Mercedes’ sweet smell of success
So, will it be a whiff of Chanel No. 5? Or maybe a squirt of Paris Hilton? Itís your choice in Mercedes-Benzí newest S-Class super-sedan. One of the gazillion innovations that come with this latest iteration of every third-world dictatorís favorite full-size four-door is an ďActive Perfuming System.Ē No, Iím not kidding. At the press of a button, the built-in atomizer gives a gentle spritz of perfume. While the folks at Mercedes promise the scent wonít stick to clothing or upholstery, it does make us males-of-the-species worry about turning up at home after a business trip reeking of Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker.So what do you say: No, honey, itís not what you think. Itís my new car. Really! Of course, thereís so much more substance here than a perfume squirter. According to Merc, itís the first ďbulb-lessĒ car, with every lighting bulb replaced by LEDs. There are no fewer than 300 in the carís new cabin alone. Style-wise, the 2014 body may look like a development of the existing car, but it is, in fact, all new. The new front grille is enormous and hints at the look of Mercedesí old and now defunct Maybach range. The one new technical feature Iím dying to experience ó apart from the Chanel squirter ó is the new Road Surface Scan. Using cameras in the front bumper, it detects bumps, dips or potholes in the road ahead and instantly adjusts the suspension to deal with them. Perfect for downtown Tampaís washboard blacktop. Mercedes plans to launch this new S-Class this fall, initially with just one model ó the $100,000-plus long-wheelbase S550. For me, the S-Class has always been the standard-setter in the luxury sedan class, and judging by the specs of this all-new version, I donít see any reason to change that view. Call it the sweet smell of success.