Mercedes-Benz's flagship S-Class sedan added the S400 Hybrid last year, and for 2011 it will introduce the S350 Bluetec, a 50-state turbocharged diesel model. The S-Class shares luxury-sedan real estate with competitors like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
New for 2011
With the arrival of the S350, Mercedes revives its tradition of offering a diesel engine in its biggest sedan. The S350 uses a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 and comes with standard all-wheel drive. The high-performance S63 AMG has a new 536-hp, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 and start/stop technology, while the S65 AMG's twin-turbo V-12 puts out more horsepower, 621 hp, compared with 2010.
A new telematics system called "mbrace" replaces Tele Aid and adds features such as the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely and locate a vehicle in a parking lot by connecting through an iPhone or BlackBerry.
The S-Class received minor styling changes for 2010 but has retained the same basic appearance.
- S400 Hybrid gets new 18-inch 10-spoke wheels
- S63 AMG gets new 20-inch twin five-spoke wheels
- LED daytime running lights for all but S400
Chrome and wood accents adorn the inside of the S-Class, which has room for up to five people. As opposed to a console-located gearshift, the driver selects Park, Drive and Reverse via a stalk on the right side of the steering column. Drivers who wish to manually control the automatic transmission can use shift paddles on the steering wheel.
- Standard "mbrace" telematics system
- Comand system with 6.5-inch dash screen and center-console control knob
- Split-view dashboard screen can show different content at same time for driver and passenger
- Optional massaging front seats
- Massive backseat
- Optional infrared night-vision system projects black-and-white video image on instrument cluster display
- Optional lane departure warning system and driver drowsiness monitor
Under the Hood
In addition to the hybrid V-6 and new diesel V-6, available engines include two V-8s and two V-12s, all of which team with automatic transmissions.
- S400 Hybrid has a 3.5-liter V-6 and a seven-speed automatic with a total system output of 295 horsepower
- S350 has a 241-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 and seven-speed automatic
- S550 features a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 and drives a seven-speed automatic
- Rear-wheel drive is standard on S550, and 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional
- S600 powered by a 510-hp, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-12 and features a five-speed automatic
- S63 AMG has a new 5.5-liter V-8 that makes 536 hp and works with a seven-speed automatic
- S65 AMG uses a 621-hp, twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 and a five-speed automatic
Safety features include Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe system, which can tighten the front seat belts, close the sunroof and side windows, and adjust passenger seats for optimal safety when it senses an impending collision. The optional Pre-Safe Brake applies the brakes automatically in such situations. The S-Class can also get Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control and Pre-Safe Brake. Pre-Safe Brake works in conjunction with Distronic Plus radar signals and can slow the car automatically to lessen the severity of a collision. All S-Class models except the S400 Hybrid include as standard "Attention Assist" that Mercedes says can alert the driver when he or she is drowsy and should take a rest. Standard safety equipment includes:
- Antilock brakes
- Front and rear side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Active front head restraints
- Electronic stability system
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