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Old 7th April 2012, 16:41   #1
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Default Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

I set off with in intention to buy a 20L car and ended up buying an S350. The "what car" journey details can be found here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/what-c...edes-s350.html (Hunt for Skoda Laura L&K replacement - will it be BMW X1? No! It's the Mercedes S350!)

It was a gradual and expensive progression to a decision that is borderline crazy but as I have read somewhere - love is like Pi: natural, irrational, and very important (or real?). Within few seconds into the test drive of the S class, it was clear to me that I am liberated from the analysis-paralysis jinx. It was a tough decision to buy this car in India given it size, price and the burden of being seen in such a rich man's car. One can buy two E220 CDIs plus one Laura for this price. As I was buying from a discounted inventory and petrol at that, I was given a decent discount - so eased the budget a bit. This is just a brief review on purchase experience and initial ownership so must be taken with a pinch of salt given the usual euphoria surrounding a new car purchase.

The typical ownership and test drive reviews on this forum are of such a good quality, I am a little apprehensive in making an attempt to review. Before we get any further I want to confess that I am not much of a driver and this review is mostly about everything except the drive. I will update this thread with my driving experience if I get to go on a long holiday drive.

So let us begin the review:

1. Ride comfort

The NVH, airmatic suspension, 3.5L petrol engine, excellent seats all add up to a ride that is surreal. I have traveled on the same roads using many other cars and never in my life have I experienced a feeling of traveling by a battery operated boat in the calm backwaters of Kerala in Bangalore. Somewhat an exaggeration but the car offers a phenomenal ride comfort. Interestingly, even though I was reluctant to buy a petrol, it suits this car extremely well. If I were to buy the same car again, I would probably consider the petrol as my first preference.

2. All passengers are pampered equally

Even if you consider the fully loaded A6/E/5 segment cars, the rear seat is just a bench (maybe some AC controls and rear seat entertainment thrown in when you reach 65L budget in Bangalore). Long wheelbase S is exceptional when it comes to attention given to all the passengers. You will not feel let down in any of the three passenger seats and you will not have people rushing to grab the best seats first. Each seat has electrical adjustments with memory, heated/cooled, lumbar support (not the regular wire-mesh+motor but tiny air pockets that provide the right contour), comfort headrest. There is a fridge in the rear. Each passenger gets a chord-less headphone. There are two remote controllers. All three passengers can simultaneously watch three different movies of their choice without any help from the driver (front DVD player, rear DVD player and video AUX-IN).

plenty of accessories (all three can watch/listen to different entertainment stuff)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-remotedsc01466m.jpg

ample rear space
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-rearspaceimg_5846m.jpg

driver controls
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-frontdoorimg_5833m.jpg

rear passenger controls (looks as rich and congested as a typical driver's door)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-reardoor04img_5848m.jpg

rear AC controls
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-rearac07img_5847m.jpg

RSE video AUX-IN
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-rseimg_5838m.jpg

rear central arm rest (has seat contour and massage controls)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-reararmrestimg_5842m.jpg

Fridge
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-fridgeimg_5845m.jpg

Comfort headrest (can shape your headrest)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-comfortheadrestimg_5836m.jpg

3. Personal preference

I guess specs and features mentioned above are available (possibly better) in other models as well (A8, 7 series, etc.) but S class captures it like no other in terms of quality, comfort and elegance - generation after generation. As an added bonus even at this price this is a fairly common sight and relatively less attention-grabbing (I hope) yet distinct and very elegant from every angle. So I did not test drive any "equivalent" cars. If anybody wonders why not some other car with similar specs and features I have no answer. Maybe there are better cars but this is a special car in my book. I certainly would not like to go broke for any car but this

Some exterior and interior photos (afternoon was a bad time to take pics but not much free time these days):
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-01img_5873m.jpg
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-02img_5865m.jpg
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-03img_5868m.jpg
Notice the BMW 5 series in the background.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-04img_5867m.jpg
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-05img_5824m.jpg

Nice steering wheel. When the palm shifts between wood and leather you are subtly reminded to relax and not look for thrills! Has paddles and column mounted gearshift lever.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-steerimg_5831m.jpg

AC controls on the top. DVD (6 discs)/SD-card (16GB tested to work), etc. below with a lid to cover
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-ice0501consoleimg_5840m.jpg

Night-vision (infrared camera view of the road ahead in the night projected on instrument cluster screen) is a switch next to the lights dial. It is available only in the night, not terribly useful. Will post pics some other time. Notice the park button (unlike the pedal based hand-brake in other Merc cars). Also start/stop is through a button that can be removed so a Key can be used (very smart I thought)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-lightswitch06img_5835m.jpg
This start/stop button fits into the key slot.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-startstopdsc01468m.jpg
Car comes with Keyless-go (you never have to use the key at all) and soft/self closing of the doors (when the door is gently closed, the door pulls itself to fully close)

Command control and few other buttons in the central console area. Notice no gear-shift lever - it is mounted on the steering column.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-command-knob0502img_5832m.jpg

Excellent ICE by H/K (sadly no video through SD/USB)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-hkimg_5859m.jpg

Push the bottom to close the boot. Rear view camera for parking is on the boot lid.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-bootcloseimg_5828m.jpg

Fridge takes up decent boot space.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-bootfridgeimg_5829m.jpg

3.5L v6 engine (6-9 kmpl is achievable - not worried about the HP/Torque, etc.) The starter battery is in the engine bay, and consumer battery is in the boot. (I heard if the starter battery is out of charge, it can use consumer battery for starting the car - this is pretty smart!)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-engine06img_5858m.jpg

Fire extinguisher under the driver's seat:
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-fireimg_5834m.jpg

USB port, remove holder strap, video AUX-IN port in the front glove box
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-gloveimg_5854m.jpg

Full size spare wheel with standard alloy.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-spare07img_5861m.jpg

Key - the star key chain was given free. Had to bargain for BMW-5 key chain. Mercedes key looks the money.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-keysdsc01469m.jpg

Wishlist:
1. Auto-Hold: S (all Mercedes cars) has "Hold" feature that works by pressing the brake (in a special way that you will learn easily) after reaching a complete stop. But you have to do this each time you stop - not cool in crawling traffic or driving on inclines. BMW/Audi have dedicated "Auto-Hold" button that automatically engages hold every time the vehicle stops. Mercedes cars can roll back on inclines, while in BMW I could use the "Auto-Hold" button and no worries of rolling back.

2. Video from USB/SD card. Only DVD discs are used for video. There is video AUX support but video support from SD/USB would have been great!

3. NAV and HUD - would have made it just perfect.

4. Distronic plus (world's coolest adaptive cruise control) is disallowed in India due to restrictions on radar use.

The Drive:
Did not do much of driving - planning a holiday drive during the end of this month and will definitely post an update on the driving experience. Whatever limited driving I have done the car seems capable but you really don't feel like driving this car hard. It may drive well or may not but you are just so relaxed and zen-like that you are never in a hurry. In comparison, it is very tiring to drive BMW slowly. Somehow I get body pains if I try to drive BMW slowly, give way to others, etc. and it is very relaxing and entertaining to drive the BMW a bit hard. Anyways, will update with drive experience after driving it a bit.

Practicality:
-Fuel economy: 6-9 kmpl seems doable (need to monitor for sometime)

-Parking needs practice - not only because of the size but because of the cost of a mistake :-) Has good assistance (rear view camera, parking sensors, etc.). At 5.2m+, it is longer than Fortuner (4.7m)!

-It can be a comfortable daily driver if you don't have to squeeze through busy market lanes and have a decent parking space at work.

Dealership experience:
Sundaram Motors Bangalore has earned this hard sale due to their extremely friendly and willing staff. I always looked like a window-shopper and not sure of what I want (because I interacted with them for their entire range). They were incredibly nice to my two super painful kids and allowed them to play with all the cars on display. This was even before they 'identified' me as a potential customer. At the other end of the spectrum, Audi dealership made my family feel unwelcome after taking a booking amount from me!! Thank you Audi or I would have been driving an A4 now! Sundram could not deliver the E class I booked (due to unavailability of the spec from Mercedes) and I was upset with that bit of the experience. Thank you Mercedes for the unavailability of the E class or I would have been driving an E now. But overall the staff at Sundaram has always made me feel comfortable and answered my calls and queries promptly without any trace of irritation.
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Hope the service and ownership experience will also turn out to be great!

Credits:
Got lot of support and advice from many tbhp members, thank you guys. Two members deserve special mention:

@S350L-E240: a willing wikipedia of cars - I bugged him with all my questions and apprehensions and he was patient enough to answer me. An absolute gentleman and incredibly knowledgeable about cars so his overwhelming love for Mercedes can be forgiven. To be fair, he encouraged me to look at X3, A6 and A8. He just can't hide his affection for Mercedes and I hope he doesn't get banned

@diffsoft: Mr Safe-hands with money and master of restraint, I wish I could follow in your footsteps. Thanks for listening to my incessant banter about cars and agreeing to come along when time permitted.

Last edited by androdev : 7th April 2012 at 17:43.
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Old 7th April 2012, 18:26   #2
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Moderator's note: Thread moved to ownership section from Assembly Line. Thanks for Sharing!

Congrats on the car Androdev. Enjoy the beast! Do update with driving experience and more pics of the features.
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Old 7th April 2012, 18:45   #3
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Congratulations on buying the 'Tank'. Hope it serves you well and long.

Usually, I've seen people who meet with accidents get conservative and go in for used or cheaper replacements. You are an exception !.
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Old 7th April 2012, 19:48   #4
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I set off with in intention to buy a 20L car and ended up buying an S350. The "what car" journey details can be found here:
Though I kind of knew the complete story through the 'What Car' thread, I was waiting for this thread impatiently. In my books, this is the definition of 'upgrade' - a truly significant one at that. Congrats on becoming the owner of what is widely considered as 'the best car in the world'. Yes, the new A8 may have leapfrogged the S in certain areas but nothing beats the S when it comes to passenger comfort.

I have not driven one or driven in one either and so I can't comment on the ride being as good as a electric boat. But, the S literally looks like a ship. It's that long. Wishing you miles and miles of happy ownership with the S. I am glued to this thread.
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Old 7th April 2012, 20:07   #5
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Dear Androdev,

Honestly speaking, thanks to you for listening, most I speak to usually end up with an Audi, and here am glad you even refused to drive it,

Trust me you have the best in class in a lot of aspects, and ride is one of them, and Mercedes India has left no stone unturned to keep the S as loaded as they can and I agree with you, the petrol is the better choice for the S maybe I should have pushed more for the 500,

Cheers mate, and enjoy every bit of it, so in 2016 we can talk about the new W222!

Regards,

P.S : I don't see a ban soon
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Old 7th April 2012, 20:08   #6
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
At the other end of the spectrum, Audi dealership made my family feel unwelcome after taking a booking amount from me!! Thank you Audi or I would have been driving an A4 now!
Congrats on the car Androdev. Wish I could afford one in my lifetime!
Volkswagen group really need to work on how to treat people who walk into their showrooms (potential customer or not). Be it Audi or VW, the treatment is the same. If they aim to be the number 1 in luxury segment, they better get their acts right.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 8th April 2012 at 09:18. Reason: fiixng the quote tags
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Old 7th April 2012, 20:08   #7
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Firstly, congrats on your new car. And you are right, this is bordering on insane. Truly amazing car!!!!
I just love the analog clock between the ac vents. What a touch of class.

The fit and finish seems outstanding. Honestly, i have never seen a new age S class close-up. So completely starry eyed right now. :-D

The scary thing is the sheer amount of gizmos. I guess this is what makes these cars expensive to maintain more than the mechanicals, which MB always builds bullet proof.

In anycase, enjoy your purchase. The car looks worth whatever you paid for it.
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Old 7th April 2012, 20:37   #8
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

A big congrats . 2 brands in one house . BTW tell us sir or show how big is your garage , or do you park your cars on road ? . Does merc also have a BSI stuff like BMW ?
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Old 7th April 2012, 20:44   #9
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
@diffsoft: Mr Safe-hands with money and master of restraint, I wish I could follow in your footsteps. Thanks for listening to my incessant banter about cars and agreeing to come along when time permitted.
Congrats on the purchase of such a beautiful car. The pics are too good.

Thanks for your kind words as well. Thanks to you I have moved up the value ladder, in my imagination to begin with and hopefully with my wallet as well!

Cheers,
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Old 7th April 2012, 21:05   #10
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Voila! Congrats on buying the "Tank" . I am sure you are going to enjoy munching Kms for a long time. Well, I might sound bit biased towards mercs, if you sensed it, then yes you are correct, like our S350L-E240 sir, I am too a big hardcore fan of the Mercs. Especially with all those LEDs and DRL's. I take a chance to steal your thread for a pic of mine, which I took during my Autoshow, frankfurt.



I believe you inquired about the S500 too. Can your experiences on that? Are there any significant differences in terms of equipments between the S350 and the S500 other than the engine?
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Old 7th April 2012, 22:20   #11
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Hello,

Ill answer on his behalf as he might just msg me at mid-night with my wife doubting who do I Msg in the middle of the night,

S500 from 2012 only has the engine and the alloys more than 350, rest all is same, earlier panorama roof was only on 500 unless you got CBUs in lower variants,

Regards,

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaKilo View Post
I believe you inquired about the S500 too. Can your experiences on that? Are there any significant differences in terms of equipments between the S350 and the S500 other than the engine?
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Old 7th April 2012, 23:26   #12
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

@androdev: I think I had last posted on the Laura thread (I think when it met with an accident). And now posting here: Congratulations!
Isn't this the longest car (sedan) owned by a Team-BHPian? (I think they forgot to add a third row in there) :P
I hope you get enough parking space where ever you go
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Old 8th April 2012, 04:47   #13
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

congratulations, this car er how should i put it is "success on wheels"

its super fun when someone asks you,

why did you spend so much on money on this car

your can answer like this " oh, it just takes me from point A to B

with a big grin

can we know about the discount figure (super curious) and why not wait for W222 about to be launched later this year or early 2013

i just read W222 would have hand gestures controls. and they are gonna replace the command system! completely!

anyways this is like upgrading from business class to buying a private jet, thats how i feel.

do you get salaam saheeb from watchmans/staffs all across lol. how is the public perceprtion of this beast. in your words.

Last edited by Caramelo : 8th April 2012 at 05:05.
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Old 8th April 2012, 07:02   #14
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Congratulations Androdev on buying a beauty!!

The Audi sales guy would be on learning what you finally bought.
Lost a potential A8 customer.

That brings me to ask since you did stretch quite far why did you not evaluate the A8 W12 long base version. I've read in the reviews that it has all the gizmos to keep you happy at the back with loads of space and comfort.

Cheers !!
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Old 8th April 2012, 09:11   #15
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Default Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Congtraz on you buying the 'best car in the world'.
Though am far from buying a Merc of my own, my mind always uses to jump between the brands(except Audi and Acura), but when you see the interiors of an S, the way the dashboard is designed, the seats all make you fall head over heels again to a Merc fan,especially my childhood days with uncle's W126 and W140 helps.
BTW: just read your earlier thread, you broke the rule of ground clearance for India.!!!

Last edited by DicKy : 8th April 2012 at 09:14.
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