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The S-Class full-size luxury sedan has long been the face of class, sophistication, and cutting-edge technology for Mercedes-Benz. The latest S continues the tradition with perhaps the most pampering cabin on the market and enough gadgetry to put technophiles into a state of utter bliss.
Supple leather, exquisite wood garnishments and genuine metal trim covers every inch of the S-Class' interior, creating an air of old-world opulence. Fire it up and bring the electronics to life, however, and it immediately becomes clear that the big sedan has all four wheels firmly planted in the 21st century.
Mercedes has also made the sedan available with the closest thing yet to an autonomous driving system. Known as Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot.
While letting the S-Class handle piloting duties, passengers can admire the two mammoth 12.3-inch TFT screens that sit in front of the driver and atop the center stack. The left-hand unit replaces a conventional analog instrument cluster, while the right-hand screen displays climate, entertainment and Google maps-integrated navigation info.
A touch-sensitive telephone keypad with 12 customizable memory settings lets users access more complex functions without having to move their hands around the dashboard. In addition, Mercedes' Linguatronic speech recognition system allows "one shot input" commands to be spoken, and text message and email reading are part of the package.
The S-Class can be outfitted with the buyer's choice of a rear bench seat or executive-style reclining rear seats that, like the front thrones, can be outfitted with heating, ventilating and "hot stone" massaging systems. Further coddling rear seat occupants are available features such as individual TFT screens with wireless AKG headsets, pillow head rests, cooling/heating cup holders and fold-out trey tables. Topping it all off are industry-first heated center and door panel-mounted armrests.
Two different high-end Burmester Surround Sound systems are on offer for the ultimate in concert-quality audio, but the S-Class doesn't stop at providing a feast for the ears: it also seeks to create an optimal olfactory experience with an active perfuming system that discreetly emits a choice of four different scents to cover up any undesirable odors from the outside world.
Style and Power
Outside, the S-Class combines traditional touches like a formal, upright version of the corporate Mercedes grille with flowing surface detailing borrowed from the automaker's rakish four-door-sedan models. Notably, the lighting system is comprised entirely of LED units - in fact, there's not a single incandescent light bulb to be found inside or outside of the car.
To save weight, each and every exterior panel is made from aluminum, helping to trim weight by roughly 300 lbs. compared to the previous model. Fuel economy has not been announced, but Mercedes-Benz will include a start/stop system to reduce consumption. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and buyers can order Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system at an extra cost.
In addition to ABS and ESP stability control, the S-Class boasts nine supplemental restraints including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver and pelvic air bags which work together with curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions. Rear seatbelt airbags are optional.
A standard "ATTENTION ASSIST" system can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.A. A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster.
Collision Prevention Assist uses radar to determine whether the S-Class is in danger of colliding with a vehicle or object up ahead. Active at speeds above 20 mph, it automatically prepares the brakes to apply the ideal leveling of stopping power once the driver hits the pedal.
Optional safety gear includes Active Lane Keeping Assist, a new technology that warns the driver if it detects that the S-Class is drifting into an adjacent lane and can apply steering inputs to remain on the proper course. Also available is Active Blind Spot Assist, which uses radar to detect if a vehicle is in the blind-spot area. It provides driver alerts and can also steer the car out of harm's way if the driver accidentally starts to merge into a vehicle.
Pre-Safe Brake detects impending collisions with vehicles or pedestrians and can automatically apply 100 percent of the S-Class' braking force to avoid or mitigate the severity of the crash. It also includes Cross-Traffic Assist, which can detect potential collisions with vehicles approaching from either side of an intersection. Both are part of the Distronic Plus with Steering assist system, an active cruise control setup that can maintain a set distance from the car ahead and also keep the vehicle centered on straight roads or in gentle curves.
The S-Class competes against a wide range of full-size luxury sedans such as the Jaguar XJ, Audi A8, BMW 7-Series and the Lexus LS.
Text sourced from: http://www.leftlanenews.com/new-car-buying/mercedes-benz/s-class/