Press Kit: Mercedes-Benz at the North American International Auto Show 2006
Jan 08, 2006
S Class: At the highest level
Featuring pioneering innovations for more safety, comfort and functionality, the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is another technological trendsetter that will influence automotive developments much in the same way its predecessors have done. The eighth-generation S-Class, the Mercedes-Benz flagship model, offers the very latest six, eight and twelve-cylinder engines, superb handling, a unique anticipatory safety system as well as comfort and safety at the highest level.
The predecessor model it replaces was the best-selling luxury saloon of all time, with a total production output of about 500,000 units since 1998. The success of the previous S Class is also underscored by more than four dozen awards and prizes from international competitions. On numerous occasions, the S Class received honours such as “Best Car”, “Most Innovative Saloon” and “World’s Most Beautiful Car”, as well as the “National Award for Product Design”.
The new saloon builds on this success and takes it to a new level. Not only does the new S Class feature about one dozen technical innovations that have never before been seen in a series-production car, it also has a captivating design that makes the saloon’s self-confident stance and elegant spirit apparent at first glance. In doing so, the car’s design sets new trends for the future and creates a new, distinctive Mercedes style.
Powerful, majestic acceleration in the new S-Class is provided by a range of four newly developed or re-designed engines that deliver up to 26 percent more power and up to 15 percent more torque compared with the predecessor model. At the same time, fuel consumption has been reduced by as much as nine percent.
For the market launch the engine line-up included the completely newly developed 388-hp / 285-kW, 5.5-litre V8 engine as well as the equally new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine in the S 350. Since the start of this year two compelling re-designed powerplants have joined the current engine line-up in the new S-Class. The high-torque, economical six-cylinder diesel engine with direct injection in the 320 CDI as well as the high-output twelve-cylinder engine in the top-of-the-range S 600, only available in combination with the long wheelbase (3165 millimetres).
Four powerful engines on offer
The new 173-kW/235-hp V6 diesel engine with third-generation common-rail technology is fitted with high-speed piezo injectors. It surpasses the prior six-cylinder in-line engines of the S 320 CDI in terms of performance by 15 percent. The maximum torque has been improved by 40 Nm to a total of 540 Nm, available from 1600 rpm to ensure exemplary flexibility. The advanced direct-injection diesel consumes 8.3 to 8.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (combined) and is equipped with a maintenance-free particulate filter as standard.
Thanks to its enhanced biturbo engine, the twelve-cylinder S 600 Saloon has an output of 380 kW/517 hp - 12 kW/17 hp more than was previously the case. The maximum torque has been boosted from 800 to 830 Nm and fuel consumption has been cut by 0.5 litres to 14.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The V12 engine allows the S-Class to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
The new eight-cylinder engine, making its world premiere in autumn 2005 together with the luxury saloon, generates 285 kW/ 388 hp from 5.5 litres of displacement and is one of the most powerful engines in its displacement class. The maximum torque reaches 530 Nm and is available through a broad range of engine speeds from 2800 to 4800 rpm. This enables the eight-cylinder unit to provide sports-car-like driving enjoyment. The new S 500 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds (predecessor: 6.3 seconds). And despite the 26-percent performance boost, the NEDC fuel consumption (combined) of 11.7 to 11.9 litres per 100 kilometres matches the good fuel economy of the predecessor model.
The bonnet of the S 350 conceals a powerful V6 (200 kW/272 hp) that delivers fuel savings of one litre per 100 kilometre despite an 11-percent power increase. The combined NEDC fuel consumption is 10.1 to 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The new S 350 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds, which makes it 0.3 seconds faster than its predecessor.
Mercedes-Benz has fitted the V6 and the V8 models of the new S-Class with the unique seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard. Another new feature that facilitates car operation and helps create a state-of-the-art driver area design is DIRECT SELECT, which enables 7G-TRONIC to be electronically controlled by briefly moving the aesthetically designed lever on the right-hand side of the steering column.
Brake Assist with radar and latest-generation PRE-SAFE®
For the new S Class, Mercedes-Benz further enhanced and improved the tried-and-tested safety systems such as Brake Assist and PRE-SAFE®. These high-tech innovations play a major role in preventing accidents, improving occupant protection and supporting the driver. The new Brake Assist PLUS (BAS PLUS) uses radar to register vehicles ahead and warns the driver if the distance is too low or if he or she is approaching the vehicle ahead too quickly. If a collision is imminent, the system instantly calculates the optimum level of braking power, which is immediately supplied even if the driver applies the brakes too gently. This makes it possible to reduce substantially the number of rear-end collisions.
Mercedes-Benz combines Brake Assist PLUS with the similarly unique occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, which features even more safety functions in the new S Class. PRE-SAFE® recognises a potential accident situation in its early stages: if the braking deceleration exceeds a certain level or there is a risk of skidding, the system tightens the front seat belts and pumps air into the chambers of the multicontour seats so that they envelop and support the driver and other vehicle occupants.
The combination of the new Brake Assist PLUS and PRE-SAFE® make possible a higher level of occupant protection. Mercedes-Benz is the first and only automaker in the world to offer such a comprehensive safety system, which goes into action before a possible accident has a chance to happen.
New assistant for stop-and-go traffic
Brake Assist PLUS is available in combination with the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control, which has also been enhanced. The radar-supported system now operates at speeds between zero and 200 km/h, thus making driving even more comfortable. In stop-and-go traffic, DISTRONIC PLUS keeps the new S Class at the right distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically brakes the car to a standstill if necessary and accelerates it back to the pre-programmed speed following the driver’s instructions. In this way the assistance system reduces the driver’s workload and provides considerable benefits with regard to driver-fitness safety.
In addition to Brake Assist PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS, the car is also equipped with a new parking assist system that uses radar technology. The system warns the driver if there is danger of a collision when reversing.
Infrared headlamps for more safety after dark
With the innovative night view assist, which made its debut in the new S Class, Mercedes-Benz is contributing further to reducing the risk of accidents at night. This system uses infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye and therefore does 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.
High-tech steels ensure maximum safety
To an extent without parallel in the passenger car sector, around one half of all the bodyshell components are made of high-strength or higher-strength steel, which provide maximum strength for minimum weight. Mercedes-Benz makes other components such as the bonnet, doors, front wings and boot cover out of aluminium.
High-quality recyclates and renewable raw materials also play an important role in the new S Class. Natural materials of this sort are used to make 27 components that weigh roughly 43 kilograms in all, an increase of about 73 percent compared to the predecessor model. The new luxury saloon from Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first car with an environmental protection certification. The certification attests to the environmentally-oriented development process of the S Class, which has made substantial progress in many areas. As the environmental certificate shows, Mercedes’ flagship model is also the benchmark and trendsetter for passenger car development in the field of environmental protection.
Control and operating concept with COMAND Controller and direct selection buttons
Step inside, get the wheels rolling and enjoy! The new S-Class offers a one-of-a-kind driving experience. As soon as they get into the new S Class, drivers are in close harmony with their car.
One reason why this is the case is the all-new control concept that has been thoroughly tested. Its most distinguishing feature is the fact that the driver has rapid access to the functions he or she uses most frequently. The system was deliberately designed with a number of redundant features: depending on the driver’s habits, he or she can operate the car radio, TV receiver, CD/DVD changer, car phone and navigation system by using conventional switches, pushing buttons on the multifunction steering wheel, or with the enhanced COMAND system. The direct selection buttons in the centre console are so ergonomically placed that drivers can conveniently operate them without having to look.
The Cockpit Management and Data System, or COMAND for short, has been redesigned and now offers even more features. In addition to the familiar telematics and audio devices, the system includes a number of vehicle functions which previously required separate switches. The central control unit is the new COMAND controller on the transmission tunnel. It is used to select the main and sub-menus and to activate the various functions. The phone’s keypad is hidden underneath the lid of the armrest.
The COMAND system’s large, swivelling colour display is positioned at the same height as the instrument cluster and is therefore more favourably within the field of vision of both the driver and front passenger. COMAND is equipped with a car radio, CD/DVD player and a port for computer memory cards (PCMCIA cards) as standard. On request Mercedes-Benz equips COMAND with a Europe-wide navigation system. The data is stored on a hard disc, allowing the system to calculate routes even more rapidly than was previously the case.
Improved multicontour seats and soothing back massage
Mercedes customers can adapt the newly developed seats in the S Class to suit their personal preferences. The electrically adjustable 12-way front seats feature lumbar supports fitted as standard. In addition, heated and actively ventilated luxury seats and multicontour seats (front and rear) are available as optional extras, as are dynamic multicontour seats in the front.
Mercedes-Benz has further refined the multicontour system. As a result, the front seats are now equipped with eleven air chambers that make it possible to individually adapt the seat’s contours. Because the innovative piezo valves in the air chambers are even quicker than the technology previously used, the dynamic feature of the multicontour seats has been substantially improved. In order to provide the driver and front passenger with better side support, the piezo valves change the filling pressure and volume of the side air chambers in the backrests within seconds to accord with the angle of the steering wheel, the lateral acceleration and the speed of the vehicle.
In addition, the dynamic multicontour seats are fitted with seven separate air chambers in the backrest, which are filled and then emptied in accordance with a pre-programmed pattern. Passengers in the new S Class therefore feel a pleasant rolling massage movement along their entire backs. This massage feature stimulates the back muscles and the circulation of the blood, thus counteracting the effects of fatigue. The Mercedes multicontour seat for drivers and passengers has been awarded the seal of quality from the “Healthy back” campaign.
AIRMATIC and ABC for even more comfort with agile handling
Fitted with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension as standard, the chassis also plays a major role in producing the exceptional ride comfort offered by the new S-Class. Mercedes-Benz combines AIRMATIC with the ADS adaptive damping system as a standard feature. ADS continuously controls the damping forces according to needs, taking into account the state of the road surface, the style of driving and the way the car is laden. The system can respond within 50 milliseconds to adjust the damping force at each wheel in accordance with the situation.
In the new S Class, Mercedes-Benz has further improved the effectiveness of the Adaptive Damping System by developing degressive shock absorber characteristics. These permit an even larger spread of damping forces between the shock absorber’s compression and rebound stages, thus contributing greatly to the car’s agile handling properties. The system takes the road conditions into account when regulating the shock absorbers as required by the situation. Thanks to an improved computing process, the system can recognise the prevailing road conditions with greater precision than was previously the case.
Another special feature of the new S-Class is the S/C/M button in the centre console. The driver can use this button to switch the car’s characteristics from “comfortable” to “sporty” and individually set the vehicle’s chassis, height and transmission programme. In the sport setting and at a speed of 120 km/h, the body automatically lowers by up to 20 millimetres to further enhance handling, aerodynamics and fuel consumption.
A particular milestone in chassis development is Active Body Control (standard in the S 600), which has been enhanced even further for the new S Class. Each component has been reworked. The experts have combined various components in order to reduce the amount of space the system requires and improve the control functions by means of shorter cable connections. The essential advantage of second-generation Active Body Control, however, is its further improved performance in reducing body movements to correspond to individual driving situations. This is where the S Class advances into new dimensions of handling dynamics - while simultaneously offering greater comfort that every driver will immediately notice. As a result, the body’s roll angle is reduced during a dynamic driving manoeuvre by more than 60 percent compared to the predecessor model.
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