Our spys have snapped the facelifted Mercedes S-class
12 December 2008

This is the face-lifted Mercedes S-Class undergoing final cold weather testing, ahead of an expected launch in the summer of 2009.

The big news is the arrival of the new S400 BlueHybrid version. This is powered by a new 279bhp petrol 3.5-litre V6 combined with the new hybrid automatic transmission developed by GM, Mercedes and BMW.

A three-phase AC electric motor is mounted within the front of the gearbox housing, and provides additional thrust when required, output swelling to 299bhp and 284lb ft.

>> Read the first drive of the Mercedes S400 BlueHybrid

The new S-Class cannot run purely on battery power; the electric motor is used exclusively to boost the petrol engine.

It’s also the first mass-produced hybrid to use a lithium ion battery. This weighs just 27kg and is said to be much more efficient than conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries.

With luxury car sales in freefall, the updated car can’t come soon enough, although the exterior changes are relatively modest.

The new car also gets a revised grille and a new front bumper, which reflects the more ‘edgy’ design language of the upcoming E-Class and new GLK SUV.

Inside, the upgraded dashboard will get the option of the innovative new Splitview screen, which can show two different images simultaneously. This will allow the driver to view a sat-nav display, while the passenger watches TV.

>> Read more on the Mercedes S-class Splitview system

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Comments
7

13 December 2008

I had both the W220 and W221 models, the latter being such an overwrought nonsense of gimmicks and technology of questionable usefulness and reliability that I sold it not six months after I bought it. Glad I did so, too: an 06/06 S320 CDI like mine can now be had for Mondeo money.

Here's a car on Auto Trader that's not even a year old:

2008 57 Reg MERCEDES-BENZ S320 CDI 2987 cc

Photograph of MERCEDES-BENZ S CLASS DIESEL SALOON (2006 -     ) S320 CDI 4DR AUTO

£34,995

Features:

  • 18,500 miles
  • Automatic
  • Iridium Silver
  • Diesel
  • Saloon
  • 2987 cc

That car has shed £20,000 in a year, more than £1,500 every month!

When all the people who took out 36-month leases on these cars in 2006 suddenly find that their 2009 balloon payment is 35% higher than the car is actually worth, I dread to think how that will affect the market: few will be able to afford to actually replace the car and will be forced to keep it instead, thus taking even more sales out of the market.

I must say that the quality on these later cars is way out front of the painfully cheap, accountant-plagued crap Mercedes were spitting out in the late 1990s, but the driving experience has become so anaesthetised and the interface with the car so akin to a desktop computer that it left me utterly cold - particularly as I use computers all day and feel the commute home should be a place to get away from them. Going from my favourite car to what is in retrospect my least favourite was a strange experience, particularly as they both wear the same badge and model name.
My views aside, I don't hold out much hope for S-Class popularity - as well as the leasing problem I mentioned above, this kind of crassmobile is rapidly becoming an unfashionable dinosaur, facelifted or otherwise. Sales are on the floor now and my view is that they're not going to get up again.

13 December 2008

[quote ThwartedEfforts]My views aside, I don't hold out much hope for S-Class popularity - as well as the leasing problem I mentioned above, this kind of crassmobile is rapidly becoming an unfashionable dinosaur, facelifted or otherwise. Sales are on the floor now and my view is that they're not going to get up again.[/quote]

You are right about the sales being dead at the moment for cars like the S-class, but cars like the s-class are still very popular in the Middle East and Asia. it may be slow in Europe but when I went to Dubai this year a S-class was as common as a ford Fiesta and there were even more exspensive cars there. We in the UK want to have the best cars and houses and we cant afford them but still get them without thinking what will happen if credit and loans dry up. well now we know what it is like....

13 December 2008

The Middle East accounted for fewer than 20,000 Mercedes sold between January and October, compared to the near 600,000 in Western Europe and 200,000 in the USA. China took less than 40,000. Even with significant gains in total number of units sold, the Arab sheikhs and Chinese factory owners who over the last few years have developed a penchant for three-pointed stars remain side stories in the company's accounts. When the two biggest markets are stalling, luxury car makers are not going to be comforted by smaller players spending slightly more. And particularly when those smaller players rely pretty much exclusively on exports to the big players to afford the cars they're buying...

13 December 2008

Saw one being used as a taxi recently, albeit in Germany. If I was a taxi driver, I'd rather have one than a Primera or Avensis ...

14 December 2008

[quote ThwartedEfforts]When all the people who took out 36-month leases on these cars in 2006 suddenly find that their 2009 balloon payment is 35% higher than the car is actually worth, I dread to think how that will affect the market:[/quote]

I thought you have an option of just handing the car back at the end of the lease and paying nothing? Hence the 'Guarenteed minimum future value'.

If this is the case then it will be the manufacturers finance departments that lose out - Big time. They will have no option but to auction the cars off at very attractive prices. The used car market will be full of bargains in the next year or so....

14 December 2008

Hardly, those with PCP deals involving balloon payments will have the option to hand the car back, obviously this means that they won't be forced to keep the car.

28bhp never felt so fast

 

14 December 2008

[quote Quattro369]

I thought you have an option of just handing the car back at the end of the lease and paying nothing? Hence the 'Guarenteed minimum future value'.

If this is the case then it will be the manufacturers finance departments that lose out - Big time. They will have no option but to auction the cars off at very attractive prices. The used car market will be full of bargains in the next year or so....

[/quote]

Depends on the financial product involved. I'd wager that most commercial lease deals do not feature an underwritten balloon, and while many consumer oriented PCP schemes such as Ford Options and BMW Select offer 'guaranteed minimum future value', no business lease I've ever taken has featured it. Regardless of the facts, you made the correct observation that someone has to pick up the tab - if not the driver then the manufacturer.

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