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Old 11th April 2009, 12:37   #1
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Default World Report Best Super Luxury Cars

U.S. News and World Report Best Super Luxury Cars

2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class - What the Auto Press Says
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class ranks 1 out of 7 Super Luxury Cars (second 2009 7-Series). This ranking is based on our analysis of 83 published reviews and test drives of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the showcase for what the world's oldest automaker can do. It offers a choice of two exemplary engines, a state-of-the-art interior that combines old-world luxury with advanced electronics, and prestige. Reviewers say, however, that it can be far more expensive than its competition, and its electronic driver interface is needlessly complicated.

"The S-Class defines personal luxury," raves the Chicago Tribune. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel comments, "If there is such a thing as an embarrassment of riches, surely the Mercedes-Benz S550 luxury sedan is somewhere on the list." Standout features include an adjustable air suspension that allows the driver to adjust ride firmness to driving conditions as well as the car's extraordinary seats -- which use 11 separate inflatable air chambers to change shape, keeping occupants stable even through aggressive maneuvers.

But the S-Class sometimes tries to be too many things to too many segments of the market. The least expensive S-Class, the S550, competes with the Lexus LS, Audi A8 and other premium luxury sedans -- and it's more expensive than all of them. The most expensive S-Class, the extraordinary S65 AMG, costs more than twice as much as the S550 - nearing the price tag of vehicles from ultra-premium makes like Rolls Royce and Bentley. With that incredible span, Mercedes has produced a car that might be too expensive for competition in the super-luxury class, and not exclusive enough to compete in the rarified air above it. That could push some premium buyers to more exclusive nameplates.

The S-Class is sold in an S550 model and an all-wheel-drive S550 4Matic edition powered by a 5.5-liter V8 making 382 horsepower. A more athletic S600 is driven by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 putting out 510 horsepower. Two high-performance AMG editions are reviewed separately.

For 2009, some previously-optional features are offered as standard equipment. These include a leather-wrapped wooden steering wheel, nightview assist, a pair of steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, and the S600's 19-inch wheels.

"The planet's best luxury car." -- Car and Driver

"One of the finest luxury sedans one can buy short of much more expensive options from Bentley, Maybach or Rolls-Royce. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will no doubt satisfy just about any ultra-luxury-sedan buyer. But it's still worth taking a look at other options. Specifically, the all-new 2009 BMW 750i should be a more athletic-handling alternative to the S550, and the often-overlooked Audi A8." -- Edmunds

"S-Class defines luxury motoring. Encompassing serenity and inspiring road manners are among its hallmarks. Unfortunately, cars of this caliber also force the driver to interact with diversionary hi-tech features, many of which require far too many steps to adjust. In that regard, the S-Class runs with the pack." -- Consumer Guide

"The Mercedes-Benz S-class has been the best-selling car in its class for decades because it looks good (unlike the BMW 7-series), it has a reputation for quality (unlike Cadillac and Jaguar), and the three-pointed star on its hood is a beacon of status and wealth (unlike Audi)." -- Automobile Magazine

+"The new S550 is a superb automobile and a techno wonder, sure to generate ooohhs and aaahhs wherever it goes." -- Motor Trend

"The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been considered a luxury sedan archetype - classy, coddling, yet practical. Bursting with technological advancements and endowed with superb mechanical refinement that must be experienced to truly appreciate, the S-Class remains a top choice for corporate executives, diplomats, celebrities and -- given such high-clout clientele -- armored-car outfitters." -- Forbes

+"There probably is something the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan can't do. What that may be escapes us at the moment." -- Chicago Tribune

+"It's another gorgeous German V8 luxury limo, with its cloud-like air suspensions, big tires, massive brakes, perfect steering -- a great walloping overload of effortless performance and pleasure, an endless source of sweet machine satisfaction, more car than you would ever need, a sheer, decadent surfeit." -- Los Angeles Times

S-Class Performance - 9.2 (Excellent)
In its least expensive form, the S-Class is seen as a fine performer. Driving the S 550, Motor Trend says "nobody's going to want for power in this Benz." In its higher trim level, it offers blistering acceleration. Both models are surprisingly agile for their size, reviewers say. The S-Class rides on a unique suspension system that uses four air bladders to support the vehicle, which inflate and deflate to level the car in response to every turn. Every reviewer seems to take time to remark on the S-Class's handling, with many comparing it to much smaller sport sedans, even though this car weighs nearly two-and-a-half tons.

S-Class Exterior - 9.0 (Very Good)
The 2009 Mercedes S-Class is not a radical departure from the classic look of big Mercedes sedans, but it does update the look. The Detroit News says, "A lot of attention was paid to the car's silhouette. Where the previous model was slab-sided," the new S-Class "is defined by bold wheel arches, side creases and a long hood." Those looking for raw sex appeal in a super-luxury car might want to consider its cousin, the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

S-Class Interior - 9.8 (Very Good)
As the flagship of the world's oldest luxury automaker, the S-Class offers an interior of exceptional luxury and sophistication. Reviewers continually praise its 14-way power adjustable seats, which include air-filled bolsters that inflate to cradle passengers through sharp turns. Reviews also make note of the advanced technology inside the cabin. Motor Trend says "buyers may have trouble simply figuring out which gizmo to play with next." Many reviewers, however, dislike its COMAND driver interface, which controls entertainment, climate control and navigation features through a single screen.

S-Class Safety - NA
Neither the federal government nor the insurance industry has crash tested the S-class.. With an extensive list of safety features, the S-Class seems likely to perform well if they ever do. The Los Angeles Times says, "In a quest for what marketers call 'key differentiators,' Mercedes has come back to its traditional safety message." The S-Class features Mercedes' PreSafe system, which senses an impending collision and responds by quickly closing open windows and sunroofs, swelling the seat bolsters to provide more support during an impact, cinching seatbelts and priming brakes with extra power.

S-Class Reliability - 9.0 (Very Good)
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power's automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). Mercedes protects buyers of the 2009 S-Class with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, which buyers can extend at an additional cost. During the first year of ownership, certain maintenance procedures are complimentary.

Source: GermanCarZone.com
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Old 12th April 2009, 00:55   #2
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The S is, and always has been, the benchmark in luxury. That the W221 is so good relative to its competition and so 3 years since the platforms launch says a lot. My personal choice would be the new 7, purely for the way she looks and the element of sportiness. But if the back seat is your priority, nothing - save for the LS - can touch the S CLass.

I don't entirely agree with the report though. For instance, the S class' reliability has been far from even an average rating. And the Lexus LS is a match for the luxury. I can tell you that from personal experience.
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