December 17, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2020 Mercedes-Benz S450 L

The Beacon of Inspiration

As automotive flagships go, the Mercedes-Benz S-class is the Teutonic “OG”, the original brand standard-bearer that began back in 1972 famously with the W116, years before the competition followed. Officially, the British Jaguar XJ is the oldest full-scale flagship of its kind that established the segment in the late 60’s. My family owned two variants at the height of each model year of the W116: a Euro-spec 1973 280SE and a North American-spec 1980 450SEL. I eventually bought my Dad’s 280SE to fully restore and update it through Filipino international race driver and two-time Philippine GT Champion Vincent “Enteng” Floirendo’s Ensport Motors company. It was my first and thus far only S-class that I have owned. Through the years, I have comprehensively tested practically every variant through the generations leading to this Porcelain White S450 L test unit here, literally the last of the V6 twin-turbo 6th generation W222 models in our Philippine market.

Our spectacular fully loaded test unit arrived in our market pre-excise tax so despite its potent powerplant and exceptional standard equipment, the model actually sold slightly cheaper than the current S320 L models in the dealership showrooms. As I write this review, the official Philippine distributor of Mercedes-Benz, Auto Nation Group, Inc., has multiple packaging solutions for buyers looking to purchase the remaining W222 S 320 L units in stock before the upcoming all-new and larger 7th generation W223 S-class arrives sometime in 2021. If you think the prices are steep now, I assure you that the new batch will be even more challenging. So, if you are in the market for a brilliant super saloon Mercedes-Benz S-class flagship that would have over 90% of the equipment on this test unit, time is ticking away.

After freshly exploring the limits and abilities of the current BMW 745 Le PHEV, the non-electrically assisted Mercedes-Benz S450 L in direct comparison definitely rides with more plushness and ironically shares more characteristics with a short-wheelbase outgoing Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II. The BMW on the other hand is the more driver-centric super saloon with deeper dynamic abilities which honestly appeals more to me. It is a matter of preference as both are extremely luxurious, full-featured, and opulent. The S450 L is slightly smaller than the 745 Le but it has a larger trunk with a softer and quieter ride that is better suited to perform the role of a chauffeur-driven limousine.

The S450 L is definitely no slouch. It may not have the extra induced assistance like the BMW, but its 362 bhp twin-turbo engine is very healthy, mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddles that can be tailored along with the AIRMATIC® air suspension via drive modes at a flick to overwhelm the modest 245/50R18 100W Pirelli P7 Cinturato Run Flat tires if you wanted to be naughty. The standard braking system may look fairly ordinary but their functionality is exemplary. The big Benz feels sufficiently agile and light on its feet. Once again, each generation improves on perfection and success without orphaning realistic and life-long abilities. Like every S-class before it, each generation crates a lasting product that can stand on its own merits proudly.

The W222 S-class series is the first in the full-size family to use the very-high-speed FlexRay optical fiber data bus technology to manage all the extensive new technologies and features from all the powered systems. It operates all the seats, the superb full-LED intelligent lighting, to the 64-color / 10-color scheme ambient lighting, the massive dual configurable 12.3-inch instrument and infotainment widescreens, the comprehensive safety suite, steering wheel smartphone-like control pads, to the magnificent 13-speaker 590-watt Burmester® audio system with detailed aluminum speaker grilles. I particularly like how the rear powered retractable window and backlight sunshades function. There is so much equipment to help justify the price of a luxury apartment.

Specifications

Engine

Engine V6
Displacement 2996 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 24V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Twin-Turbo, VVT, Atkinson-Cycle
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 362 bhp @ 5500-6000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 369 lb-ft @ 1800-4500 rpm
Transmission 9-Speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 250 km/h (155 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 5.6 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 19 mph City / 28 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 9,490,000.00
What's Great A genuine flagship, ultra-smooth and comfortable, dynamically sublime and efficient.
What's Not So Pre-excise tax pricing, no longer available, replaced with the S320 L in our market while supplies last.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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