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2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Overview
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There are cars. And then there is Mercedes. Yes, it sounds like a corny commercial, but it is hard to downplay the position the brand has in the automotive world. Its luxury S-Class series is for those people serious about their automobiles and wealthy enough to prove it.
The line dazzles with specialized levels of trim, each with its own hand-crafted engine. The new S350 BlueTEC has a 3.0-liter clean turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. Keeping it green is the S400 Hybrid, which marries a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 to an electric motor, offering a combined 295 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. Jumping up to the next level is the S550, with an economical-yet-frisky 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 with 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. There is also the S600, with a 5.5-liter twin turbo V12 with 510 hp and 612 lb-ft.
The S-Class includes 2 AMG high-performance vehicles. The S63 AMG packs a 6.3-liter V8 with 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. (An optional Performance Package ups the hp to 564 and torque to 664.) And finally, the uber-powerful S65 AMG gets a 6.0-liter V12 with 624 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.
All levels come with rear-wheel drive; the S350 has AWD, which is optional for the S550. And all come with a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and 18-inch wheels, except for the S600 and the S65 AMG, which have a 5-speed automatic. (Nineteen-inch wheels are standard on the S600, and 20-inchers on the S63 and S65.)
From top to bottom and inside to out, this line simply oozes class. All trims include adjustable heated/ventilated leather front seats, high-gloss wood trim, navigation system with touchscreen, 15-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and bi-Xenon headlamps. The top trim levels offer contrasting stitching, but all interiors are exquisite. Complaints continue, however, about the COMMAND system, with its many menus and lack of physical buttons; the voice-operated control option does make some of these functions easier.
All models feature 8 airbags for safety and adaptive braking technologies, such as preventing water buildup by periodically wiping the discs when it's raining. Mercedes, always innovative with safety features, introduces new technologies this model year. The Pre-Safe feature tightens seatbelts and closes windows if it senses an imminent collision. Optional safety features include Distronic Plus, a "smart" cruise control that can adjust to traffic, and Night View Assist with pedestrian detection via infrared beams.
A multitude of packages are available, adding, amongst other things, fog lights, a rear-view camera, parking guidance, keyless drive and massage; a Driver Assistance package includes blind spot and lane keeping assistance, as well as Distronic Plus; and the Rear Seat, which adds a variety of climate and ergonomic comforts. All these features are standard for the S600 and S65.
It doesn’t get more classy than Benz's S-Class.
by Stephen Moramarco
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