( I was unaware of the existence of the S PULLMAN ).
The limousine, the king and his poor subjects
February 21 2005 at 06:43PM
By Melanie-Ann Feris
Swaziland's King Mswati III - sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch
- bought the car, worth about R1,8-million, at a time when more than 65
percent of Swaziland's 1,2-million inhabitants live on less than R6 a day.
About 200 000 people depend on food handouts to survive.
Mswati is the first person in Africa to own the new Mercedes S-Class
Pullman, a six-door limousine.
The limo may be his pride and joy but when he showed it off for the
first time on Friday, his bodyguards did their best to stop
photographers from taking pictures.
His luxury fleet already includes a R3-million Maybach 62 sedan from
Daimler Chrysler - its features include a television receiver, DVD
player, 21-speaker surround-sound system, refrigerator, cordless
telephone, heated steering wheel, interior pollen and dust filter, golf
bag and sterling silver Champagne flutes.
Just a few days ago, Mswati spent about R5-million on 10 new BMWs for
his wives, to replace their old fleet.
On Friday at the official opening of the second session of the eighth
parliament, the king arrived in the Pullman.
Normally the media is allowed to take photographs of the king at
functions, but, somewhat surprisingly this time, the media was told not
to take pictures.
While reporters expected to witness the king's arrival in the Maybach
62, itself the talk of town, the monarch instead pulled up in a classic
Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman.
"The king's latest acquisition has been kept as a top secret within the
royal family following the criticism he received after buying the
luxurious Maybach 62," the Times said.
In his speech in parliament, Mswati urged the nation to join hands to
fight poverty, which he said had reached alarmingly high levels.
The 36-year-old king frequently hits the headlines with stories of the
lavish lifestyles he, his 11 wives and two teenage fiancées lead.
He is also building 10 new palaces for his wives at a cost of about
The government owes suppliers more than R144-million and the country's
budget deficit stands at about R780-million.
Mswati was forced to shelve plans three years ago to spend R270-million
on a new royal jet, but has shown little inclination to rein in other
royal spending projects, which include the building of palaces for his
growing retinue of wives.
The S-Class Pullman is regarded as the ultimate luxury limousine. So
specialized is the vehicle that South African dealers are unable to
quote a price on it.
Earlier versions of the Mercedes Pullman limousines were specially
commissioned in 1969 and 1971 by Hugh Hefner of Playboy magazine.
Pullman has a long-standing tradition of luxurious comfort on wheels.
The suffix "Pullman" alone is enough to give away the noble character of
the new limousine: in the mid-19th century, the American industrialist
George Mortimer Pullman from Chicago in the state of Illinois made a
name for himself by building lavishly equipped train carriages.
Ever since then, the name has been synonymous with maximum comfort on
wheels - even as early as 1928, the highly regarded German publication
Kraftfahrer und Kraftfahrzeug (Motorist and Motor Vehicle) defined the
Pullman limousine as a "large, comfortable and prestigious limousine
with a partition between the driver's seat and the passenger compartment".
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Pullman lives up to this description right
down to the finest detail.
The driver of this vehicle is pampered by such standard innovations as a
specialized navigation system, multifunction steering wheel,
electrically adjustable seat with lumbar support, speed-sensitive power
steering and xenon headlamps.
Rear features include an intercom for communicating with the driver, a
bar with chilled compartment for drinks and glasses, desks, top-quality
sound system and a media console with integral monitors, DVD player and
a television set.
Nothing is the way it is because that's the way it has to be.
1 HP = 745.69987158227022 Watts
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