It somehow seems a little odd that car makers are carrying on with new models and updates to existing models when their industry seems to be on the brink of collapse. But of course these plans are long-standing, and it would be foolish to scrap them, so it is nice to see that things are, to a point, carrying on as normal.
The Mercedes S Class has long been at the forefront of car technology. You can bet your boots that what we see on any new S Class will be where mainstream makers go in years to come. The S Class was first with things like inertia reel belts and air-bags, and the 2009 Mercedes S Class (perhaps we should call it the 2010 Mercedes S Class in deference to our US friends) – although an update rather than new model – follows this tradition.
Perhaps the most fun is the new split-screen COMAND screen that will be fitted. It utilises the latest technology to provide a split-screen viewing of the display. But this isn’t just two half images in place. It actually projects different images to the front seat passenger and the driver. Which means, for the first time legally, you can actually have a DVD playing on the front screen which is aimed just at the passenger, whilst the driver sees the SatNav, or whatever display they choose. Very neat.
Other changes include the now ubiquitous LED daytime running lamps (you can thank Audi for this latest ‘must-have’ if you don’t like them – I’m still not sure) which every top-end German car will soon have. You also get LED rear lights (nicked from the Maybach) so the front and back match.
The S Class facelift was originally expected at Detroit (which may still happen) with the cars hitting showrooms in the Spring. But, probably as a concession to the unsold stock of current S Classes, the car will probably not start to hit the roads until much later in 2009.
The latest incarnation of the S Class doesn’t seem to have been with us five minutes, and yet here is a facelifted version. I’m not sure how pleased current S Class owners will be at the facelift model though. The S Class range has taken something of a beating on price of late, and the knowledge that the facelifted model is around the corner is going to do nothing for residuals, or for sales of the un-facelifted current model.
Still, onward and upward, even when things look grim, is not a bad way to go.