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STYLING | 8 out of 10
ambient lighting that is now selectable to one of three hues instead of one
Car and Driver
more visible exhaust tips have taken a more I-challenge-you-sir rectangular shape
Edmunds' Inside Line
has always been a handsome, if conservative, car
a notch ahead of everything else in its class (though the new Jag XJ is close)
Call it an image maintained. Today's Mercedes-Benz S-Class has carefully groomed its styling for long-term durability, and while it's not the most expressive or singular statement on four wheels, it does have some curb appeal, and is showing some lasting appeal as it approaches its final year of production.
New in 2007, the current S-Class has never been seen as particularly edgy. A blend of some precisely drawn lines and emphatic curves, it was initially seen as a major departure from the bank-vault lines of the S-Class of the 1990s, and the svelte, feminine S-Class of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The tautness of the lines around the fenders has kept it fresh, and the interesting compound lines that collect at the rear quarters were the first taste of the dynamic look that now has erupted across the lineup--most successfully, we think, on the CLS Class. It's not entirely cohesive, but the S-Class' sheetmetal conveys great road presence, especially from the rear quarters, where the perfectly blistered fenders intersect with a rising bumper line.Inside the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has gone with a simplified, living-room aesthetic; the overall look and feel is relaxed, with a wide, ornately grained wave of wood bridging the cabin. It's capped by a large LCD screen for secondary controls and adorned by a minimum of buttons and switches; gauges are lit in bright white. The shift control sits on the steering column, which frees the dash from the clutter that afflicts some competitive cars. Crawl around the interior or just take a glance inside, and it's not surprising that furniture designers were brought in to help style the interior.
Not always smoothly integrated, the S-Class' styling themes have aged well.