2006 Mercedes S-Class (S350/ S430/ S500/ S600)

Safety will again take center stage as the 2007 S-Class will be the first Mercedes to offer its second-generation Presafe system featuring BrakeAssist Plus. The system uses radar to sense vehicles ahead and will sound an alarm if cars get too close. When the system senses an impending impact, BrakeAssist Plus can calculate the brakeforce needed to stop the car safely and apply it as soon as the driver presses the brake pedal.

Like the current lineup, the 2007 Mercedes S-Class is expected to be offered with two V8 engine options, both slightly larger and more powerful than the current 4.3-liter and 5.0-liter power plants.

Mercedes introduced high performance variable-valve-timing quad-cam 4-valve V8 in the 1990 SL500 and continued through 1998. Chrysler era cost reductions replaced these engines with lower performance 3-valve V8s in the 1999 - 2006 SL500s, including the V8 offerings in every other 2006 model. The 3-valve engines offer the same EPA fuel economy with less power and less torque compared to the 1990 - 1998 4-valve engines. Of course marketers promoted this downgrade as some sort of benefit. Even the six-cylinder models stepped back to simpler technology and lower performance.

S-Class Models

  • S350 Sedan
    • USD$65,675 MSRP
    • Engine: 3.7 L 18-valve V6 engine making 241 hp at 5800 rpm
  • S430 Sedan
    • USD$76,020 MSRP
    • Engine: 4.3 L 24-valve V8 engine making 275 hp at 5750 rpm
  • S500 Sedan
    • USD$84,620 MSRP
    • Engine: 5.0 L 24-valve V8 engine making 302 hp at 5600 rpm
  • S600 Sedan
    • USD$125,470 MSRP
    • Engine: 5.5 L twin-turbocharged 36-valve V12 engine making 493hp SAE net) at 5000 rpm


Pedestrian protection: Not just a question of compliance with crash-test regulations for Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has long been committed to protecting pedestrians and cyclists/ motorcyclists. Many of the actions and safety measures taken over the past decades have their origins in Mercedes-Benz initiatives. Smooth body surfaces, energy-absorbing bumpers, laminated windscreens, folding exterior mirrors, rounded door handles and recessed windscreen wipers are just a few of the char-acteristics of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars which help protect pedestrians.

The new S-Class builds on this already high standard of safety with additional protective measures. The underside of the bonnet has been designed for programmed deformation and impact-energy absorption in the event of an accident with a pedestrian. A newly developed "yielding" hinge supports the deformation of the bonnet and also helps to reduce injuries to pedestrians and cyclists/ motorcyclists. The front wings of the new Mercedes saloon are attached to the upper longitudinal members by means of a special fixing element. This has precisely calculated rigidity characteristics and is programmed to give way in the event of an impact.

The deformation space between the bonnet and the engine components beneath it – an important factor in accidents where there is contact between the pedestrian’s head and the bonnet – has been increased in two ways: firstly, through the new outer contour of the saloon, the front section of which is some 22 millimetres higher than the predecessor model. Secondly, the engine, shock-absorber towers, reservoirs and control gear have been fitted up to 13 millimetres lower. The Mercedes engineers have also reduced the overall height of the windscreen-wiper system, thereby increasing the deformation space. Another pedestrian-oriented safety feature is to be found in the front bumper of the new S-Class which features a flush, foam-filled spoiler edge which ensures early and even support in a collision.

Pedestrian protection thanks to Brake Assist

In the sphere of active safety, too, the new S-Class is equipped with highly effective systems which can help to avoid accidents with pedestrians. One such system is the standard-fit Brake Assist, which interprets a given speed of brake-pedal actuation as indicative of an emergency situation and builds up the maximum braking assistance within fractions of a second. This can significantly shorten the vehicle’s stopping distance - by up to 45 per cent, for example, when the vehicle is travelling on a dry road at a speed of 100 km/h.

Brake Assist not only helps prevent rear-end collisions but also makes an effective contribution to protecting pedestrians. This was demonstrated by a study conducted by Mercedes-Benz with a driving simulator, in which 55 car drivers took a simulated drive through a town at a speed of 50 km/h, during which a child suddenly ran into the street. The only way to avoid hitting the child was to initiate an emergency braking manoeuvre. The test showed that drivers supported by Brake Assist had far fewer accidents than those drivers who did not have the system; the overall accident rate was reduced by 26 percentage points through the use of Brake Assist.

The launch of the new S-Class also marks the world premiere of an enhanced version of Brake Assist: Brake Assist PLUS. This functions as an anticipatory system which provides drivers with even more effective support in critical situations. Based on radar technology, the system scans the area ahead of the vehicle and calculates the necessary brake force assistance if there is a risk of a collision. If the driver operates the brake pedal, the new Brake Assist PLUS system instantly builds up the braking pressure required to manage the situation. While the conventional Brake Assist system requires a reflex activation of the brake pedal, the new system recognises the driver’s intention to brake when he or she puts clear pressure on the pedal, after which it automatically optimises the braking pressure. One of the key preconditions for preventing collisions is thus fulfilled: the best possible deceleration for the situation in hand.

Night view assist for greater safety in the dark

According to German accident statistics, more than 55 percent of accidents resulting in pedestrian fatalities occur at night or in semi-darkness at dawn or dusk. This is why Mercedes-Benz is committed to helping drivers see better in the dark. The new S-Class is equipped with powerful projection-beam headlamps – with optional bi-xenon technology – which play an important role in this respect. The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer offers bi-xenon technology in combination with the Active Light System and the cornering light function which illuminate areas around the vehicle which are left in darkness by normal headlamps. These features make an effective contribution to the prevention of pedestrian accidents at intersections and junctions.

Night view assist, a world first for Mercedes-Benz is being premiered in the S-Class. Based on infrared light technology, the system is available in combination with bi-xenon headlamps and the Active Light System. This unique package of the best and most effective lighting technology currently available is one of the defining features of the new Mercedes flagship model. In the dark, the newly developed night view assist system provides the driver with a much greater range of vision than conventional low-beam headlamps, enabling the course of the road, pedestrians, cyclists and obstacles to be seen much sooner.

Mercedes engineers examined the capabilities of this technology in a series of trials. During comparative test drives with low-beam bi-xenon headlamps and the new night view assist system, the test drivers recognised obstacles in the road much sooner when assisted by the infrared light system. During tests, drivers were already able to discern roadside test dummies dressed in light-coloured clothing at a range of around 210 metres, which is about 41 metres sooner than with low-beam bi-xenon headlamps. The system proves even more effective in the case of pedestrians in dark clothing. In these situations the night view assist system already enabled the drivers to identify the test dummies at a range of around 164 metres, but only at about 72 metres when driving with low-beam bi-xenon headlamps alone. This represents a safety improvement of no less than 125 percent.

Even when the headlamps of oncoming vehicles dazzle the driver and severely obscure the view, visibility is much better with this assistance system: a test dummy in light-coloured clothing standing at the road edge 50 metres behind an oncoming vehicle was detected from an average distance of 140 metres with the help of night view assist – around 53 metres sooner than with low-beam bi-xenon headlamps.


New Mercedes S-Class fitted as S-Guard special protection vehicle before leaving the plant

Mercedes-Benz is rounding out the new S-Class series with an armoured special protection version. Because the new S-Guard’s protective features are integrated into the vehicle before it leaves the production plant, it offers an unsurpassed level of protection against terrorist attacks and the threat of violent crime. Such top-quality protection is impossible to provide by retrofitting a vehicle with armour. Customers will be able to purchase the new model — the Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard with a 12-cylinder engine — beginning in 2006.

With the new S-Guard, Mercedes-Benz is continuing an uninterrupted tradition of developing special protection vehicles that stretches back almost 80 years. Following the principle of integrated special protection, specialists with many years of experience in protection technology will be producing the new top model in the Guard family of vehicles in Sindelfingen. In accordance with this principle, the protective elements for the doors, rear wall, side components, roof lining and bulkhead are not installed in a vehicle after it rolls off the production line; they are integrated into the vehicle’s body right from the start in a separate production process. This also makes it possible to include all the protective reinforcements in the body structure from the start. The higher weight of these protective elements ensures that the body will have the same high quality that is a hallmark of Mercedes-Benz series models. This results in the highest degree of comprehensive protection while maintaining the characteristic Mercedes standards of production quality, even in parts of the vehicle that would be nearly impossible to access afterwards.

Outstanding comfort and superior performance

The integration of the protective elements causes virtually no reduction of the new S-Class’ interior space, which provides all passengers with first-class luxury, outstanding comfort and superior performance. The generous dimensions of the chassis components and brakes ensure that the Mercedes-Benz S-Guard saloon displays handling properties almost identical to series models so that the driver always enjoys an optimal driving experience. In addition, the chassis design ensures that the level of comfort typical of Mercedes-Benz is undiminished, despite the higher weight.

The Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard’s enhanced 12-cylinder biturbo engine (380 kW/517 hp) offers dynamic power reserves, giving the luxury saloon the sports car-like performance needed to escape any dangerous situation as quickly as possible.

The Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard provides protection that meets the specifications of the B6/B7 protection standard, which is the maximum level. Military-grade small arms fire cannot penetrate the vehicle’s armour, which also protects occupants from hand grenade shrapnel and other explosive devices. Additional security features include tyres with run-flat properties, a self-sealing fuel tank and an alarm system for endangered occupants.

A look at the exterior of the new special protection saloon gives hardly any indication of its impressive security features. That is because discretion is a top priority, in addition to confidentiality, reliability and quality. And prominent figures all over the world value the ability to travel incognito, which they also can enjoy in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Guard.

With all the pioneering developments of the new S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard is equipped with the same technological innovations that make the Mercedes flagship model the standard-setting vehicle for all passenger car development and the world’s best-selling luxury saloon. These innovations include important new developments such as Brake Assist PLUS in combination with DISTRONIC PLUS with radar sensors, the new COMAND-APS and the preventive PRE-SAFE-occupant protection with additional functions. In addition, the S-Guard’s agile handling and maximum level of comfort guarantee unsurpassed driving performance.


S-Class is "Fleet Car of the Year 2006"

With this award this specialist magazine recognises the outstanding technology that has made the Mercedes flagship model an example for the entire field of car development. In autumn 2005 around one dozen technical innovations available in no other automobile entered series production with the new S-Class. These include Brake Assist PLUS with radar sensors, the preventive PRE-SAFE occupant protection system with additional functions, Night View Assist with infra-red technology and DISTRONIC PLUS with a further increase in operating range.

Outstanding long-distance comfort is ensured by the running gear with a further development of the AIRMATIC air suspension as standard, and by the new dynamic multicontour seat with an enhanced massage function. Another milestone in car technology is the Active Body Control suspension system (standard in the S 600), which has been even further improved for the S-Class. As a result the luxury saloon enters new dimensions in handling dynamics, while offering an equally tangible benefits in terms of ride comfort.

The engines for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class are new or further developments which offer up to 26 more output and up to 15 percent more torque than their predecessors. Fuel consumption is up to nine percent lower. Moreover, the S-Class is the world’s first automobile to achieve an environmental certification. This confirms the environmentally oriented product development of the luxury saloon, where significant advances have been made in ecologically important areas. The exhaust emissions of the S 350 are up to 85 percent below the current EU-4 limits.

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