If you're ready to invest $1 million for your next car, this may be the way to go. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Pullman will have three rows and cost as much as double the top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce, setting it up to become the world’s most expensive sedan when it goes on sale next year.
Priced at about $1 million with armor plating, Bloomberg News says the vehicle will be reminiscent of past Mercedes models owned by the likes of John Lennon, designer Coco Chanel and former Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos. The four rear seats will face each other and be separated from a front chauffeur compartment by a partition window to guarantee discretion, according to a person familiar with details of the brand’s strategy.
With the new top-end S-Class, “they are trying to evoke the very famous old 600 Pullman that was used by people from dictators to John Lennon,” said Tim Urquhart, a London-based analyst with IHS. “They want to show that Mercedes still stands for an absolute elite, luxury and opulence. There’s symbolic value to this kind of car.”
Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche is counting on the S-Class to advance his goal of overtaking BMW and Audi in profit and deliveries by the end of the decade. The executive reviewed at least a dozen versions of the design and tested the car in Germany's Black Forest, South Africa, Sweded and the U.S. to find the right balance between comfort and handling.
We set out with the ambition to build the best car in the world,” Zetsche said in an interview yesterday while driving through the rolling countryside of Italy's Tuscany region where Mercedes is showing the S-Class coupe to the press. “It’s great when you hit that first bend and realize that this is a level the competition can’t reach,” said the CEO, who cleared the S-Class for sale only after his 12th test drive.
The 126,000-euro ($172,000) S-Class coupe, which will compete with the likes of the Bentley Continental GT, goes on sale in October in the U.S. The coupe includes flourishes such as optional LED headlights featuring a total of 94 Swarovski crystals and a rear-view camera that swings out from the Mercedes star in the back. It’s the line’s third model after the base version and an extended wheelbase variant both hit the market last year.
“With the S-Class, we’re offering a package of technologies that nobody can compete with and a quality that expresses the highest exclusivity,” said Zetsche, who approved the car after a final drive in the Swabian Alps in spring 2012. The route included slopes and curves and rough roads to test the suspension and noise levels. About 800 developers were involved in the project.
S-Class deliveries are forecast to surge 63 percent to 98,600 vehicles this year, beating the combined total of 88,100 for BMW’s 7-Series and Audi’s A8, according to IHS Automotive.