NEW FOR 2009:

– All 19-inch wheels get all-season tires
– Technology Package of Distronic Plus active cruise control, Park Assist, Night View Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring now standard on S600 and S65 AMG
– "Pull-push" replaces "push-push" for window switches
– Shift paddles replace shift buttons
– Panoramic sunroof and rear sunshade now have one-touch closing
– New trunk-mounted 12-volt power outlet

Having been completely redesigned for 2007, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is unchanged for 2009, save for minor tweaks, including a new standard Technology Package on the S600 and S65 AMG, and new interior switches.

The S-Class consists of five models, each with a specific drivetrain. The short-wheelbase S450 4Matic uses a 4.6-litre V8 with seven-speed automatic; the S550 4Matic uses a 5.5-litre V8 with seven-speed automatic; the S600 uses a turbocharged 5.5-litre V12 with five-speed automatic; the S63 AMG uses a 6.2-litre V8 with seven-speed automatic; and the S65 AMG uses a 6.0-litre bi-turbo V12 with five-speed automatic. The 4Matic versions use an all-wheel drive system with 45/55 front/rear torque bias. Each model has suspension, steering, brakes and stability control program specific to it.

Features on the S450 4Matic include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, Airmatic suspension with adaptive damping system, COMAND APS with navigation, PCMCIA interface for MP3 playback from memory cards, Harman/Kardon Logic7 Surround Sound system, Sirius satellite radio, matte Burl Walnut wood trim, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescopic column, power sunroof, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side mirrors, power-folding mirrors with integrated turn signals, pneumatic rear head restraints, power windows with one-touch up/down, power rear sunshade, active bi-Xenon headlamps with washers and cornering lights, electronic parking brake, power-assisted trunk soft closure, two-stage rain-sensing wipers, heated washer system, 12-way adjustable heated front seats, SmartKey keyless system, garage door opener, continuously variable door-hold system, cruise control, anti-theft alarm with tow-away warning, tire pressure monitoring system, and TeleAid emergency calling system.

The S550 4Matic adds 19-inch alloy wheels.

The S600 adds Active Body Control, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, high-gloss Burl Walnut wood trim, Passion leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, Alcantara roof liner, leather and Burl Walnut steering wheel, Drive-Dynamic multi-contour front seats with massage function, Keyless Go, advanced parking guidance, adaptive cruise control, rearview camera, Night View Assist, blind spot monitoring, and unique among the models, standard rear climate control.

The S63 AMG builds on the S550 and adds 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, Active Body Control, Passion leather upholstery, Alcantara roof liner, wheel-mounted shift paddles, and multi-contour front seats.

The S65 AMG builds on the S600 and adds 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, and wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Depending on the model, various luxury items can be added, including the Drive-Dynamic seats, heated rear seats, electronic trunk closure, AMG sport package, premium rear seat package and active cruise control.

Available in two wheelbase lengths, the S-Class is seriously luxurious and also seriously capable, from the driver-oriented S450, through the spacious S550 and S600, to the AMG models. Hard-core enthusiasts will prefer the S65 AMG’s raw power, but the S63 AMG costs considerably less, and at a quick glance it’s hard to tell them apart.

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