The other really smart thing it has are dual-purpose steering-wheel paddles. You can choose to use them to change gear as usual, or you can use them to set the amount of regenerative braking you want. There are three settings: the default mode offers a small, fairly unobtrusive amount of regen, but pull the right- hand paddle and it disappears almost entirely.
Pull the left-hand one, however, and there’s so much regen you barely ever need to use the brake pedal. I quite like that, along with watching the electric range meter tick up during long downhill sections, but others will not. There’s also a whole new world waiting for me to investigate via the Mercedes Me app. When I’ve registered, I’ll be able to find the car, lock the car, start the car, pre- condition the cabin of the car and upload destinations to the car all from the comfort of my own sofa, or perhaps someone else’s.
Apparently, I’ll also be able to park it remotely. I do wonder whether this will prove a genuinely useful and valued benefit to the ownership experience, or whether I’ll discover it’s just another one of those gimmicks that seems curiously beguiling when you read about it and is used once for fun, then forgotten about forever after. But I look forward to finding out.
There’s a great deal to like in the new S-Classes I’ve driven (this particular grey example I haven’t yet managed), but I’m particularly taken with the way they drive. For a big car packed with tech, adding weight and complexity, the S is, for me, still the standout car in this class to drive.
Mercedes S-Class S580e specification
Specs: Price New £113,880 Price as tested £113,880 Options
Test Data: Engine 2999cc straight-six petrol, 28.6kWh battery, single e-motor Power 510bhp at 5000rpm Torque 723lb ft at 2400rpm Kerb weight 2385kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 5.2sec Fuel economy 54.3mpg, 62-mile electric range CO2 18g/km Faults None Expenses None