Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hit With The Boring Stick














So yesterday, I pulled up next to the new Mercedes S-Class, which is totally re-designed for the 2007 model year. This was the first one I've seen in person. Back in the Eighties, the S-Class was my favorite car; a beautiful tank of a vehicle, with fine, long lines and nice un-fussy details, the sedan was an instant classic, recognizable from a hundred yards. There was nothing on the road like it.

There still isn't. The new S-Class looks like a Toyota. A very large Toyota, but a Toyota nonetheless. Think of it as a 4270 pound Camry.

You wouldn't even notice the thing if it weren't for this large size. In my case, what first caught my eye was the ridiculous wheel arches, flares of sheet metal that bulge outward in clumsy, clunky half-circles. They remind me of the idiots who used to ruin their vintage S's with silly chrome arches around the wheels. Now, Mercedes does the tack-ons for you. The British have a word. Chav. The new S-Class is chav.

It's an ugly amalgam of random lines going off in different directions, as if two designers got into a fight at the easel. Or I should say at the CAD station, since like so many modern cars, this one stinks of computer design. Just look at the long and pointless flare along the rocker, the strangely hipped line from around the taillights that swings across the rear, the afterthought grill, and the confusion of angles at the front wheel arch, where the disparate designs try and fail to come together. But most of all those silly wheel flares. There is something unredeemably "Dodge" about them.

I'm sure that this new flagship car is a technological tour-de-force, loaded with gadgets that will completely isolate you from the actual experience of driving. For the safety features alone, the car is undoubtedly exceptional. But I can't shake the feeling that if I was rich, truly rich, I'd take my money and spend it on finding the most pristine late-eighties 560SEL on the road. With the money I would save, covering the repairs should be no problem.

1 Comments:

Anonymous PassatDoc said...

They similarly murdered the Passat. The 98-05 models were so much fun to drive, whether sedan or wagon. The 06 model looks like it's trying to be a Japanese import. I test drove one and there is no relation to the sporty feel of the previous models. No wonder they're not flying off the lots like their predecessor models.

6:30 AM  

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