TICK off all the top guy clichés; captain of industry, movie biz mogul, dot-com tycoon, leader of the free world, Third World dictator. All have been known to pick the Mercedes-Benz S-Class as their chosen ride. Which is logical, considering the S-Class is the three-pointed star’s range-topping model, its superlative sedan.
Last week, the newest rendition of the S-Class—the ninth generation of a model whose roots can be traced back to 1954, with “S” connoting sonderklasse, meaning special class—was launched locally by Philippine Mercedes-Benz distributor CATS Motors Inc. Arriving initially in S500 LWB guise, CATS Motors’ top executives at the launch event said all units of the car that are to be allocated to the Philippines have already been spoken for—and the cue of reservations is growing still. Not bad for a car that retails at a hair below P10 million.
And so it’s little wonder that when pressed for sales projection, company officials lightheartedly responded; “As many as possible.”
Worldwide, more than 500,000 examples of the previous-gen S-Class were sold during the model’s almost eight-year production run.
True to tradition, the S-Class’s latest rendition trumps the model that preceded it, with Mercedes-Benz corporate prose proclaiming the new car has specifications that aim for “perfection to the last detail.” This best-or-nothing approach, according to the carmaker, is particularly noticeable in the quality of the car’s cabin, from air-conditioning to seats to the infotainment system to comfort and safety. This time around, though, Mercedes-Benz said it paid special attention to the S-Class’s space for rear passengers. The new car, then, gets an extensive list of standard features, which include a First Class Rear option that transforms the aft part of the cabin into a mobile business center.
Further underscoring the new S-Class’s emphasis on the comfort and convenience of its backseat passengers is that Mercedes-Benz focused on developing the model’s long wheelbase version rather than the standard variant—a first in the range’s history. In fact, it’s the standard-wheelbase car that is now derived from its lengthier sibling. The reason for this, Mercedes-Benz said, is that its flagship model is now, more than ever, “firmly positioned” in China and Japan on top of its established status in the US and Europe. The carmaker correctly identifies the S-Class as a chauffeur-driven car in Asia.
Well, it is meant for the top guys.