Mercedes S class. Long the flagship of the company and an icon of luxury transportation. While the S class has often been a test bed for new Mercedes technology, the big sedan received a complete rework in 2007 that transformed it from a sought after luxury sedan into a marvel of technological integration. The amount of high technology bells and whistles incorporated into the current S class is truly staggering. It sets the bar for technology on wheels while still retaining the ultra-luxury appointments hat has made it a perennial star in the company’s already impressive lineup.

There are too many features to list, but some of the highlights of the jewel are it laser assisted cruise control, that will actually slow the car if it gets too close to the car ahead and then resumes the cruise once the way is clear. Infrared night assist is a high tech way to help drivers see in the dark. Of course the highest quality leather and amazing sound system are to be expected at this price point and Mercedes doesn’t disappoint there either.

Body styles: Sedan
Engines: 3.0L V-6, 3.5L V-6, 5.5L V-8, 5.5L V-12, 6.2L V-8, 6.0L V-12
Transmissions: 7-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic
Models: S400 Hybrid, S550, S600, S63 AMG, S65 AMG

Last year’s S63 AMG had a 6.2-liter, 518 horsepower V-8; for 2011, it has been replaced by a 536-horse, 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 with direct injection and start/stop technology. The other new engine is the automaker’s 241 horsepower, 3.0-liter diesel with 429 pound-feet that comes standard with all-wheel drive. The hybrid gets new wheels and dark brown eucalyptus wood, the S600 gets larger 19-inch wheels and the S65 AMG’s horsepower increases by 17 horsepower.

This generation S-Class is more modern and aggressive than the vehicle it replaces. Its styling is nearly 7 Series meets Maybach. In addition to new wheel options, the S-Class has Magnetite Black as a new color.

The S-Class cabin contains cool features, such as the Splitview dual content screen, in a surprisingly low-key cabin covered in leather, aluminum, and wood. Rear-seat legroom is more than generous, as is the 16.3 cubic-foot trunk.

The S550 reached to 60 in 5.3 seconds, went through the quarter mile in 13.8 seconds at 102.3 mph, and the 4600-pound sedan only needed 115 feet to stop from 60. One of the most impressive things about the S-Class, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a ride/handling compromise. The sedan’s suspension absorbs road imperfections, yet has a high level of grip — 0.89 g on the skidpad — and Active Body Control keeps the Benz flat during hard cornering.

Eight airbags are standard, with dual front, front and rear side, and front and rear curtains. There are disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, plus Mercedes’ Pre-Safe system. It also comes with stability control and traction control.

S400 Hybrid: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway
S550: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
S550 4Matic: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway
S600, S65 AMG: 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway
S63 AMG: 11 mpg city/18 mpg highway

  • Excellent handling
  • Smooth ride
  • Cool technology
  • Excellent power
  • Soft brakes
  • Firm seats
  • Spartan cabin

Tech savvy and sumptuous

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  • Audi A8
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Porsche Panamera

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