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Mercedes-Benz S 320 L 2018 Review: S Marks The Spot

Derryn Wong
13/11/2018

The entry-level Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a thoroughly impressive limo for Singapore, and no longer a case of space without pace and grace
SINGAPORE
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury limo, now in its sixth W222 model iteration, saw a facelift earlier this year.

New additions for the facelift include smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay), the nine-speed gearbox, the exterior design (lower fascia, tail and headlights etc).


While we tested the upper-spec variant with a more powerful engine, the S 450 L, it’s only now that we’ve gotten our hands on the entry-level (as far as an S-Class can be described as such) S 320 L model.

Old-timers and those familiar with the S-Class might recognise those digits: The S 320 badge was one seen in generations gone by, although the more popular models for Singapore are indubitably the ones with smaller capacities, including the S 280 from the W140 and W220 generations, and the S 300 in the preceding W221 model.

But those models of yore were all naturally-aspirated, and while they delivered the sort of untroubled, silky forward progress the S-Class is known so well for, they also had a tendency to be a little slow on the uptake.

Not so this S 320 L, which has the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine as the S 450 L, albeit with 272hp on tap, it has 115hp less, as well as 100Nm less torque at the engine’s peak.

Still, compared to the sub-200hp output of the old entry-level S-Class models, the S 320 L positively flies.

Turbocharged it may be, but the V6 is truly worthy of its space under the bonnet of Merc’s best-known luxury model.

Torque is effortlessly shuffled through the adroit nine-speed gearbox with nary a perceptible lurch, velocity is gained without passengers chicken-necking in anxiety.
READ MORE: Why the S 320 L could be the last conventional S-Class Mercedes ever makes…

Instead, they remain with backs in seats, engaged in conversation, crossing legs and smiling.

The adaptive dampers have an inherently plush setup, so the S 320 L is, as it should be, notably better at smoothing out bad stuff on the road than any Mercedes below it in the model range.

A car can’t be a luxury limousine without an analog clock in it. We’re only half kidding….
While the S 450 L offers a sportier drive and more enjoyment for those behind the wheel, the S 320 L offers up refined quickness of its own.
It doesn’t slouch and complain when a driver wishes to extract more from it – you have the sense of a butler who’s rushing about to do your bidding quicker, but he’s still a butler, for better or worse. For Jason Statham in a suit sort of antics, see the S 63 AMG model.

At the less expensive end of the market, some Mercedes models offer less equipment than their competitors, but the same is resolutely not true of the S 320 L.

The price gulf of $56k between this and the S 450 L, performance aside, encompasses interior lighting options, wireless device charging in the rear seat (S 320 L has it on the front only), the semi-autonomous driving features (Lane Tracking Package, Lane Keeping Assist), and larger 19-inch wheels.

The interior’s still a wonderful place to pass the minutes, or even hours, in with everything you’d expect from a luxury limo at the top of its game.



Now, the S-Class sees serious competition from every corner – the new Audi A8 just popped up in Singapore, while the Lexus LS has had a serious change of heart – but it’s value lies in the fact that almost anybody could take a ride in the back and understand what’s valuable about it.

The badge on the front is simply a visual reminder of that.

Mercedes-Benz S 320 L

Engine 2,996cc, V6, twin-turbo
Power 272bhp at 5500-6000rpm
Torque 400Nm at 2000-4000rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
0-100km/h 7.1 seconds
Top Speed 250km/h
Efficiency 8.2L/100km
VES / CO2 C2 / 187g/km CO2
Agent Cycle & Carriage
Price $406,888 with COE
Availability Now

 

Tags:

4-door 5 seat Mercedes-Benz petrol S 320 L S-Class sedan

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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