Fleet News

S-class goes high-tech

NEW and old have been blended together for the new Mercedes-Benz S-class which comes to the UK next year.

More than a dozen high-tech changes available for the new model include infra-red night vision, the latest generation of adaptive cruise control, brakes that automatically adjust to avoid accidents and a digital screen showing the speedometer.

Yet despite the latest model featuring futuristic technology, the exterior has been partly influenced by the past, with the wheel arches putting a modern slant on cars from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Power will initially come from a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel from its launch during early 2006.

Petrol engines will be the S350, a 3.5-litre engine, offering 272bhp, the S500 5.5-litre V8 offering 388bhp and the S600 6.0-litre V12 twin-turbo offering 517bhp. The diesel S320 CDI will be a modified version of the engine in the E-class, CLK and C-class, offering 231bhp.

Standard equipment for the UK is likely to include a redesigned version of the Comand system, which can be operated using a multifunction wheel on the transmission tunnel, replacing the automatic gearlever which has moved up to the steering column.

There will also be a hard-drive based satellite navigation system, which promises to be much faster than CD or DVD-based systems.

Prices for the car currently range from £47,500 to more than £145,000 for the S65 AMG, but indications are that because of a significant increase in equipment levels, prices might rise by up to 8%.

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