Mercedes S-Class gets smarter

* Updated design, inside and out * Cleaner, more frugal engines * More 'intelligent' safety features...

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What Car? Staff
09 April 2009

Mercedes S-Class gets smarter

Mercedes-Benz's updated S-Class luxury saloon goes on sale in the autumn and it'll be packed with more sophisticated technology than ever.

The face-lifted model gets refreshed bumpers, light clusters, door mirrors and front grille, which combine to create a more muscular look. Inside, Mercedes says there's 'more use of light as a styling element' and an optional ambient lighting system that gives the cabin a choice of solar, neutral and polar 'moods'.

Safety and technology
There's a lot more innovative technology on board, too. Mercedes' new 'splitview' system allows the driver and front seat passenger to view different options on the central information screen for example, it would let the driver use sat-nav while the passenger watches a DVD.

There's also a new USB interface for MP3 players, a 7.2 GB hard-drive that can store up to 2500 music files and an improved voice-operated control system.

The S-Class's safety features are also more sophisticated than ever Mercedes says that 'the car is able to respond "instinctively" to detected dangers and to act "on its own initiative" in order to avoid accidents'.

As well as 'adaptive highbeam assist', 'lane keeping assist', there's an enhanced night-vision system with a pedestrian detection function. There's also a driver drowsiness warning.

A crosswind stabilisation system has been added to the active body control option, and Mercedes says that fine-tuning of the steering system has made the S-Class more agile and enjoyable to drive.

Performance and emissions
The updated engine range comprises of one diesel and five petrol units. A series of mechanical and aerodynamic tweaks have improved fuel economy and cut CO2 emissions by up to 10%. The cleanest version is the new S350 CDI BlueEfficiency model, which returns an average of 37.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 199 g/km.

Look closely at the photos and you'll see that the model pictured here is an S400 Hybrid. This version has a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that's supplemented by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery. It averages 35.8mpg, but emits just 186 g/km of CO2. It'll be available in Europe, but there are currently no plans for a right-hand drive model.

Prices for the face-lifted S-Class range have yet to be confirmed, but we'd expect a small increase over the current model.