The three-pointed star hood ornament was a signature feature on Mercedes cars a few years ago. Today, most modern-day Mercedes models are ditching the ornament due to safety reasons and the fact that the sporty trim models are usually the most popular ones, and the hood ornament does not fit the sporty looks.
However, you are still able to buy a few models with the hood ornament, primarily the ones with the top trim luxury “Elegance” or “Avantgarde” pack. The newly released S-class still offers a hood ornament, and the Maybach versions of the GLS and the S-class both offer dedicated Maybach hood ornaments.
Mercedes Classic, Elegance, and Avantgarde trim levels
Most Mercedes models can also be acquired through a pre-configured package that consists of many different options and features, such are the Classic, Elegance, and Avantgarde packs.
The Classic pack is the entry-level pack made for people that are not keen on spending much money when shopping for a new Mercedes. This pack consists of cloth seats, basic interior decorations, and a lower-quality trim steering wheel. The exterior usually doesn’t have any chrome and is mostly body-colored with a simple Mercedes badge on the front.
The Mercedes Elegance package is the mid-trim package option from Mercedes that is mostly aimed at incorporating most of the luxury essentials associated with a modern Mercedes. The seats are leather and so is the steering wheel. The Elegance pack also comes with better-looking wheels, chrome bits, and an option of a Mercedes hood ornament on models like the C-class.
The highest trim package for a modern-day Mercedes sedan like the C-class is the Avantgarde package. The Avantgarde package takes everything from the Elegance package and adds additional bits of pieces. It comes with an oversized Mercedes emblem on the grille, not a hood ornament.
The Mercedes S-class represents the highest level of luxury by Mercedes without stepping into the tailor-made Maybach department. The S-class comes with the hood ornament as the hood ornament perfectly fits the S-class as the highest level of Mercedes luxury and refinement.
The new S-class is set to cost around $110k for the entry-level S500, and the S500 AMG line will start at around $114k. The higher trim model is the S580 that is set to start at around $116k for the luxury line, and the AMG and Executive trim packages are priced around $120-131k.
The 2021 Mercedes S-class is one of the last models still offered with the hood ornament, as the new 2021 Mercedes E-class is ditching the hood ornament entirely.
Mercedes Maybach models
Maybach is the sub-brand from Mercedes aimed at making the finest, most luxurious Mercedes models money can buy. Currently, Maybach produces the top-of-the-line S-class Maybach which is a step even above the regular Mercedes S580 optioned out with the Executive package.
Maybach also offers the heavily upgraded Mercedes GLS Maybach version which is also way better equipped than even the highest optioned regular Mercedes GLS. Both of these are set to cost over the $200k mark.
These two Maybach models offer many features exclusive to the Maybach sub-brand. Bespoke two-tone paint jobs, upgraded leather and materials, new wheels, and more power. The appeal of such models is the ability for the owner to completely customize the vehicle, even the smallest details. Both the S-class and the GLS also come with bespoke Maybach hood ornaments.
Why is Mercedes ditching the hood ornament?
Mercedes thinks that some models, like the new E-class, will be more popular with the sporty AMG packages, and the hood ornament simply does not match the sporty appeal of an AMG package. Plus, Mercedes associates the hood ornament with older people, which is not what Mercedes wants when targeting a younger audience.
Furthermore, Mercedes wants to make the hood ornament scarcer, so it can be associated with only the highest trim models. Having a hood ornament on a C-class and an S-class certainly does lower the appeal of a hood ornament for an S-class owner.
Hood ornaments are also becoming somewhat of a safety concern, as they greatly impede the safety regulations associated with pedestrians. Also, the hood ornament is fairly popular with thieves as well, and some brands like Rolls Royce are spending vast amounts of R&D on anti-theft technologies.
Which other brands also have hood ornaments?
Mercedes is not the only one with a long-lasting tradition of putting stylish ornaments on the hood of a car. Rolls Royce has done this since the birth of the brand itself, and Rolls Royce calls it “The Spirit of Ecstasy.” The Spirit of Ecstasy can be optioned out in solid gold, silver, crystal, or whatever the customer wants.
The Spirit of Ecstasy is a synonym with the Rolls Royce badge, and RR cannot simply ditch it as easily as Mercedes does. The Spirit of Ecstasy has been on every RR model throughout history.
Brands like Bentley also offer hood ornaments that can be optioned out in crystal and various other upscale materials. Some brands like Lincoln, Jaguar, Cadillac, Pontiac, Dodge, Buick, or Plymouth previously included hood ornaments in some of their models, and a few still do to this day.
Which was the first Mercedes to get rid of the hood ornament?
Mercedes included the hood ornament from the beginning, and only in the 90s did the brand decide to opt for a model that came without the hood ornament from the factory. Ever since then, Merces has used the hood ornament less and less. It is expected that, in the future, only the S-class will include the hood ornament.
The first instance of ditching the hood ornament dates back to the W212 generation in 2009, which first introduced the star-in-grille design choice that comes with almost every model these days. Nowadays, this grille badge also houses the sensors for automatic cruise control and even some autonomous driving technologies.