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Old 28th March 2015, 12:53   #1
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Cool Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

It has been long time since i have posted a "Travelogue/Review" & this time i am back with another exciting one, driving one of the best cars in the business, the W222 S.
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-1.jpg

Honestly have been tied up over the last few months as i got married in Dec '14 & hence was not able to post on regular basis on Team-BHP but this travelogue is from my Honeymoon which was from about end of December to mid Jan '15 - 6 Days in France (Paris & Monaco) & 7 days in Switzerland (Interlaken & Geneva) to be precise. The cars driven were only in Switzerland. This was my ride for Interlaken & drives done in this car were:
1) Interlaken to Bern & back
2) Interlaken to Geneva
3) Gstaad (Col Du Pillon - Mountain Pass)

During January most of the mountain passes are closed due to heavy snow fall so one of them which i could manage doing was the Col Du Pillon Mt. Pass. This is located in the western ALPS region and is termed as one of most spectacuar "dangerous" road in Europe.

Just before the start of the Pass:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-2.jpg
^ The side view of the car makes you fall completely in love with it, specially that soft muscular rear 3/4 stance.

Deeper in the Mountain Pass got the opportunity to stop by for a picture, as you can see the car is really huge:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-3.jpg
While the car was equipped with 4-matic, but i was having some 'traction' issues while posing, lol

This pic was taken while traveling to Geneva in a small town of Gstaad:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-4.jpg
^This is one of my favourite views of the W222 S, a proper modern classic IMO

Another one from the Mt. Pass:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-5.jpg

After driving the W222 S Class for a good 700 odd kms i have summed up the entire experience in a short review of the car.

Engine Performance & Gearbox:
The car i drove was the S350 CDI, 4-Matic. The 350 CDI gets a 258 hp 6 cyl motor getting a handsome 620 NM of Torques. As my car was equipped with the grippy 4-Matic im sure that this would better the 6.8 secs of the 100 km/h sprint of the RWD model.

The V6 diesel though not rev happy was engaging to drive specially to feel the torque thrust & boy it was damn enjoyable:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-6.jpg

Also noteworthy about the engine is a mysterious quietness which always makes you feel that you are traveling in something special, something distinguished. Also i assure you there is simply no harm in having a diesel motor in the S class (some may be anti Diesel fuel as they may think it will not suit the refinement level etc). All in all the V6 diesel is not an aggressively fast engine to drive around in but is sufficiently powerful for those long road trips as compared to the thirsty S500. So yes, i did not do any fancy speeds as most of the motorways had 120 km/h limit & 10 % above that is still manageable, so i did not really find the need to go above 130ish & put the speed radars/ cops to test. But, i did a lot of 0 - 60/100 runs & that was enough to judge how the car would react at higher than legal speeds. Also the 4-MATIC was super fun, specially as the conditions were a bit tricky to drive on as had some icy road conditions & wet weather which never stopped me from having fun.
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-7.jpg

Transmission:
The car was equipped with a 7 speed A/T gearbox & Mercedes call it the 7G Tronic Plus. It was not lightning quick in sport mode nor was it lethargic, comparing it to my 8 spd ZF (328i) it felt slower. But who cares ? Do you need to think about how many micro seconds you saved while switching a gear or would you not cherish that extra time you gained that you will spend in the S Class What i mean is that the gear changes are seamlessly smooth & has a bit of a serene feel to the entire episode. Coming to the downshifts, nothing much to report here as i used it a few times to sudden brake & felt pretty much safe doing so without scaring my wife with the engine braking tactic (Thanks to the paddle shifters). Also i hear that the 2015+ models will be equipped with the 9 speed systems (9G TRONIC). Can any one confirm this please?

Ride Quality:
The "BEST" car in the world. That's quite a statement, specially to carry forward this legacy from generation to generation but it is surprising to see how Merc has magically evolved delivering excellence consistently specifically in the "ride quality" area for the S classes over the years. The ride quality of the W222 was simply breathtakingly amazing. The S was equipped with many driving modes like the Eco, Comfort, Sport etc. But the one to mention here is the

Magic Body Control:
This system has active cameras installed in the front (or windshield?) which helps the car to detect undulations / potholes etc of the road ahead and it communicates this to the AIRMATIC system and makes the suspension ready for the uneven road ahead. This system works so well that even though modes like Sport & comfort were available but i kept switching back on to the "Magic Ride". I remember reading that the Suspension is adapted to "crosswinds" too, well thats really taking things to a different level.

Sport mode?
While en route Geneva we opted for the scenic route which was something like this:
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^ Such roads were a pleasure to drive on as the speed limit was generous here & went unto as high as 80 km/h which makes it very inviting on such bends and further on too the roads were full of such 2 lane empty patches and some were having a 100 km/h zones too.

I did pass on onto a proper enthusiastic phase where i had like forgotten that my wife was sitting next to me. In that process there was a small Mt. pass which had to be crossed too & there i got to admit i did go bonkers in "Manual mode" and then what i feared that happened - My wife threw up, lol
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-9.jpg
^ This was the exact spot where i had to stop (she got that sensation before the bridge, so had to rush to the other end as it wasn't safe to stop in the middle & this was the time it was pedal to the metal stuff). It was such a confused feeling did not know weather i should be happy / proud or should feel bad. Anyway after 5-7 mins of her shouting we started off again. Thankfully she loves cars too & after cooling down she could understand my excitement & this topic was let go for the rest of the trip then.

So yes coming back to sport mode again, honestly this being a barge of a car a proper luxo yacht can handle pretty well too. But "body roll" this is there, persistent cannot be ignored & is troublesome for aggressive driving. This was a 4-matic so it handled pretty well but the std. RWDs will be difficult & thats the time when you'l realise to put the setting back into "Comfort" and cruise for the rest of the journey.

Interiors - "LAP OF LUXURY":
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-10.jpg

The best or nothing mantra is clearly seen with the quality of interiors once you step inside the cabin of the W222. There is a plethora of beautiful elements inside the cabin right from the classic 2 spoke steering wheel to the Bentley like a/c vents. The car i got from Hertz had pure black seats and interiors, but when buying a new S, Merc offers several wood qualities, variation in metals & different colors of leathers to choose from. Undoubtedly the highlight is the huge TFT screen (12.3 inch) which adds to the horizontality of the dashboard and makes the instrument cluster look like a expensive piece of jewelry especially at night. My car as it was a rental wasn't a 4 seater but a proper 5 seat configured car so yes was missing out on many features on the rear, specially the massage option. But at the same time the overall feel of the cabin & the interiors was nothing short of the First Class cabin of say something like a A380

Bells & Whistles (Features):
Out of the endless list of features on offer in the W222 S Class i'd like to enlist a few which were relevant to me while driving around.

DISTRONIC Plus with Steering Assist:
The 1st time i experienced this was an absolute scary experience. I was driving normally on the highway doing aprox 100 km/h and i slightly diverged on the white line marking of the lane. What happened next was that the car corrected its course automatically & While doing so the steering was vibrating (possibly to wake me up or to bring me to notice that the car is losing its lane). What this feature does is it helps the car stay "centered" in its respective lane. How it does this? Again the answer is camera, but this time with the help of some fancy "radar" tech for the aid too. This is obviously in reference with the road lane markings. So what the car does is identifies the road lane markings, the vehicle/s ahead with the help of cameras & radar & sends these readings to the Electric steering system. The above system works not only on straight roads but also on curves too. For a new driver this can be scary and take time getting used to it. Yes, this driving aid can be switched off too but to be honest it isn't much of a trouble once you are aware of such a system is there to save your skin if you tend to get drowsy on long road trips. I don't know weather i should say this or not, but you can literally drive this car on a motorway without touching the steering. Also do note that this system remains de-active at low speeds & only gets active > 30 km/h.

360 Degree Camera:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-11.jpg
^ 360 Degree cameras in the split view is extremely useful during parking, especially spotting the footpaths on the side.

Ambient lighting:
This is what night driving in the Lap of Luxury feels like:
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^ One of the 7 ambient lighting colour modes.

Burmester Music System:
This was simply mind blowing to be honest. I am not much into vehicle audio & ICE but this 13 speaker sound system was very impressive. Do note that my ride back home itself has a Harman Kardon 9 speaker system, but still there was a significant difference in clarity & the entire "experience".

Media Interface:
This function was very user friendly as it allowed easy connect to my iphone 6. The interface was smart enough and showcasing things like album art, favorites etc was conveniently controlled through the vehicle infotainment system.

Heated Seats:
During the trip we did face some really cold days & the average temperature during the day was 5 Degree C. The heated seats worked really well and added the comfort to the journeys & were really handy in warming you up after having had the car parked outside in biting cold. IIRC the steering was heated too. Do note my Skoda Laura L&K had this feature too, RESPECT ! Feature laden but was missing out on the HUD.

Before my final verdict on my driving impressions of the W222 S Class here is a final parting shot @ Hertz, Geneva:
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Verdict:
With the magical suspension, the smiling 2 spoke steering wheel, hi-res TFT screen to the almost autonomous driving aids provided, this car feels sublime & the feel is as special as compared to the Bentley or if i may say the Rolls Royce too, This indeed was a Klasse Act from Mercedes and not sure about weather it is the "Best car in the World" but it defintely is "The best car in its Segment" & probably a Segment above too.

Last edited by Aditya : 1st April 2015 at 14:41. Reason: Editing spacing for better readability
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Old 28th March 2015, 12:56   #2
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

Before i upgraded to the W222 S Class i was driving around in the Mercedes Benz E Class. The E was the W212 E250 CDI again equipped with the 4-matic system.

The next pic is at Hertz, Interlaken where i switched cars:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-1.jpg

As i told earlier that most of the famous passes like FURKA, Grimsel etc were closed during that part of the year specifically as they were snow clad so the only passes which were open which i could manage doing in the E class were:
1) Brunig Pass
2) Juan Pass

En route Brunig Pass (Its en route Lucern):
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A beautiful road intersection:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-3.jpg

The road got narrower in the mountain pass:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-4.jpg

A picture of us after completing the Brunig pass:
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Juan Pass:
Juan pass is a high mountain pass located in the ALPS connecting Juan & Reidenbach.
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-6.jpg

A Click before starting the Juan Pass:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-7.jpg

Some conquered tarmac:
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And some more to conquer:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-9.jpg
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-10.jpg

Love those wheels on the E, sadly only 100 sets on Launch editions made it to India:
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-11.jpg

Also no tail happiness, coz of 4-matic' ness' :
Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)-12.jpg

Driving the E:
This was the first time i was driving the E250 & overall i was impressed with the cars handling and ride comfort combination. Engine as we know is the 4 cal 500 nm motor, it manages to be quick enough for the "speed limit" highways but it does feel underpowered in those quick 0-100 runs / red light drags. Coming back to the handling & ride combo, Merc has indeed done a beautiful job with this E considering its rival is the F10 5'er. Also id like to mention the car was wrapped on winter tyres & an 18" setup the ride was amazing & properly cushioning us from the undulations (which were scarcely found on Swiss roads). Handling department though the major credit goes to the 4-matic system also does go to the steering feel which was spot on for my taste & delivered confidence while approaching bends. Some may feel or argue how did i put these things on test ? To be honest though there are speed limits defined on these roads but say 60 km/h on an Mt. Pass is sufficient enough to put the car through a good amount of exercise considering the conditions were rainy, snow on the sides & some broken layer of ice on the roads on regular intervals.

Any way hope you guys enjoyed reading this travelogue / review, i will add some more pics later on to keep you entertained.

Last edited by Aditya : 1st April 2015 at 15:05. Reason: Editing spacing for better readability
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Old 30th March 2015, 11:01   #3
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

Firstly congratulations and here's wishing you have great married life!

Awesome sets of wheels there!! Driving in Europe in itself is bliss and if you have a good stead, it multiplies the fun. Thanks for sharing!

Am just back from Europe last week and drove a BMW 1er 'M' there for a week. Currently processing the pics. Will update my thread soon!

Do update the cost of the rental and other details too.

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Old 30th March 2015, 11:38   #4
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Great way to move across Europe! How easily did the S class calm you down specially since you drive the frantic 328?
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Old 30th March 2015, 11:52   #5
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Firstly congratulations and here's wishing you have great married life!

Awesome sets of wheels there!! Driving in Europe in itself is bliss and if you have a good stead, it multiplies the fun. Thanks for sharing!

Am just back from Europe last week and drove a BMW 1er 'M' there for a week. Currently processing the pics. Will update my thread soon!

Do update the cost of the rental and other details too.
Thanks for the wishes Vinay

Will share the costs of rentals, insurance etc shortly.

You drove the 1M u mean or the M135i ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit View Post
Great way to move across Europe! How easily did the S class calm you down specially since you drive the frantic 328?
Thanks amit !

Yes indeed the W222 S was a much calm & soothing drive to be honest but at the same time wasn't boring at all. Performance wise though much slower than my 328i, but W222 had oodles of torque & handling wasn't bad too, major credit went to the 4-MATIC there

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Old 30th March 2015, 12:13   #6
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

Thats an excellent travelogue. Europe in an S class was the exact trip I had been contemplating about since long. Your pictures and experience only make my plan stronger.

Travelling around by car just makes the trip so much more pleasant, and enjoyable. When I travelled to Switzerland, we only travelled by bus or train. But with such scenic routes, and such excellent roads, I believe it was an unwise decision. Renting a car makes the trip easier, and reduces the stress largely.

Congratulations on getting married!
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Old 30th March 2015, 13:45   #7
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

Congratulations!

How was it like to drive the S Class and parking it within Swiss cities?

Also did Hertz ask for an International license?

Renting a car to drive is much simpler, cheaper and absolutely enjoyable in Europe. I had used a site called vroomvroomvroom to book a VW Touran from AVIS-Budget for a 2000 Km road trip across France, Swiss & Germany last summer. The rent for a top of the line diesel Minivan like Touran was just 32 Euros/day.
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Old 30th March 2015, 14:15   #8
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Default re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

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Originally Posted by prakhar1998 View Post
Thats an excellent travelogue. Europe in an S class was the exact trip I had been contemplating about since long. Your pictures and experience only make my plan stronger.

Travelling around by car just makes the trip so much more pleasant, and enjoyable. When I travelled to Switzerland, we only travelled by bus or train. But with such scenic routes, and such excellent roads, I believe it was an unwise decision. Renting a car makes the trip easier, and reduces the stress largely.

Congratulations on getting married!
Thanks ! It indeed is a ideal mode of travel having a self drive car in a place like Switzerland & other parts of EU too.

On the other hand a train journey in Swiss is also a must which we missed in this trip :(

(Though we did take a TGV from Paris to Monaco)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Congratulations!

How was it like to drive the S Class and parking it within Swiss cities?

Also did Hertz ask for an International license?

Renting a car to drive is much simpler, cheaper and absolutely enjoyable in Europe. I had used a site called vroomvroomvroom to book a VW Touran from AVIS-Budget for a 2000 Km road trip across France, Swiss & Germany last summer. The rent for a top of the line diesel Minivan like Touran was just 32 Euros/day.
Hertz accepts the Indian License (smart card only, do note the book license will not be accepted)

Regarding Parking, IIRC did not had to "street park" the S anywhere as there were proper public parking spaces available which were pretty spacious. At the hotel also there was a proper valet service which parked the car at an underground parking.

But i did note that the valet guy in the daytime had parked our S Class bang opposite the hotel entry like a BOSS, just like they do in Indian 5 star hotels
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Old 30th March 2015, 17:07   #9
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Finally it's up!
Amazing travelogue and awesome vistas.
When are you hitting the passes in India ?(Ladakh I mean)

What would be your choice of ride in India ? The S-class or the Range Rover ?
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Old 31st March 2015, 11:09   #10
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Default Re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

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Originally Posted by dean5545 View Post
Finally it's up!
Amazing travelogue and awesome vistas.
When are you hitting the passes in India ?(Ladakh I mean)

What would be your choice of ride in India ? The S-class or the Range Rover ?
Thanks Denzil !

Well Ladakh if not mid of the year then next year for sure.

S Class vs Range Rover though it becomes sedan vs SUV but IMO its a fair comparo because both are lux limos of sort. My pick will definitely be the W222 S, as all the other SUV needs the Fortuner can tackle for me (specially the reliability bit )

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Old 31st March 2015, 11:16   #11
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Default Re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

That's a very nice travelogue. Europe in a S class hmmmm! Definitely a good motivator to many!

Your pictures have captured the splendid journey.

Congratulations and all the very best for your wedded life. Well began is half done, let the journey continue!
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Old 31st March 2015, 11:28   #12
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Default Re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

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Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
Thanks for the wishes Vinay

Will share the costs of rentals, insurance etc shortly.

You drove the 1M u mean or the M135i ?
Sadly not the M135i, could not get that one. Only we could get our hands on was a 116D with M Package
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Old 31st March 2015, 12:24   #13
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Default Re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

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Also i hear that the 2015+ models will be equipped with the 9 speed systems (9G TRONIC) Can any one confirm this please ?
The 9G Tronic transmission developed by Mercedes is their answer to ZF's 9HP and upcoming Volkswagen's 10 speed DSG. It will be built in huge volumes in Romania from 2016 onwards, so you can safely expect it from early 2017 in Europe.
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Old 31st March 2015, 12:49   #14
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Default Re: Driving across Switzerland in a Mercedes S-Class (W222)

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Originally Posted by LoneRidder View Post
That's a very nice travelogue. Europe in a S class hmmmm! Definitely a good motivator to many!

Your pictures have captured the splendid journey.

Congratulations and all the very best for your wedded life. Well began is half done, let the journey continue!
Thanks for your wishes

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Sadly not the M135i, could not get that one. Only we could get our hands on was a 116D with M Package
Oh ok, shall await your travelogue then

Quote:
Originally Posted by praveear View Post
The 9G Tronic transmission developed by Mercedes is their answer to ZF's 9HP and upcoming Volkswagen's 10 speed DSG. It will be built in huge volumes in Romania from 2016 onwards, so you can safely expect it from early 2017 in Europe.
Thanks for the info. The 9GTronic will make the shifts & the driving experience even more smoother then.

On 2nd thought i believe the 9G Tronic is already commercialised in EU & being used in the E Class range since last year IMO.
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Old 31st March 2015, 12:56   #15
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On 2nd thought i believe the 9G Tronic is already commercialised in EU & being used in the E Class range since last year IMO.
Yes ,you are correct, what I meant was you can expect 9G tronic in many models post 2016 once they start building the same in Romania.
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