from the process. From inside, Magic Body Control truly feels like magic. It makes even speed bumps almost undetectable to occupants’ backsides.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+ powertrain and suspension

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+ powertrain and suspension

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2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+ powertrain and suspension

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+ powertrain and suspension

Enlarge Photo
2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+

Enlarge Photo
2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+

Enlarge Photo

A new Curve function uses the same hardware. Previously offered only on the S-Class coupe, the Curve function tilts the car 2.65 degrees inward in corners to counteract the effect of the g forces. It therefore keeps the car flatter, and again, makes passengers more comfortable. From behind the wheel, it feels like sheer bloody-mindedness is at work to prevent this massive sedan from listing like a ship. Without it, the S-Class is still fairly well controlled, but more prone to body lean and nose dive.

In any model, the steering is light at low speeds, and pleasantly heavy and therefore stable at highway speeds.

READ: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe first drive review: a grand touring value

Again, the S63 roughens the edges of this masterpiece a bit. The ride certainly isn’t rough, but there is more road feel and the sport tuning of the suspension means the car is more willing to tackle corners. Its wider 255- front and 285-millimeter rear tires provide more grip than the S560's square 245s, but this car is just too big to feel truly agile. Get it on gentle sweepers and feed in the throttle and it will react like a dream. Just don't expect it to rotate through twisty mountain roads like a proper German sport sedan.

It backs the claims

So, back to the beginning. Does the 2018 S-Class really help you relax and is it the best car in the world? First, the question of relaxation. Given the opulence of its cabin, the unmatched build quality, the effortless power, the remarkable number of safety features, the little extras like Energizing Comfort and airline-like rear seating, and the semi-autonomous driving features that can take the tedium out of driving, the answer is yes. There is no better way to feel relaxed and content behind the wheel. However, with a starting price approaching six figures, it takes a very wealthy person to feel relaxed. I would feel constant anxiety about my dwindling 401K.

But is the 2018 S-Class the best car in the world? That's a matter of taste. If sportiness is your goal. Absolutely not. The BMW 7-Series is sportier, along with a host of other Mercedes. But if luxury is your desire, it can't be beat, not for the price. Higher end cars like Rolls-Royces and Bentleys may offer a more exclusive experience, but they can't match the technology or reliability of the three-pointed star.

Mercedes-Benz provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.

 

 
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