Night View Assist uses two infra-red lights to illuminate the road ahead.
Night View Assist uses two infra-red lights to illuminate the road ahead. This is invisible to all except the windscreen mounted camera. The information gathered is processed and displayed in eerie greyscale, replacing the Speedo image, which is then shown as a bar underneath. It only works at night and is designed for reference only. I found it quite distracting; especially in town where there are too many lights, and turned it off.
Three stalks protrude from the steering column. On the right is the DIRECT SHIFT for the 7-speed automatic transmission, which is standard with all the V6 and V8 engines in the range. As well as the usual PNRD, there’s a sequential manual function operated through buttons on the back of the steering wheel and accessed via a control on the central tunnel panel. M for manual is one of three settings - the other two are C for comfort and S for Sport. These settings affect the gear-changes, accelerator pedal and suspension. Personally, I found C to be a little too soft and preferred S, where the gear-changes lengthen and the AIRMATIC suspension tenses for action.
On the upper left-hand side of the steering wheel sits the Speedtronic cruise control stalk. On the test car, this had been upgraded to the DISTRONIC PLUS system (£1,840), by which the distance between the S-Class and the vehicle in front can be set using radar technology. Should you get too close, the system will automatically slow the car - to a stop, if necessary.
Below that is a multifunctional stalk that operates the wash/wipe, indicators and full-beam for the headlights. It is fine once you get used to it but how many times did I flick the indicators on when I wanted use the heated windscreen washer? And, how many times did I indicate with the wrong stalk and find the car accelerating to the speed set by the cruise control? The answer is, too many - almost to the point of annoyance.
Right at the base of the steering column is the steering wheel adjustment control, offering seamless adjustment in all directions. If you have forked out the extra £575, the position of the steering wheel, along with that of the seats and mirrors, can be memorised using one of the three buttons and the door panel.
Mercedes Benz S-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz S350|
|Body Type||4-Door Saloon|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||7.2 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|Transmission||7G-Tronic 7-Speed Automatic Transmission with Tipfunction and Speedtronic cruise control|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||36.7 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty|
MobiloLife is Mercedes Benz's guarantee to keep you mobile for up to 30 years. Renewed after each service performed by a Mercedes Benz authorised dealer and remains valid until the next service is due
|Price (when tested on the 08/08/06)||£56,765|