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Mercedes-Benz S320

Broadcast date : 30th April 2006


Over-nighting at the Hilton Country Estate and Spa recently put the Car Torque team within striking distance of the famous Hilton College, where David had some homework to do.

Car Magazine called the new S-Class a technological Tour de Force. Thereís no doubt about its imposing presence, but visually, as well technically, the new S-Class takes some getting used to.

Mercedes-Benz has always been best at building big cars and the new S-Class is a worthy successor to a series of large Mercs that first came into being in the 1950s.

The front-end styling is clean, lean and ever-so-slightly mean, while the rear-end adds the requisite grace with just a touch of the dramatics.

Itís in the cabin, though, where the biggest strides have been made. Gone are the slightly flimsy knobs and buttons of the previous car, and in their place is a mind-blowing array of switchgear that seems as if it has been milled from steel billet.

Rear passenger comfort is well taken care of.

The college grounds contain some typically KZN speed inhibiting gradient changes, as David discovered. Trundling along sedately, the new 173 kiloWatt V6 diesel is quiet, even at just above idle speeds.

For someone with a quicksilver mind like Davidís thereís always something to grab your attention Ė even at boulevard pace. Or is that Bullard-vard pace?

There is just so much to experience in the new S-Class Ė and yet none of the equipment is gimmicky.

Unfortunately, both airflow-direction and audio need expertise on the Command "mouse". Simple knobs would have been better.

We would have no hesitation in recommending the "base" diesel model. The engine is easily refined enough to complement the luxury cache of the S-Class. And outright urge is astounding for an oil-burner.

Overall fuel consumption ranged between 11 litres per hundred in the city, to the 8,5 litres per hundred mark when cruising the zero-tolerance KZN freeway.

The tank holds 90 litres, which means you can spend around R400 on a refill if you run it close to empty. But for S-Class owners who can afford R735 000 for the diesel option, that wonít faze them.

A 3,5 litre petrol version is available for R20 000 less, while the 5 litre V8 currently weighs in at R895 000.

It seems surprising to judge a car costing this kind of money as a bargain, but in our opinion, thatís what it is.


Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI
  • Engine: V6 turbodiesel, 2 987 cc
  • Power: 173 kW @ 3 800 rpm
  • Torque: 540 Nm @ 1 600 rpm
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 8,3 seconds
  • Top speed: 240 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 8,7 litres/100 km (overall estimate)
  • Price: R735 000
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