20/02/2014 14:54:26

As the first chauffeur company in the South West to take delivery of the new Mercedes S-Class we can confidently say that it lives up to its promise – this is by some measure the best car in the world.

It is, however, just the latest in a long line of variants that deserves this accolade. Each new S-Class managed to introduce innovative technologies never seen before in automotive engineering - many of the features we take for granted in today’s cars were originally introduced courtesy of the S-Class. As many of our clients are self-confessed petrol heads we’d like to take this opportunity to list some of the game changing moments in the history of the S-Class.

S-Class series 116 1972-1980

The very first S-Class, introduced in 1972. The first luxury class saloon with a diesel engine and the first series-production saloon with a turbo-diesel engine. Other innovations included Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) plus cruise control and hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension

S-Class series 126 1979-1991

Featuring a bodyshell structure with forked members, it was the world’s first series-production car to fulfil the criterion of the asymmetric head-on collision. Plus it included closed-loop catalytic converter, driver airbag and belt tensioner for front passenger and Acceleration Skid Control ASR.

S-Class series 140 1991-1998

Introduced power folding exterior mirrors, side bags for driver and front passenger, as well as Adaptive Damping System ADS. Also featured Electronic Stability Program ESP, BAS Brake Assist, PARKTRONIC electronic parking aid, APS Auto-Pilot-System navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system and Xenon headlamps with dynamic headlamp range adjustment.

S-Class series 220 1998-2005

Introduced the world to 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with electronic control, AIRMATIC air suspension with electronically controlled Adaptive Damping System and Active Body Control (ABC) suspension. Also featured automatic headlamp mode, eight airbags including window bags and side bags in the rear, ventilated seats, multi-zone automatic climate control, DISOTRONIC proximity control, KEYLESS GO access and drive authorisation system and PRE-SAFE preventive occupant protection system and automatic child seat recognition.

S-Class series 221 2005-2013

The first car with an Environmental Certificate, Active Body Control (ABC) suspension with crosswind stabilisation, ADAPTIVE BRAKE braking system and adaptive brake lights. Also featured PRE-SAFE brake with autonomous partial braking and autonomous emergency braking, Parking Assist, Active Night View Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist and Adaptive High Beam Assist. It was also the first luxury-class car with hybrid drive and a lithium-ion battery.

And today - the new S-Class

The latest iteration of the S-Class continues the pioneering tradition by notching up a host of fresh firsts.

  • Revolutionary autonomous driving features. Self-guided cars still the stuff of science fiction but the new S-Class is getting close. Its anticipatory safety system will detect pedestrians and initiate autonomous braking at speeds up to 31 mph, but it also has a thermal-imaging camera that can detect pedestrians and animals from long distances in the dark. It will automatically flash the headlights at humans to alert them, but not at animals (engineers say the reaction of animals to light is unpredictable). It also offers a self-driving feature that allows it to creep through stop-and-go traffic and even follow other cars through detours without driver assistance. At highway speeds, driver-assist systems will keep the car in its lane and even follow gradual curves without hands on the wheel – for about 10 seconds.
  • First car without conventional light bulbs. Light-emitting diodes are used for all exterior and interior lighting: up to 56 in headlamps, up to 35 in tail lights and about 300 in the cabin. LEDs save energy and offer more design flexibility and colour options. The S-Class interior can be illuminated in as many as seven different colours, providing dramatically different effects.
  • First anticipatory suspension. Boldly titled “Magic Body Control,” the S-Class offers a suspension option that uses stereo cameras to detect irregularities in the road ahead. The cameras send data to the car’s adaptive suspension system, which in turn reacts within fractions of a second to anticipate and adjust for upcoming bumps.
  • First perfuming system. The industry’s first built-in perfuming feature that uses the climate-control system to disperse four different fragrances to suit your mood.
  • First hot-stone massage. An in-seat massage system uses 14 separately actuated air cushions to knead sore back muscles more vigorously than current mechanical systems. Plus, air bladders in the middle of the seat are equipped with heating elements that can deliver a sensation that mimics hot stones being placed on your back.

The future is now – experience it for yourself

We just love driving the new S-Class – especially when we get the chance to show off the innovative technology to those who have never experienced anything quite like it before. The car is sensational, in the broadest sense of the word. You have to travel in it to fully appreciate it.

20/02/2014 14:45:11

Six family firms that have gone on (and on) to make history

Running any business is challenging, but family firms (which account for about 66% of the UK’s SMEs) can be especially awkward - discussions around a boardroom table are a lot more difficult when you know you’ll be seeing each other around the dinner table. If you doubt this just watch a rerun of “Dallas”, or listen to a few episodes of The Archers! And the statistics bear this out - only around a third of family firms tend to be passed onto the second generation and one tenth reach the third generation, the rest being either sold or closed down.

Despite this some family businesses manage to defy the discord and go on for generations. In this post we salute six that have continued to keep things going for hundreds and hundreds of years.

RJ Balson & Son - Butcher - Established 1515

Records show Robert Balson rented a market stall in 1515 in Bridport’s "Shambles" (an open-air abattoir and meat market) while Henry VIII was still married to his first wife.

Robert’s descendants continued to rent the stall, even surviving an outbreak of bubonic plague that swept through the town in the 17th century. In straight laced Victorian times the butcher Robert Balson caused a scandal by living with a married woman and her son Tom, tragically coming to a sticky end when the boy pretended to shoot him with a gun they both thought was unloaded.

The business is now run from a small shop by Richard's great-great-grandson Richard Balson. Richard’s son works as an accountant so is Britain’s oldest family business nearing its end?

R Durtnell & Sons - Construction - Established 1591

In the reign of Elizabeth I the Durtnell's were carpenter builders. In the early 1800’s Richard Durtnell made a crucial decision to bring together all the craftspeople he needed in one yard to become one of the first general builders.

It has now been handed down from father to son as a private company for 13 generations making it by far the oldest building contractor in Britain.

C Hoare & Co - Bank - Established 1672

Founder Sir Richard Hoare began trading as a goldsmith and banker in the reign of Charles II. His clients included diarist Samuel Pepys and the king’s widow, Catherine of Braganza.

The bank's headquarters in Fleet Street were built in 1829, where they issued cheque books and "washing books" or early bank statements. During the blitz staff had to use water from the bank's well to extinguish the flames of the fire.

The tenth and eleventh generations of the Hoare family run the bank today and introducing online banking in 2008.

Mornflake - Miller - Established 1675

William Lea started milling oats at Swettenham Mill in 1675 in Cheshire and 15 generations later the company is still trading. During the rationing of World War II then-owner Philip Lea was ordered by the Ministry of Food to leave the RAF and return home to Britain to "feed the nation". To cope with rising demand a new mill and factory was built - one of the few construction projects not involving munitions to get the go-ahead during World War II.

James Lock & Co - Hatters - Established 1676

Following the great plague of 1665 and the great fire of 1666, wealthy residents from the City of London moved to the west of the city in search of clean air and Mr Lock was quick to spot an opportunity, opening a shop close to St James Palace. Customers included Admiral Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin, but its most famous product was the very first bowler hat in 1850.

As well as holding Royal warrants to supply hats to the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, its hats have also been worn by Hollywood film stars and rappers.

Toye, Kenning & Spencer - Medals and regalia – Established 1685

Using traditional techniques, the company makes insignia and regalia, such as the ribbons and medals presented to OBEs and CBEs, and have even helped renovate state chairs for the Kremlin.

In the 1850s they made uniforms for troops serving in the Crimea - bright red coats with detailed trimmings so they could be seen by their battalions amidst the smoke of battle.

By the 1860s the company had also spotted opportunities for making silk trimming for working men's groups like friendly societies and the Freemasons. The company also embroidered four ornate banners for Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953.

Your legacy – will it make history?

So if you have a business you are intending to keep in the family, with the idea of creating a dynasty that will last for hundreds of years, you have a few generations to go before you’ll be setting any records!

20/02/2014 14:42:52

Sybaris now offers superfast 4G Wi-Fi

Attention to detail is one of the things that set Sybaris apart from the rest – we do everything possible to ensure that our passengers have everything they need to work efficiently and relax effortlessly. We’ve recently installed Vodafone’s ultrafast mobile broadband in most of our fleet to give passengers fast, free and secure Wi-Fi access to the Internet.

4G network coverage

Vodafone has invested £7 billion in ‘Project Spring’ which aims to extend their 4G network coverage across 18 countries including the UK. Our mobile Wi-Fi will utilise this nationwide network providing 3G coverage where 4G is not yet available, allowing Sybaris passengers one of the fastest in car Wi-Fi connections available – even if they don’t have a 4G ready device.

Download content

The benefits of using our free Wi-Fi include being able to quickly download large email attachments or data files without eroding your data allowance. Using mobile data, such as 3G or 4G, rapidly uses power too, whereas connecting via Wi-Fi requires less power.

Whether for work or for leisure we are becoming increasingly reliant on having access to the web and we believe that our new 4G Wi-Fi will be extremely popular with passengers.

16/12/2013 13:01:55

Sybaris is one of the first chauffeur companies in the UK to take delivery of the brand new model Mercedes S Class and to say we are impressed with it would be an understatement.

Like Mercedes we like to set the standard by which others are judged – that’s why we were so keen to be first with this exceptional vehicle. The car has been voted best in its class by the motoring press (even compared to Rolls Royce and Bentley in some cases) and it takes comfort to a whole new level. The interior seems to have been created by an aircraft designer and you feel like you are flying in the world’s most pampered business class. Do our passengers love it? Within 10 days it had already done 3,000 miles!

Customised with the business traveller in mind

It’s possible to customise the car and we’ve added a load of additional features specifically to give our business clients everything they need to work efficiently and relax effortlessly. Passengers have airline style tables that fold out across their lap, enabling them to spread out papers, write in comfort or work on a laptop without resting it on their knees which makes a huge difference.

The seats will fully recline and a foot rest comes up so you can virtually turn it into a bed. It has a goose down filled pillow as part of the headrest and integral seat massagers - the hot stone massage setting has been proving very popular!

The list of features is endless but the message is simple – this is the ultimate business vehicle for senior directors who have to make long journeys. Already we’ve taken people up to Gleneagles and back and we have clients who make regular trips to Manchester, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

Helps busy executives make the most of their valuable time

If you are a busy executive a lot of destinations are hard to reach by train – you might have to change trains, the timetable is probably inconvenient, and you don’t have the privacy you need to work on confidential matters or talk freely. You could drive yourself, but then you can’t read and write, and there’s certainly no sleeping on the way back!

Meetings and trips to and from airports are the obvious situations where a chauffeur is invaluable. However, our clients call on us for a variety of different reasons – for example, they might take the train to London in the morning for a meeting, stay for dinner, and we take them home that night.

Sybaris sets the standard

As we have already said Sybaris like to set the standard by which others are judged. All of our cars are immaculately maintained and our drivers professional, well presented, courteous and reliable. We believe our attention to detail helps set us apart, like the fact we fit all our vehicles with winter tyres at this time of year for extra safety. We do our utmost to think of everything that will help enhance our passengers’ experience; from phone chargers to live traffic information and from complimentary mineral water, mints and light snacks to a remote control that allows them to listen to the radio station or music of their choice. We are very serious about being better and the addition of the new S class exemplifies our commitment to excellence and to developing an outstanding chauffeur service.

If you would like to experience this fabulous new car, please call 0800 311 8938 or email your requirements to info@sybarischauffeurs.com

16/12/2013 12:59:25

Over the past few winters the UK has experienced some extreme weather conditions including severe cold and heavy snow. Sybaris keeps a watchful eye on weather conditions and takes the necessary precautions to ensure safe and uninterrupted service to our customers. So at this time of year, we fit winter tyres to our fleet of vehicles.

Why fit winter tyres?

Winter tyres are engineered specifically to improve safety and increase control when driving in cold weather conditions - especially in snow or ice. They work by increasing road traction and improving road grip for accelerating, cornering and braking – delivering significantly reduced braking distances. Fitting winter tyres helps ensure that whatever the weather we will be ready, and able, to transport you safely to your destination while you relax and enjoy the journey in the warmth and comfort of one of our sumptuous Mercedes cars.

How they work (the technical bit)

Winter tyres are made using a softer rubber compound and have deeper tread grooves than summer tyres. The surface of the tread blocks is covered with hundreds of little jagged slits called sipes which are key to achieving improved grip on wet or ice-covered surfaces. Snow that gathers in the tread grooves also helps with grip on loose snow as snow clings to snow. The extra deep tread grooves also help the tyres disperse surface water thus increasing resistance to aquaplaning.

In safe hands

In the depths of the bad weather of the last two winters Sybaris Chauffeurs was able to reach places that others couldn’t simply because our vehicles and drivers were properly prepared and safely equipped to make the journey. We do everything possible to ensure the comfort, convenience and safety of our passengers at all times - whatever the weather. We are one of only a handful of companies outside London to have been awarded a 5 star company membership of the Licenced Private Hire Car Association an organization that seeks to promote high levels of service, safety and standards. So next time you are concerned about making a journey in wet, cold or snowy conditions call Sybaris - you couldn’t be in safer hands.