Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get average or better mpg, have average or better reliability, good crash-test ratings, and our experts' recommendations.
By Paul Lienert
The Detroit News
October 14, 1998
Here in the wine country of Styria, it's late September and the weather is balmy, the sky free of clouds and brilliant blue. The air is so clear, you easily can see the mountains in nearby Slovenia. The Austrians call this pleasant autumnal
weather alt weiber summer - "old woman" summer - supposedly because the gossamer spider webs spun at this time of year resemble fine strands of silver hair. You can stop at a roadside shack and buy hot chestnuts, fresh roasted pumpkin seeds and
the first pressings of young wine from the local vineyards on Wein Strasse (Wine Street). I can think of few more picturesque places to drive the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S class, the flagship of the German automaker's line. On this trek, I share
driving chores with my Hamburg colleague, Joachim Staat, an editor with Auto Bild, Europe's largest weekly automotive publication. Staat is good enough to explain everything from the local colloquialisms to the inner workings of the Mercedes,
which won't reach U.S. dealerships until spring. He's been fiddling all morning with the controls on the fancy audio/navigation system on our S430, trying to make the radio work. "I think we've broken it," he finally says in frustration. No matter. There
are plenty of other gizmos and gadgets to keep you occupied in the S class. They include: * Distronic intelligent autonomous cruise control, which automatically keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. * Airmatic
adaptive intelligent ride control, which combines air suspension with adaptive shocks that automatically adjust to road conditions, payload and the driver's own operating characteristics. * Keyless Go system on a pocket-size "smart" card that
requires no key to automatically unlock the driver's door and start the car. * Command cockpit management and data system, which combines radio, CD changer, cellular phone and onboard navigation system, and includes a color display in the center
console and multi-function buttons on the steering wheel. A Tele-Aid emergency call system also is included. * Dynaps dynamic auto pilot system that takes traffic jams into account when programming a vehicle route via the satellite navigation
system. There are, of course, loads more goodies on the S class, including heated power seats with active ventilation (there's a fan inside) and "magic fingers" that can massage a tired spine and back muscles. Even without all that
whiz-bang technology, the S class would be noteworthy in one other respect: It is one of the safest production cars in the world. Standard features include no less than eight air bags. There are frontal bags for driver and passenger, and the
passenger bag automatically adjusts for vehicle speed and impact severity, and includes a child-seat detector. There are also side-impact bags in each of the four doors, and window bags that extend nearly the entire length of the cab
in to protect occupants' heads. In addition, the S class employs the usual array of sophisticated electronic equipment to keep the vehicle as stable and secure as possible, including anti-lock brakes with automatic assist, and an electronic
stability program to keep the rear wheels from sliding or "fishtailing" on slippery pavement. I tease Staat that you almost need a pilot's license these days to operate an S class because there are so many dials and controls to contend with.
Indeed, it takes us several moments to figure out that the central locking switch is not on either door, but in a long line of similar switches mounted across the dashboard. Despite its sleek shape and snazzy ellipsoid headlamps, the new S class
doesn't look as substantial as its predecessor. There's a good reason. Overall length and width have been trimmed, and Mercedes has taken from 475 to 660 pounds out of the various S-class models, substituting lots of aluminum, plastic and high-stren
lightweight steel in place of conventional steel to cut weight. There was such a hue and cry in Europe over the ponderous size and mass of the previous S class when it was introduced in 1991, I'm not surprised Mercedes was a bit sensitive in this
regard. The company says the lower mass of the new model results in an impressive reduction in fuel consumption of 13 percent to 17 percent. The diet also has worked wonders for the car's road manners. The S class feels considerably more lively
and agile on these twisty European roads than the previous generation. The new 4.3-liter V-8 in the S430, rated at 279 horsepower in European trim, is gratifyingly responsive, especially in combination with the five-speed Tiptronic automatic
transmission. The suspension system also is impressive, providing a surprisingly satisfying combination of control and ride comfort that was not apparent in the old car. Fitted with speed-sensitive power steering, the S class hugs corners tightly,
with almost no body roll, and brakes smoothly and assuredly with little evidence of dive. The result is a poise that is uncommon in a car in the ultra-luxury class. When the S class arrives in North America, it likely will be offered in two V-8
variants -; the S430 and S500 - with the 12-cylinder S600 returning at the top of the range. There's no word yet from Mercedes-Benz of North America on how much, if any, prices will go up. We'll probably have to wait until after the first of the
year for the definitive word there. Longtime S-class owners in the United States also will have to bide their time before discovering if the latest edition of "der Grosser Mercedes" has enough substance - and perhaps a tad too many gadgets - for
People Who Viewed this Car Also Viewed
Select up to three models to compare with the 1999 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.