It was back in April 2009 when Mercedes-Benz announced the facelifted W221 S-Class and it’s now finally here in Malaysia in less than a year. Three variants of Mercedes-Benz’s updated limo are available – the S300L, the S350L and the S500L – all in long wheelbase form and locally assembled at a plant in Pekan, Pahang.
No big changes to the world’s most successful limo, but the visual updates are significant enough to be spotted, especially at night. This is because the facelifted S-Class gets plenty of LED lights, two strips up front (one replaces the fog lamps, another is in the headlight cluster that also doubles up as indicators) and a double square arrangement for the taillights, which vaguely resembles the figure 8. The radiator grille is slightly more angular now, so are the front and rear bumpers, leading Mercedes-Benz Malaysia to call the design “edgier”. Chrome strips at the front lower lip and just above the rear number plate are subtle and tasteful.
Inside, the clamshell between the front seats that houses the phone buttons now opens to the left, allowing easier operation for the driver (it was quite illogical previously), while the steering airbag module is now smaller and covered in Nappa leather. More wood is used than before and like the exterior, chrome strips are added in places like below the arm rests. Cars that come with entertainment systems get larger rear LCD screens (8″, previously 7″) with better contrast ratio. Switchable ambient lighting comes in three hues: Solar (yellowish), Neutral (white) and Polar (bluish).
The latest S-Class comes with some new technology. Distronic Plus (Merc’s clever proximity cruise control), which works in conjunction with Pre Safe Brake, are now joined by Adaptive Highbeam Assist (auto dips the high beam in the presence of oncoming cars), Night View Assist Plus (infrared camera now with improved pedestrian detection), Attention Assist (drowsiness detection system) and Blind Spot Assist. The latter works much like Volvo’s BLIS, but the warning light is built in the mirror itself, not inside the cabin.
The gadget that will wow occupants most is Splitview, which allows the dashboard LCD screen to show different content to the driver and front passenger. For instance, the front passenger can watch a DVD while the driver uses the screen for navigation – simultaneously on the same screen. Not all of these kit are standard across the range though, especially if you order the “entry-level” S300L.
The 3.0-litre V6 (231 bhp/300 Nm), 3.5-litre V6 (272 bhp/350 Nm) and 5,461cc V8 (388 bhp/530 Nm) all maintain their outputs but are claimed to have 7% better fuel consumption. The standard transmission is Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic auto ‘box. Prices range from RM649,888 for the S300L and RM835,888 for the S350L, to exactly RM1 million for the S500L. Impressively, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia already has 60 orders in hand as of this morning.
More pictures after the jump.
[zenphotopress number=999 album=862]