For 2006, there’s a new S-Class model: the S65 AMG sedan, with a 6.0-litre V12 twin-turbocharged engine that cranks out 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.

Other changes include new 19-inch wheels on the S55 AMG; new wheels on the S500 Long Wheelbase when equipped with the AMG Sport Package; new optional wheels on the S600 Long Wheelbase; and on the outside, Midnight Blue has been discontinued, Barolo Red replaces Bordeaux Red, and Iridium Silver replaces Brilliant Silver.

There are seven models across the S-Class line; the S430 is available in both a standard and long wheelbase, while the others are long-wheelbase models.

Both S430 standard- and long-wheelbase models come strictly with 4MATIC four-wheel-drive, which normally runs in 60 per cent rear bias, but can send torque to any wheel if traction is lost. The S430 uses a 4.3-litre V8 with five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, and includes Airmatic air suspension, fourteen-way power-adjustable heated front seats, premium leather upholstery, Calyptus wood trim, six-CD Bose digital surround sound system and DVD-based navigation system.

The S500 is available in rear-wheel-drive or with 4MATIC, and uses a 5.0-litre V8. Two-wheel-drive models use a seven-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, while 4MATIC models use a five-speed automatic. The S500 carries the S430’s features and adds bi-Xenon headlamps, Nappa leather upholstery and Burl Walnut wood trim.

The S600 comes in rear-wheel-drive and uses a twin-turbocharged V12 with five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, and adds Active Body Control, 18-inch alloy wheels, exclusive Nappa leather, dynamic multi-contour front seats with heat and active ventilation, and a digital phone with voice control.

The S55 AMG sedan uses a supercharged AMG-specific V8 and a five-speed automatic transmission with AMG SpeedShift and fingertip shift controls. It also includes Active Body Control, 19-inch AMG wheels, AMG-design Nappa leather, and heated, active ventilated and Drive-Dynamic front seats.

The S65 AMG sedan uses a twin-turbo AMG-specific V12 with five-speed automatic with AMG SpeedShift and fingertip shift controls, and contains all of the S55’s features along with 19-inch anthracite-finish wheels and heated rear seats.

With its long wheelbase and seriously luxurious appointments, the S-Class is often used as a chauffeured car, but it’s an equal pleasure for an owner to get behind the wheel. Should you care to push it, a “pre-safe” feature uses sensors to detect vehicle dynamics; if the car “suspects” an imminent collision, it will snug up the front seatbelts, adjust the passenger’s seat position relative to the airbag, and if severe skidding indicates a possible rollover, it will even close the sunroof. The S600 and the S55 AMG make the same horsepower, but the S600’s torque difference propels that heavy car into the middle of next week. If that isn’t far enough, the S65 AMG’s 6.0-litre should put you about 45 days ahead.

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