Clean diesel and Hybrid availability; world-class performance, comfort, and safety
Mercedes-Benz is in the process of upgrading and improving its engine lineup, and the S-Class is a perfect example of the direction the company is going. It offers two eco-friendly engines -- a diesel and a hybrid -- two V8s and two V12s.
The new kid on the block is the S350 BlueTEC turbodiesel, a 3.0L V6 that makes 241 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. The S400 hybrid introduced in 2010 continues with a mild hybrid using a 3.5-liter V6 with 275 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and a mild hybrid system to assist the gasoline engine for 30 percent better fuel economy than the S550.
The S550 motors on with no changes to its V8 engine, which makes 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The V12-powered S600 also has few changes to its powerplant, which makes 510 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque.
At the top end, the S63 AMG gets an all-new 5.5-liter V8 with 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, plus stop-start technology and a 7-speed AMG transmission to keep fuel use relatively reasonable. The S65 AMG continues to utilize its V12 engine, which this year makes 17 more horsepower for a total of 621 hp, plus its 738 lb-ft of torque.
Across the board, the S-Class gets some new technology upgrades. Some are safety-oriented, such as Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, both of which can trigger automatic brake intervention. Attention Assist detects drowsy drivers and is standard on all but the hybrid, and the standard Adaptive High Beam Assist monitors approaching headlights and dims its own to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.
Some of the new technology is less about safety and more about creature comforts, like the available Splitview screen, which allows the driver and passenger to watch different things, like a navigation system on the left and a movie on the right.
The big news in the S-Class is the addition of the S350 BlueTEC for 2011, which has standard all-wheel drive and 3.0L V6 turbo diesel engine that's certified in all 50 states. This is in addition to the S400 mild hybrid that was introduced last year. While the flagship S600 and S550 continue with few changes, the high-performance S63 AMG gets a larger 5.5-liter engine and the S65 AMG gets a horsepower boost.
New technology for 2011 includes Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, and one new paint color has been added to the palette: Magnetite Black.
The S-Class has set the standard for luxury and performance in a sedan. Now, Mercedes-Benz is setting its sights on making its flagship vehicle a standard in fuel economy and reduced emissions as well by adding the diesel engine this year to the hybrid system it introduced last year. Sport-driving fans need not worry, though, as the AMG-tuned models continue to deliver high horsepower in a luxury wrapper.
Vehicle Price: 91,875.00
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