After four years in production and sales of 270,000 units, Mercedes-Benz presented the 2009 S-Class. With an even more dynamic design, even more comfort and pathfinding innovations, this extensively updated new series of the world’s most successful luxury saloon is reiterating its claim to be the standard for automotive progress. Technological highlights include the world’s first series-production hybrid drive system with a lithium-ion battery in the S 400 HYBRID, which makes this flagship Mercedes-Benz model the world’s most economical luxury saloon with a petrol engine. Its fuel consumption of 7.9 l/100 km (29.77 mpg/US, 12.65 km/l) corresponds to carbon dioxide emissions of just 186 grams per kilometre. This makes the new S 400 HYBRID the “CO2 champion in the luxury class.”
In addition the engine range includes eight up-to-date petrol and diesel units, which generate the same, high output as in the preceding series but require up to seven percent less fuel. The high safety standard typical of the S-Class is further improved by a unique combination of new camera and radar based driver assistance systems, with innovations such as Speed Limit Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. More agility and driving enjoyment is ensured by Direct-Steer and modified Active Body Control with crosswind stabilisation for the eight and twelve-cylinder models.
The W 221-series S-Class is the world’s most successful luxury saloon. Since 1951, when the Model 220 founded the lineage of the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has sold around 3.3 million units of this model series. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The S-Class is the worldwide market leader. Thanks to innovative technology, first-class comfort and trailblazing safety systems, the flagship model from Mercedes-Benz is seen as a pioneer in automotive development.”
S 400 HYBRID: the world’s most efficient petrol-engined luxury saloon
The 2009 S-Class likewise leads the field in automotive development. Mercedes-Benz is underlining this claim to leadership with the new S 400 HYBRID, the world’s first series-production vehicle to be equipped with a hybrid drive system using a lithium-ion battery. This is a pioneering step by Mercedes-Benz on the way to the electrification of the automobile. The combination of a further developed V6 petrol engine and a compact hybrid module also makes the S 400 HYBRID the world’s most efficient luxury saloon with a petrol engine.
The Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID is based on the S 350, and features an extensively modified drive train. This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery. The hybrid module also has a convenient ECO start/stop function, which automatically switches the engine off when the vehicle stops – for example at traffic lights.
Efficient diesel and petrol engines
In addition to the trailblazing hybrid drive unit of the S 400 HYBRID, the S‑Class is available with a choice of eight engines: two diesel units and six petrol units with six, eight and twelve cylinders. By means of specific aerodynamic fine-tuning, tyres with a lower rolling resistance and modifications to the steering, fuel pump and 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, Mercedes-Benz developers have been able to reduce both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to seven percent.
With diesel fuel consumption of up to 7.6 l/100 km (30.94 mpg/US, 13.15 km/l) and CO2 emissions of 199-201 grams per kilometre, the S 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY (173 kW/235 hp) likewise boasts outstanding figures for the luxury class. Mercedes-Benz achieves this exemplary efficiency with a tailor-made BlueEFFICIENCY package, which also includes closed underbody panelling and decoupling of the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission at standstill.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine is also used in the S 350 CDI 4MATIC. The second diesel variant is the eight-cylinder S 450 CDI (235 kW/320 hp) with a displace-ment of 4.0 litres. The range of petrol engines comprises the six-cylinder S 350/ S 350 4MATIC (200 kW/272 hp) with a displacement of 3.5 litres and the two eight-cylinder units in the S 450/S 450 4MATIC (250 kW/340 hp; displacement 4.7 litres) and S 500/S 500 4MATIC (285 kW/388 hp; displacement 5.5 litres). The flagship model is still the S 600 with the 380 kW/517 hp twelve-cylinder biturbo unit), which accelerates the luxury saloon to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds. The Mercedes-AMG high-performance contributions to the range are the S 63 AMG with its 386 kW/525 hp V8 engine (displacement 6.2 litres) and the S 65 AMG with a 459 kW/612 hp twelve-cylinder engine (displacement 6 litres).
The Mercedes-AMG high-performance contributions to the range are the S 63 AMG with its 386 kW/525 hp V8 engine (displacement 6.2 litres) and the S 65 AMG with a 450 kW/612 hp twelve-cylinder engine (displacement 6 litres).
Unique combination of driver assistance systems
A combination of ultra-modern assistance and protection systems turns the S‑Class into an “intelligent” partner that can see, feel, respond reflexively and act independently to prevent accidents or mitigate their effects. For the first time Mercedes-Benz also uses cameras in these systems – these are able to look well ahead, monitor the car’s surroundings and interpret critical situations. One example is the optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This system recognises oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead with their lights on, and then controls the headlamps to ensure the best possible beam range without dazzling other road users.
As a new feature the Night View Assist Plus with infrared camera is now equipped with a special pedestrian detection function: as soon as the system detects pedestrians on the road ahead, they are highlighted on the display to make them more readily noticeable.
Lane Keeping Assist is another system that “looks ahead” for even safer driving. The camera on the inside of the windscreen is able to recognise clear lane markings by evaluating the contrasting images of the road surface and the markings. If the vehicle leaves its lane unintentionally, the driver is warned by short vibrations of the steering wheel. Unlike conventional systems of this kind, the Mercedes system is able to evaluate the driver’s activities as well, and can reliably ascertain whether the car is leaving its lane intentionally or not. There is therefore no warning if the driver e.g. accelerates before overtaking or joining a motorway, brakes heavily or enters a bend.
The images supplied by the windscreen camera are also used by the new, optional Speed Limit Assist, which recognises speed limit signs in passing and shows the relevant speed limit in the central display (standard for S 600).
Drowsiness detection on the basis of more than 70 parameters
Thanks to an innovative technology the S-Class has a very sensitive antenna for the attention level of its driver, and can warn him in time when he becomes drowsy. The drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST continuously monitors more than 70 different parameters. Once the evaluation electronics recognise the steering behaviour pattern that typically indicates the onset of drowsiness on the basis of information from the highly sensitive steering angle sensor, a warning signal is sounded and “ATTENTION ASSIST. Break!” appears in the instrument cluster. Attention Assist is standard equipment* in the S-Class.
* not for S 400 HYBRID
“Electronic crumple zone” for maximum occupant protection
Mercedes-Benz has also improved the long and medium-range radar used by Brake Assist (BAS) PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control.
Mercedes-Benz also offers another radar based system for the S-Class in the form of the PRE-SAFE® brake. If the driver is distracted and fails to recognise the immediate danger of a rear-end collision, or the warning signal of an assistance system, this system can intervene and brake the vehicle independently. The S-Class makes use of the latest development stage of this safety system: if the driver fails to react even after automatic, partial braking action, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking pressure around 0.6 seconds before what is now recognised as an unavoidable accident — an emergency braking action that can significantly mitigate the severity of the impact. The PRE-SAFE® Brake therefore acts as something like an “electronic crumple zone.”.