The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be appearing in the showrooms of company-owned outlets and authorised dealerships as of spring 2006.
As in the preceding series, the new S-Class will introduce technical innovations which make the flagship Mercedes model an example for others to follow.
Pioneering safety features and exemplary comfort continue to be the outstanding attributes of the S-Class. The new saloon also sets standards in driving dynamics with its agile handling, while offering even more driving pleasure with new, more powerful engines. The new S-Class is replacing a model series which is the world no. 1 in the luxury class, and of which around 485,000 have been produced since 1998.
For more than five decades, the letter ‘S’ in the model designation of Mercedes cars has signified a special aura, intelligent technology and the highest quality. The new S-Class not only continues this tradition, but lends a new meaning to it. It is a technological pacemaker with its pioneering innovations for more safety, comfort and practicality, and like its predecessors it will influence the automotive development of the future. The saloon exudes this poise and assurance even at first glance. Its design emphasises the confident, powerful and elegant character of the new S-Class, which makes every journey an experience.
Achieving even more technological highlights was a challenge for the engineers in Stuttgart and Sindelfingen, for the bar was set very high: the previous S-Class, which had been repeatedly voted the ‘Best Car in the World’ since its presentation in 1998, was a hard act to follow. The progress Mercedes-Benz has made with the new saloon is based on this already high level. A dozen technical innovations are entering series production for the first time on board the new S-Class – from Brake Assist PLUS with radar sensors to seats with an extended massage function, from the night view assist system with the latest infra-red technology to the new COMAND system, and from preventive PRE-SAFE® occupant protection with additional functions to Parking Assist.
In the field of vehicle safety, Mercedes-Benz is redoubling its commitment to accident prevention with the introduction of Brake Assist PLUS. This system registers vehicles ahead by radar and gives a warning if the gap is too small or the closing speed is too high. If a collision threatens, Brake Assist PLUS calculates the ideal braking assistance in fractions of a second and makes this available immediately – even if the driver applies too little pressure to the brake pedal. This significantly reduces the incidence of rear-end collisions. The adaptive brake light, which warns following traffic by flashing during emergency braking, also makes a major contribution.
Mercedes-Benz combines Brake Assist PLUS with the equally unique occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, which offers even more safety functions on board the new S-Class. PRE-SAFE® recognises potential accident situations as they arise: if deceleration exceeds a certain level or a skid is imminent, the system tensions the front seat belts as a precaution and inflates air cushions in the multicontour seats to envelop and support the driver, front passenger and rear seat occupants. For the first time Mercedes-Benz has also integrated the side windows into this preventive protection system; they are automatically closed when an accident threatens.
This combination of the new Brake Assist PLUS system and PRE-SAFE® is a further enhancement to occupant protection. Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first and only vehicle brand with a comprehensive safety system of this kind, which already goes into action before an impending accident.
Brake Assist PLUS is available in combination with the likewise improved proximity control system DISTRONIC PLUS. This radar-supported system now operates at all speeds between zero and 125 mph (where conditions allow), and ensures even greater driver comfort. In stop-and-go traffic DISTRONIC PLUS keeps the new S-Class at the right distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically brakes the saloon to a standstill if necessary and accelerates it back to the required speed when the traffic starts moving again. In this way the support system reduces the driver’s workload and provides considerable benefits in driver-fitness safety.
The equipment package with Brake Assist PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS also includes a new Parking Assist system which likewise uses radar sensors. These have a longer range than ultrasonic signals, therefore the driver receives earlier warning of an impending collision when reversing into a parking space.
With the innovative night view assist system which is premiered in the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has made a further, major contribution to reducing the risk of accidents during the hours of darkness. This system is based on infra-red light, which is invisible to the human eye and will therefore not dazzle oncoming traffic. Two infra-red headlamps illuminate the road, extending the driver’s range of vision to more than 150 metres when on low beam. Night view assist therefore makes pedestrians, cyclists, parked cars and other obstacles visible much sooner than with headlights alone. An infra-red camera mounted on the inside of the windscreen records the reflected image of the road ahead and displays this in the instrument cluster.
The new flagship model by Mercedes-Benz is larger than its predecessor in every respect. There is a choice of two body lengths — 5076 or 5206 mm – which is 33 and 43 mm, respectively, more than the previous S-Class. The wheelbase has increased by 70/80 mm to 3035 and 3165 mm, respectively. The body is also 16 mm wider and 29 mm higher than before.
These new dimensions create the conditions for an interior concept which provides every single passenger with first-class comfort. Interior parameters such as shoulder-room and elbow-room have increased by up to 39 mm, while headroom has again improved by up to 5 mm. Rear seat passengers in the long-wheelbase version benefit from a greater distance between the seats (+10 mm) and more knee-room (+11 mm) compared to the preceding series. The capacity of the boot has increased by 60 litres to 560 litres (VDA measuring method).
Luxurious exotic wood and chrome trim, attractively contoured controls in aluminium and carefully coordinated colours characterise the atmosphere in the interior, producing an immediate feeling of wellbeing. The dashboard with its sophisticated, sweeping lines is yet another masterpiece by Mercedes designers, for whom form and function are ideals which share equal status. Accordingly the cockpit not only conveys a feeling of safety, but is also extraordinarily well laid-out and practical – from the very first moment, man and vehicle enter into a harmonious relationship in the new S-Class.
That is also assured by the newly developed and thoroughly tested operating concept. This is based on findings from extensive ergonomic and perceptive psychology studies, and also takes into account the results of acceptance tests with Mercedes customers around the world.
The major characteristic of the intelligent operating concept in the new S-Class is rapid access to functions which are used particularly frequently. The system is therefore specifically designed for redundancy: depending on preferred habits, the driver is able to control functions such as the radio, TV-receiver, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system either using conventional switches, via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel or with the help of the improved COMAND system. The direct-selection switches in the centre console are so ergonomically positioned that the driver is able to operate them conveniently and without looking down. It is also possible to operate the standard automatic climate control system in two different ways: via COMAND or using an attractively styled array of switches beneath the air vents.
The steering wheel and instrument cluster are the primary areas in the new operat
ing concept. These integrate all the important information and functions required by the driver. The centrepiece is a colour screen with the latest display technology for a bright, crystal-clear image. The lower edge of the cockpit display has a plain-text array with which up to seven main menus for individual settings, display modes and operating functions can be controlled, depending on the level of equipment. For rapid selection of these functions Mercedes-Benz has developed the controls on the standard multifunction steering wheel further, using circular, illuminated five-way buttons which the driver operates by light thumb pressure.
Another new feature which improves operating convenience and allows a modern cockpit design is DIRECT SELECT – electronic control of the standard 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission by nudging an attractively styled lever on the right of the steering column. Thanks to this technology, Mercedes engineers were able to dispense with the usual selector lever on the centre console and redesign the tunnel covering.
The innovative “Cockpit Management and Data System” — COMAND for short – has likewise been redesigned and now offers even more features. In addition to the familiar telematics and audio units, various vehicle functions which previously required individual switches have now been integrated into the system. The central operating unit is the new COMAND controller on the transmission tunnel. It is used to select the main and sub-menus with which the required functions are activated. If a car phone is fitted ex factory, the padded handrest behind the controller can be flipped up to reveal the telephone keypad.
The large COMAND colour display is positioned at the same height as the instrument cluster, and therefore even more favourably within the field of vision of the driver and front passenger. A new operating concept, up-to-date colours and clear, photo-quality graphics also make the menu selection procedure a gratifying visual experience.
The COMAND system in the new S-Class includes a radio, CD/DVD player and a port for computer memory cards (PCMCIA cards) as standard. Fitted as standard to all UK specification S-Class will be the latest generation of COMAND with a Europe-wide navigation system. This latest version stores the mapping data on a hard drive, allowing even faster route calculation than before.
Mercedes customers are able to adapt the newly developed seats in the new S-Class to suit their personal comfort requirements. Electrically adjustable, 16-way front seats with lumbar supports are standard equipment. There is also an optional choice of luxury seats with heating and ventilation, multicontour seats (front and rear) and dynamic multicontour seats (front) whose squab and backrest contours adapt to the relevant driving situation to provide the best possible lateral support at all times.
The dynamic multicontour seat is also equipped with separate air chambers in the backrest which are successively inflated and deflated at the touch of a button, massaging the back muscles for the well-being of its occupant. The intensity and speed of the massage function can be adjusted in four stages by means of the COMAND system.
The suspension with its standard, improved AIRMATIC air suspension system also makes a major contribution to the excellent ride comfort in the new S-Class. At the touch of a button the driver is able to choose between a comfort-oriented or more sporty configuration. Beyond 75 mph and in Sport mode, the suspension is automatically lowered by up to 20 mm to improve the handling dynamics, aerodynamics and fuel consumption even further.
The Active Body Control suspension system (optional, standard equipment in the S 600) is a further milestone in suspension engineering which has been improved even further for the new S-Class.
The newly developed braking system ADAPTIVE BRAKE has additional functions which for example assist the driver when moving off on gradients and shorten braking distances in the wet. The parking brake is electrically assisted for the first time – the brake is applied merely by pressing a button, and is released automatically when the car moves off.
New S-Class will launch in the UK with four engines – three petrol and one diesel – three of which are new developments by Mercedes-Benz. They generate up to 26 per cent more power and up to 15 per cent more torque. In addition to the 3.5-litre V6 engine with 272 hp (first seen in the SLK-Class), a new eight-cylinder unit developing 388 hp and a muscular 530 Nm of torque from 2800 rpm upwards will already be available. This new V8 will accelerate the S 500 from standstill to 62.5 mph in just 5.4 seconds.
Also available from launch will be the new V6 CDI engine, which has a particulate filter as standard. This direct-injection unit has an output of 231 hp and generates a maximum torque of 540 Nm from 1600 rpm. This means that the new S 320 CDI betters the preceding model by 13 per cent in output and eight per cent in torque.
The output of the 12-cylinder engine in the top-of-the-range S 600 has increased to 517 hp, while torque has increased by just under four per cent to a remarkable 830 Nm from 1900 rpm.
As standard equipment, the V6 and V8 engines for the new S-Class are combined with the unique seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC.