DIANA T. KURYLKO

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

Automotive News | May 16, 2013 - 10:46 am EST

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.

The Hamburg symphony orchestra, an Airbus A380, luxury sedans and fireworks -- just another splash from Mercedes-Benz to introduce the new S class.

Photo credit: DIANA T. KURYLKO

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.

Diana T. Kurylko covers various U.S. import brands for Automotive News.Diana T. Kurylko covers various U.S. import brands for Automotive News.

PRINTED FROM: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130516/BLOG06/130519916&template=printart

Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.