What Changed for 2009:
- New optional Parking Guidance system identifies parallel-parking spots
- New optional Blind Spot Assist system
- Gearshift paddles replace previous buttons
- New "Hold" convenience braking function
- S550 models gain Premium package and wood/leather steering wheel
- S63 and S65 AMG models continue
According to Mercedes-Benz
, the S-Class is the world's best-selling luxury sedan. In production since 1954, the S-Class is now in its tenth generation (although it was not officially called the "S-Class" until 1972). Over the years, Mercedes has used the flagship S-Class to introduce new technology to the company's entire product line. The S-Class is credited with introducing air bags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and stability control, among other features, to the rest of the Mercedes family.
The current S-Class model was introduced in showrooms as a 2007 model
. In North America, it was initially offered with a choice of 8- and 12-cylinder powerplants, and rear-drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD). For 2008, a performance-oriented S63 AMG model joined the lineup
, accompanied by a 604-hp S65 AMG with a V-12 engine.
Changes for 2009 mirror those on Mercedes-Benz's CL-Class coupe
. Gearshift paddles have replaced the prior selector buttons, and new push/pull window switches are installed. A "Hold" convenience braking feature has been added, too. A new parking guidance system, which uses six radar sensors, is incorporated into the radar-based Distronic Plus cruise control system. Park Assist can identify a suitable parallel-parking space and display steering guidance lines on the rearview display. The new Blind Spot Assist, also incorporated into Distronic Plus, monitors the car's blind spots and gives visual/audible warnings when another vehicle is present. New 18-inch wheels are mounted on the S550, while the S600 gains new 19-inch, twin-spoke wheels.
Mercedes-Benz provides all S-Class owners a 48-month/50,000-mile limited warranty. Free 24-hour roadside assistance is available throughout the life of the vehicle.Model Lineup
Mercedes-Benz offers four different S-Class models for the 2009 model year: S550, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG. The S550 and S600 are luxury-oriented, while the S63 and S65, massaged with race-inspired engineering and performance parts from AMG, appeal more to the driving aficionado, says Mercedes-Benz. All S-Class models, regardless of trim level, are equipped with a standard-equipment menu that includes full power accessories, leather upholstery, hand-polished wood trim, and a navigation system. New S550 standard equipment includes active ventilated and heated front seats, wood/leather steering wheel, power trunklid, and new 5-twin-spoke, 18-inch wheels.
The 12-cylinder S600 upgrades many of the luxury features found in the 8-cylinder S550. Each 12-cylinder model includes 4-zone climate control, Distronic Plus with Park Assist, infrared Nightview Assist, Keyless Go, rearview monitor, and ABC active suspension. There are also standard cabin humidity sensors, and fiber-optic ambient lighting. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on both models.
The 8-cylinder S63 AMG and twin-turbo, 12-cylinder S65 AMG include a sport-tuned suspension, AMG-calibrated Active Body Control (ABC), and staggered-width 20-inch light alloy wheels as standard features. Each S63 AMG has special body styling, high-performance brakes, larger air intakes in the front bumper, and contoured side skirts. Inside the S63 is an AMG sport steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles, analog clock, and multi-contour leather-upholstered sport seats. The options list for both AMG models is limited to a few select items, and a long list of choices with which owners can customize their purchases.Powertrain
The four S-Class models are each equipped with a different powerplant and transmission. The S550 features a 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 hp, developing 391 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, the S550 achieves 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds, according to the manufacturer. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway. The S550 is the only S-Class model to be offered with the automaker's permanent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, which drops the highway EPA estimate to 21 mpg.
The S600 features a 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-12 engine. Rated at 510 hp, with 612 lb.-ft. of torque, a 5-speed automatic transmission helps it to reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway.
The S63 AMG is powered by a 6.3-liter V-8 engine, rated at 518 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed, AMG-enhanced, Speedshift automatic transmission propels the S63 AMG to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway. A Sport/Comfort/Manual button selects from three transmission shift programs, fine-tunes gas-pedal response, and controls spring-shock settings, Mercedes says.
Passengers in the performance flagship S65 AMG sit behind a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V-12 engine. Rated at 604 hp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque, its power is routed through a 5-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifters. For the S65 AMG, 0-60 mph takes 4.2 seconds, according to Mercedes. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway.Safety
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers a high level of standard and available safety features. Driver and front passenger are provided with adaptive dual-stage front air bags, side air bags, and 3-point self-tensioning seat belts. Second-row outboard passengers are provided with side-impact air bags and self-tensioning seat belts. A window curtain air bag is designed to deploy along the front and side windows. Pre-Safe, a Mercedes-designed system that prepares the vehicle and occupants for an impending collision, is standard on 2009 S-Class models. The universal child safety seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system is also standard on rear outboard positions. Radar-based Parking Guidance and Blind Spot Assist are new safety features for 2009, available in models with Distronic Plus. Optional Night View Assist lets the driver "see" almost 500 feet ahead, using infrared light that emanates from two projector beams on the front of the vehicle.
The 2009 S-Class has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
Mercedes-Benz S-Class models feature an innovative technology-laden instrument cluster to supplement the large navigation display in the dashboard center. Nestled between an analog tachometer and fuel gauge is a multi-function digital display. By default, it offers a digital representation of an analog speedometer. At the driver's command, the display can scroll through various displays and menus. These include outside temperature, maintenance information, audio system information, navigation guidance, and Distronic Plus parking displays.
Distronic cruise control, which maintains a pre-set following distance behind the vehicle ahead, has been replaced by optional radar-based Distronic Plus. Mercedes-Benz says it's especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic. Park Assist scans available parking spaces and signals if the car will fit. When backing up, helpful guidelines are superimposed on the rearview camera display.
In V-12 models and the S63 AMG, the ABC (Active Body Control) suspension reduces body roll in cornering, "squat" while accelerating, and dive while braking. In V-12 sedans, adaptiv