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May 13, 2009

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2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Pacemaker in automotive development

After four years in production and sales of 270,000 units, Mercedes-Benz is now presenting 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 litres per 100 kilometres 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"

With 270,000 units sold since its market launch in autumn 2005, 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 combined New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) fuel consumption is only 7.9–8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. This results in the world's lowest CO2 emissions in this vehicle class, at just 186 - 189 grams per kilometer.

These figures are accompanied by a truly superior performance potential: the modified 3.5-litre petrol engine develops 205 kW/279 hp, while the electric motor generates 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 Nm. The combined output is therefore 220 kW/299 hp, with a combined maximum torque of 385 newton metres.

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 2009 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.

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 in 4.6 seconds. The Mercedes-AMGhigh-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-AMGhigh-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.

Drowsiness detection on the basis of more than 70 parameters

Thanks to an innovative technology the 2009 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 2009S-Class.

"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 2009 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".

New: Active Body Control reduces the effect of a crosswind

The S-Class also meets the highest expectations with respect to driving dynamics and agility. This is in part due to Direct-Steer, with a steering ratio that varies with the steering angle, and modified Active Body Control (ABC) with crosswind stabilisation (optional for the eight-cylinder models with rear-wheel drive, standard for S 600). For this purpose ABC uses the yaw rates and lateral acceleration sensors of the Electronic Stability Program ESP® to vary the wheel load distribution via the ABC spring struts within milliseconds, depending on the direction and intensity of the crosswind. This enables the effects of crosswinds to be largely compensated.

Interior: carefully selected materials and first-class finishing

The multifunction steering wheel of the S-Class has also been modified by the Mercedes-Benz designers: in future the rim and airbag module are lined wth soft nappa leather as standard. The new, flatter airbag module also lends a sporty touch to the multifunction steering wheel.

When choosing the interior, S-Class customers now have even more scope for their personal preferences. A total of five different types of wood trim provide perfectly coordinated material and colour concepts to suit personal tastes.

To make the decision-making process easier, Mercedes-Benz designers have developed three new interior combinations for the colour scheme: alpaca grey/basalt grey, cashmere beige/savanna beige and chestnut brown/black. Together with an all-black interior for the comfort-oriented business saloon and the well-proven combination of sahara beige/black, this produces a total of five tasteful interior design options. In addition to high-grade fabrics, leather upholstery in three qualities is available as an option.

(May 2, 2009)

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