As the reviewer from Car & Driver pointed out, the new S-class has features you never knew you needed, like two gear ratios for reverse, a hot stone massage setting for the rear seats, and high-strength air conditioning specially for North American customers. The price of leadership is steep -- just short of six figures. But then thinking ahead for its customers is what keeps Mercedes at the head of the prestige pack: Sales of the outgoing model were actually higher during the past six months than they were in 2012.
The carmaker's engineering prowess couldn't insulate it from economic upheaval, earthquake, and flood. Now Honda is learning to prize broader business skills.