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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2006-02-01 11:16

As in the preceding series, the new S-Class will introduce technical innovations that make the flagship Mercedes-Benz model an example for others to follow.

Pioneering safety features and exemplary comfort are once again the outstanding attributes of the S-Class. The new S-Class also sets standards with its agile handling, while offering an even more effortless driving experience thanks to new, more powerful engines. It is replacing a model series which is the world?s No. 1 in the luxury class, with around 500 000 units sold.

For more than five decades, the letter "S" in the model designation of Mercedes-Benz cars has signified intelligent technology and the highest quality. The new S-Class not only continues this tradition, but lends a new meaning to it.

A dozen technical innovations are entering production for the first time on-board the new S-Class - from Brake Assist PLUS with radar sensors to dynamic multicontour seats with an extended massage function, from night view assist with the latest infra-red technology to the new COMAND system, and from anticipatory PRE-SAFE occupant protection to the Active Body Control suspension system.

The new flagship model by Mercedes-Benz is larger than its predecessor in every respect. With a body length - 5 076mm - the S-Class is 33mm longer than the previous model. The wheelbase has also increased by 70 mm to 3 035mm. In addition, the body is now 16mm wider and 29mm higher. These new dimensions create the basis for an interior space that offers first-class comfort.


The running gear with its standard, improved air suspension system AIRMATIC, makes a major contribution to the high level of ride comfort in the new S-Class. Mercedes-Benz combines this with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), which continuously regulates the shock absorber characteristics and takes the road conditions, driving style and vehicle load into account. The system adapts the damping forces for each individual wheel to the current situation within 50 ms.

The ADS was further improved by means of digressive shock absorber characteristics. This provides a greater ratio between the compression and rebound damping forces, thereby contributing greatly to the agile handling characteristics of the saloon. Thanks to an improved calculation process, the system also detects the road surface conditions more precisely, and these are taken into account for adaptive control of the shock absorbers.

The "S/C/M" button in the centre console is another special feature of the new S-Class. This enables the driver to alter the characteristics of the saloon from "comfortable" to "sporty", and to adjust the suspension, vehicle level and transmission mode individually. From 120 km/h and in the sport mode, the suspension is automatically lowered by up to 20 mm to further improve handling, aerodynamics and fuel consumption.


The engines for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class are new or further developments that offer up to 26% more power and up to 15% more torque compared to the preceding series. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 9%.

The all-new 5.5-litre eight-cylinder will be premiered in the new S-Class and generates 285 kW making it one of the most powerful engines in its displacement class. Maximum torque is also significantly improved compared with the previous V8 engine; having increased to 530 N.m. and is available within a wide engine speed range between 2 800 and 4 800 r/min. As a result the eight-cylinder powerplant offers driving pleasure more typical of a sports car. The new S 500 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5,4 seconds (previous model: 6,3 seconds). Despite the 26% increase in output, the combined fuel consumption of 11,7 to 11,9 L/100 km remains the same as the preceding model.

The two six-cylinder engines for the new S-Class are likewise new developments. The S350 is powered by the 200 kW V6 engine, which delivers around 11% more output while saving one litre of fuel per 100 km. The combined fuel consumption is 10.1 to 10.3 litres per 100 km. The new S 350 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, and is therefore 0.3 seconds faster than its predecessor.

In the S320 CDI, the new 173kW V6 diesel engine supersedes the previous in-line six-cylinder unit, improving output by 15%. Maximum torque has increased from 500 to 540Nm and is available between 1 600 and 2 800 r/min.

This up-to-date direct-injection diesel unit is equipped with third-generation common-rail technology. Its advanced features include rapid and precise piezo-injectors, as well as a maximum injection pressure of up to 1 600 bar.

The V6 and V8 models in the new S-Class are equipped as standard with the 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission, which is unique worldwide. A further innovation is DIRECT SELECT, an attractively styled steering-column selector lever that can be gently nudged to operate the 7G-TRONIC.


Mercedes-Benz has improved well-proven safety systems such as Brake Assist and PRE-SAFE even further for the new S-Class. These high-tech innovations greatly help to prevent accidents, improve occupant protection and assist the driver.

The new Brake Assist PLUS system (BAS PLUS) 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, BAS 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.

Mercedes-Benz combines BAS PLUS with the equally unique PRE-SAFE occupant protection system, which offers even more safety functions on board the new S-Class.

PRE-SAFE recognises potential accident situations as they arise: if braking 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.

This combination of the new BAS PLUS system and PRE-SAFE is a further enhancement to occupant protection. Mercedes-Benz is the world?s first and only automotive brand with a comprehensive safety system of this kind, which goes into action as soon as an accident risk is detected.


BAS PLUS is available in combination with the further improved DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control system (avalible 2nd half 2006).

This radar-supported system operates at all speeds between zero and 200 km/h, and ensures greater driver convenience. In stop-and-go traffic DISTRONIC PLUS keeps the new S-Class at the desired distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically brakes the saloon to a standstill if necessary and accelerates it back to the programmed speed when the traffic starts moving again. In this way the assistance system reduces the driver?s workload and provides considerable benefits in driver-fitness safety.

The equipment package consisting of BAS PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS also includes park assist, which is based on radar technology. This system provides early warning of an impending collision when reversing.

Night view assist

With the innovative Night view assist system that premiers in the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has made a major contribution towards reducing the risk of accidents during the hours of darkness. This system is based on infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye and will therefore not dazzle oncoming traffic. Two infrared headlamps illuminate the road, significantly extending the driver?s range of vision when on low beam. An infrared camera mounted on the inside of the windscreen records the reflected image of the road ahead and displays this in the instrument cluster.


The bodyshell creates important conditions for the comfort, dynamism, durability and other major attributes of the new S-Class. The static torsional rigidity of the body - an indicator for safe and comfortable handling - has improved by around 12% compared to the previous S-Class.

Approximately half the bodyshell components are constructed of high strength, high-tech steel alloys, which offer maximum strength with minimum weight at an unprecedented level in car engineering. The bonnet, front fenders, boot lid and other components are made of aluminium.

The flagship Mercedes-Benz model is the world's first automobile to receive an environmental certification, which makes the S-Class. This environmental certification also makes the flagship Mercedes-Benz model an ecological trendsetter. Numerous high-quality renewable raw materials play an important role in the materials efficiency of the S-Class.

More than 27 components in the new S-Class with a combined weight of around 43kg are made from natural materials. Compared to the preceding model series, this is an increase of approximately 73% in the total weight of components made from renewable raw materials.


The key characteristic of the newly developed and proven control concept is rapid access to functions that are frequently used. The system is specifically designed for redundancy and depending on the preferred habits, the driver is able to control functions such as the radio, TV tuner, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system either using conventional switches, via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel or with the help of the COMAND system. The direct control switches in the centre console are ergonomically positioned enabling the driver to operate them easily.

The innovative "Cockpit Management and Data System" - COMAND for short - has also been redesigned and now offers even more features. In addition to the familiar telematic and audio units, various vehicle functions that previously required individual switches have now been integrated into the system.

The central operating unit is the new COMAND controller on the transmission tunnel. This is used to select the main and sub-menus with which the required functions are activated. The handrest can, additionally, be flipped up to reveal the telephone keypad.

The large, pivoting COMAND colour display is positioned at the same level as the instrument cluster and is more visible to the driver. 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.


Electrically adjustable 12-way front seats with lumbar support are fitted as standard. In addition, high-comfort heated seats with active ventilation are also standard. Dynamic multicontour seats (front) are also available as an optional extra.

Mercedes-Benz has improved this multicontour technology even further. The seats are equipped with 11 air chambers that enable the seat contours to be individually adjusted. New piezo valves on the air chambers operate much more rapidly than the previous technology, noticeably improving the dynamic response function of the multicontour seat.

Depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and road speed, the the inflation pressure and volume of the air chambers in the sides of the backrests are varied within fractions of a second, providing the driver and front passenger with even better lateral support.

The dynamic multicontour seat is also equipped with separate air chambers in the backrest that are successively inflated and deflated in a programmed sequence. Passengers in the new S-Class can therefore enjoy a gentle back massage that stimulates the back muscles, assists blood circulation and helps to prevent fatigue.

Product and customer information can be sourced from: www.mercedes-benz.co.za


Driver's lucky escape

2013-09-03 07:42

Inside Wheels24

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