9th Dec 2009 8:00 am
This is easily the best luxury car you can buy and now that it is being assembled here, it’s easier on the wallet too
Set the car in ‘Comfort’ mode and the S-class suspension becomes especially supple. It dispatches poorly paved roads without breaking into a sweat, the massive chassis floating on four thick columns of air.
The car has an improved version of the ‘Airmatic’ suspension found in the earlier version, and we don’t hesitate to call this the best air suspension system around — better than on any of its competitors. As with any of these systems, it has the ability to raise the ride height of the car if road conditions demand it, making the S relatively stress-free to drive on our roads. What makes all this even better is the fact that the absorbent ride is not attained through soft springs. It’s also amazing that even though the thin, 55-profile tyres may be rolling through a poorly paved section, there is little rocking or pitching from the suspension, the S-class sailing over like that proverbial ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman.
Sharp-edged bumps and large potholes, however, still catch out the air springs, primarily because the air springs find providing instant compression (demanded by such obstacles), difficult to deal with.
If ride quality is important to you, we strongly suggest you stick to 17-inch rims and avoid the temptation to go up to 18 inchers. However, ride quality over big potholes apart, there is little to criticise as far as comfort and relaxation are concerned. Accommodation is first rate or seven star, as they like to say in the hotel industry.