The 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class made its North American debut at the Greater L.A. Auto Show. The company's new flagship sedan is set to arrive at U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealerships in early 2006. The successor to a long line of premium luxury vehicles, the 2007 S-Class sedan will debut with a significantly evolved design and a stronger presence. Sharper angles and cleaner lines frame a sedan that gains about 1.7 inches of length, almost an inch in width, and more than three inches in wheelbase over its predecessor.
The "S" designation had long been used to identify top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz sedans and coupes, and the S-Class has embodied the brand's flagship role for more than five decades. The S-Class is a technological showcase that has pioneered significant safety and comfort features for the entire auto industry, including the first ABS anti-lock brakes, the first ESP stability control and the first PRE-SAFE system.
New-Generation Engines for a New-Generation Car
In the U.S. market, the new S-Class line will be launched with an all-new 5.5-liter V8 engine delivering 382 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque, the first of a new-generation V8 engine family featuring four-valve-per-cylinder technology and variable valve timing. Later in 2006, an S600 model will be powered by a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12 with 510 hp and 612 lb.-ft. of torque.
The new S-Class comes with the world's first seven-speed automatic, a smooth-shifting driver-adaptive transmission that maximizes both performance and fuel economy. A small lever on the right side of the steering column serves as an electronic shift lever that's more convenient than ever - lift the stalk up for Reverse, push down for Drive, and push a button on the end for Park. Once underway, shift buttons on the "back" of the steering wheel provide Touch Shift manual shifting. An electronic parking brake is engaged at the push of a button on the dash.
More PRE-SAFEÂ® Features
The revolutionary S-Class PRE-SAFEÂ® system that made its debut in 2002 on the S-Class automatically tightens the front seat belts during those valuable seconds just before a possible impact, and the front passenger seat (and optional power rear seats) move to positions that can provide better protection. If the system senses an impending rollover, the sunroof also closes. On the new S-Class, side windows also close to provide better support for the window curtain air bags, and special seat cushions can inflate to provide greater lateral support for occupants and to help the side air bags provide even better collision protection.
New Distronic Plus Helps in Stop-and-Go Traffic
The well-known Distronic cruise control feature that maintains a pre-set following distance behind the vehicle ahead is replaced by an optional "Distronic Plus" system. Integrated with the latest PRE-SAFE, the latest radar-based system operates at nearly all speeds up to 125 mph and can be especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic.
Newly developed short-range radar with a frequency of 24 gigahertz sweeps the first 33 yards in a fan-shaped 80-degree pattern, working in tandem with a narrower nine-degree beam of longer-range 77-gigahertz radar. The two radar frequencies complement each other to cover a full range of more than 160 yards - more than 1Â½ football fields. During approval of the new 24-gigahertz radar frequency, government agencies cited its potential to improve traffic safety, reduce injuries and ultimately save lives.
Proven Brake Assist Shows New Potential
In the early 1990s, Mercedes-Benz engineers conducting simulator tests discovered that many drivers don't push the brake pedal hard enough in emergency braking, a discovery that led to the development of Brake Assist, which has been standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles since late 1990s. Brake Assist has proven itself a million times over, and tests show that vehicles equipped with Brake Assist are involved in 26 percent fewer accidents!
Brake Assist Teams Up With Distronic Plus
Making its debut on the new S-Class, an enhanced version of the Mercedes-Benz Brake Assist system not only supplies appropriate braking assist in emergencies as soon as the driver applies the brake pedal, but also measures the distance to the vehicle ahead (thanks to Distronic Plus) and adjusts brake pressure if the driver doesn't brake hard enough. While conventional Brake Assist is only triggered by the driver's reflex reaction on the brake pedal, Brake Assist Plus also considers the closing speed of the vehicle ahead based on radar signals from the Distronic Plus system.
Brake Assist Plus Can Reduce Rear Collisions by 75 Percent
In extensive tests conducted by Mercedes researchers using 300 drivers, the new integrated system reduced rear collisions in heavy city traffic by 75 percent. During testing, data recorders and video cameras documented more than 250,000 real-world miles covered by 200 drivers in the U.S. and Europe, while 100 drivers participated in months of intense testing on the DaimlerChrysler driving simulator in Berlin.
Radar-Based Park Assist
Distronic Plus also incorporates 24 GHz radar-based Park Assist. This new option utilizes six radar sensors mounted behind the front and rear bumpers - eliminating the need for the visible "portholes" of the previous ultrasonic-based system. The result is clean, integrated and invisible, with greater range and sensitivity.
Infra-Red Night View Assist
Another innovative technology making its debut on the 2007 S-Class is Night View Assist, a new option that can extend the driver's ability to see ahead to nearly 500 feet. An industry first, and in contrast to passive systems that rely only on thermal imaging, this active system bathes the road ahead with invisible infra-red light from two projector beams mounted in the headlights. An infra-red camera discreetly mounted in the windshield receives the reflected images and displays them in a high-resolution display in the instrument cluster. The result is akin to a highly detailed black & white video image.
Form Follows Function Inside and Out
High quality materials used throughout the cabin of the new S-Class are punctuated by sweeping lines of exotic wood accented with chrome trim, forming a practical yet luxurious environment that emphasizes easy access to vehicle features.
The centerpiece of the dash is an eight-inch, high-resolution display for a new COMAND system, now positioned high in the dash, at the same height as the primary instruments, and operated by an intuitive COMAND controller on the lower center console. Instead of requiring occupants to use the COMAND system exclusively, many vehicle controls are accessible in several ways - by conventional hard keys, the multifunction steering wheel, and optional voice control as well as via the COMAND system.
Among the advanced features of the new car is a slot in the dash that accepts a PCMCIA card. Such cards never need to be charged, and some versions can hold up to 1500 digital songs. Its data be displayed on the screen of the COMAND system, and titles can be selected through the multifunction steering wheel controls.
Newly developed front seats are electrically adjustable 16 ways and offer several optional choices of ventilation and ergonomic adjustability. The available Drive Dynamic seats feature 11 individual pneumatic chambers to help the driver find a perfect seating position, and 14 more chambers provide four levels of pulsating massage to relieve fatigue and help keep drivers alert.