So, will it be a whiff of Chanel No5? Or maybe a squirt of Paris Hilton? It’s your choice in Mercedes-Benz’ newest S-Class super-sedan.
One of the gazillion innovations to come with this latest iteration of every third-world dictator’s favorite full-size four-door is an ‘Active Perfuming System’. No, I’m not kidding.
At the press of a button, the built-in perfume atomizer gives a gentle pulse of perfume.
While the folks at Mercedes promise the scent won’t stick to clothing or upholstery, it does make us males-of-the-species worry about turning up at home after a business trip reeking of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.
So what do you say: No, no honey, it’s not what you think. It’s my new car. Really!
To dilute the situation, you can lead her to your new S-Class, guide her gently to the rear seat, and switch on the in-seat massager. What’s different here is that the system is based on the ‘hot stone’ principle.
So before the massager gets to work, rapid heating elements in the seatback pour heat on to tired muscles. Ahhhhhh. Give her a dashboard squirt of Sarah Jessica and she’ll be in heaven.
Of course there is so much more substance here than perfume squirters and hot-rocks massagers. According to Merc, it’s the first ‘bulbless’ car, with every regular lighting bulb replaced by LEDs. There are 56 LEDs, for example, in each headlight, 35 in each tail lamp, and no fewer than 300 in the car’s new cabin.
And what a cabin. The dashboard is now dominated by a pair of giant 12.3-inch screens and looks like it came out of an auto show concept model.
Talking about that back seat, Mercedes will offer no fewer than five choices of rear seat configurations. The most primo is the ‘First Class’ package where the right rear seat reclines up to 43.7 degrees and features a built-in leg rest.
Style-wise, the body may look like a development of the existing car, but it is in fact all new. The new front grille is enormous and hints at the look of Mercedes’ old and now defunct Maybach range.
But it’s at the rear where this new S is at its most distinctive. It takes design elements from Mercedes’ flagship CL coupe, with its sloping roofline and giant teardrop rear lights.
The one new technical feature I’m dying to experience - apart from the Chanel squirter - is the new Road Surface Scan. Using cameras in the front bumper, it detects bumps or dips or potholes in the road ahead and instantly adjusts the suspension to deal with them. Sounds brilliant.
Mercedes plans to launch this new S-Class in the U.S. this fall, initially with just one model - the long-wheelbase S550.
For me, the S-Class has always been the standard-setter in the luxury sedan class, and judging by the specs of this all-new version, I don’t see any reason to change that view.
Call it the sweet smell of success.