Long one of the best of the full-size luxury sedan and executive limo segment, the Mercedes-Benz S Class spans a wide range of prices and configurations, but all of them combine a taste for advanced technology and refined quality.
As Mercedes' flagship model, the S Class takes a conservative approach to styling and to changes in its styling--the 2012 model looks much the same as the 2007 model that kicked off the current generation. It's still somewhat understated, yet stately, with smooth and flowing curves mating with upright sides to give a sense of presence. Inside, the S Class is roomy, almost beyond reason in the long-wheelbase versions that are the default in the U.S., with a relaxed and comfortable look and feel despite somewhat ornate and detailed adornments.
Six different models make up the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class range, with a diesel, a pair each of V-8s and V-12s, plus one V-6 hybrid. Starting off the range is the S350 BlueTec 4Matic diesel, using a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 rated at 240 horsepower and rated at 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Next we have the S400 Hybrid, which couples a 275-horsepower V-6 gasoline engine with 20-horsepower electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack, enabling the big sedan to reach an EPA-estimated 25 mpg on the highway.
The more mainstream S550 uses a 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8, while the 6.0-liter V-12-powered S600 generates a substantial 510 horsepower. AMG, Mercedes' in-house performance brand, tunes up the 5.5-liter V-8 for the S63 AMG to yield 536 horsepower, while the AMG version of the V-12 in the S65 is good for a massive 621 horsepower. While all S Class sedans handle well for their size class--though putting an emphasis on ride quality--the AMG models are standouts, delivering incredible performance for their size. The S63 AMG scuttles to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds, while the S65 AMG does the same run in just 4.3 seconds.
All S Class models except for the diesel, which gets 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard equipment, come with standard rear-wheel drive. The S550 can be upgraded to 4Matic. A seven-speed automatic transmission is also standard gear in non-AMG S Classes, in all but the S600, which uses a five-speed.
Whichever engine or model you choose, the S Class range offers very similar interior treatments across the board, though AMG models get special appearance and performance-oriented tweaks. All are very comfortable, with spacious seating and ample head room front and rear. Doors open wide for easy access, there's plenty of in-cabin storage and trunk space, and the ride quality will allow your Perrier to go unspilled as you broker your next stock purchase from the back seat.
As always with the S Class, Mercedes packs in its best and newest technologies for 2012, with features like Active Body Control improving ride quality, night-vision cameras detecting roadside obstacles that would otherwise be invisible, pedestrian recognition technology, active head restraints, adaptive cruise control, and much, much more available on most models.
There's also a whole host of available interior styling and trim options, many more convenience features, and almost no limit to the variations in color combinations.
For the full details on the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class, visit The Car Connection