With Mercedes, there's nothing bigger than S-class launch

HAMBURG, Germany -- If you're going to unveil a flagship that will sell for nearly $100,000 in the United States, go big -- really big.

That's what Mercedes-Benz did for the debut of the 2014 S class here on Wednesday. The launch was staged in a customer delivery center used for the Airbus A380 -- a plane its creators modestly call the "queen of the skies."

No surprise Mercedes-Benz is calling the redesigned S-class sedan "the new queen of the road."

With members of the Hamburg symphony orchestra playing, a massive garage door opened. With the giant A380 parked in the background, a fleet of white Mercedes-Benz cars drove to the open door.

Fireworks went off, and there was a flash of lighting because thunderstorms had erupted.

A white and a gray S class drove on the stage and were greeted by Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche.

American R&B singer Alicia Keys emerged from the back seat of one of the S-class sedans and entertained the audience of 500-plus journalists.

There were odd parts of the presentation -- like the use of a tall blonde and beautiful German TV hostess as the mistress of ceremonies. Journalists from outside Germany had no idea who she was — my best guess was eye candy for the predominantly male audience. She bantered with Mercedes-Benz executives on the stage.

The message was clear as Zetsche and two Mercedes-Benz board members claimed numerous firsts in a luxury car -- such as dual camera technology to the four perfume scents that can waft through the interior.

The presentation was big, bold and expensive -- just like the S-class sedan that goes on sale in the United States in September.