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BS Motoring | June 28, 2005

If you have just booked an S-Class at your neighbourhood Mercedes-Benz dealer, we think you need a rethink. That's because Daimler Chrysler has just taken the wraps off their smashing replacement for the S-Class you, um, just booked.

The new S may be too sporty and aggressive for your tastes, but ladies and gentlemen, you'd better get used to the new breed of aggressive Mercs.

Gone is the stately presence, the battle-tank build and the understated lines, and instead come pronounced wheel arches, a dynamic front-end treatment, a wedgy, sporty profile... and, er, a bootlid that apes the much-maligned BMW 7 Series' rear end!

Still, a flagship Mercedes is a flagship Mercedes, and there's no doubt that they will hold on to their leadership position in the worldwide luxury saloon segment for a long time to come.

Over 485,000 units of the current generation S-Class have been sold across the globe, since its launch in 1998 -- and in the process also earned the title of 'Best Car in the world'.

The new S-Class will be seen in flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September and deliveries in Europe will start soon thereafter. So how long will it take for the right-hand drive versions to hit Indian roads? We think by early next year. So until then, better read on and see what the new S is all about.

Like the model it replaces, the new S-Class boasts fresh technical innovations, especially in safety and comfort. And of course, to match with its new looks, will be even better to drive thanks to developments in driving dynamics and a bunch of new powerplants. Also, though it may not show it, the new S is larger than its predecessor across all aspects.

Let's get to the engine choices first. The entry S 350, as you might have guessed, is powered by a 272 bhp 3500cc V6, while the S 500 gets a new V8 -- the 5000cc unit develops a staggering 388 bhp and a muscular 53.4 kgm of torque kicking in at a mere 2800 revs onwards.

How about a timing of just 5.4 seconds to attain 100 kph? Impressed? Wait, there's more. Those who love the sticky fuel will opt for the new 231 bhp S 320 CDI -- a third-generation common-rail direct injection turbodiesel that generates an awesome 54.4 kgm of torque at -- believe it or not -- a miserable 1600 rpm onwards.

But those who know their S-Class Mercs will settle for nothing less than a 12-cylinder engine. The top-of-the-range S 600 now gets into supercar territory, and unlike supercars, you can carry your entire brood and their luggage too!

The 6000cc V12 produces a mind-blowing 517 horses and a gut-wrenching 83.4 kgm of turning force at just 1900 rpm! Can't wait to see what our friends at AMG and Brabus have planned. Guess what, all engines will be mated to Mercedes' innovative 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Among the innovations the new S debuts with is the Brake Assist Plus, which senses the vehicle ahead by radar and warns you if you're too close to it. And if you still don't heed the warning, it starts applying the brakes gently by itself. (A small clarification here: the S-Class doesn't drive by itself. At least, not yet.)

Then there is Pre-Safe, which understands potential accident situations and tenses the seatbelts and inflates the seat air cushions to support passengers. Plus you get the night view assist system which is based on infra-red technology that lets you know what obstacles are around in your path through a display in the instrument cluster.

While you are basking in the luxurious accoutrements that are a hallmark of this flagship Merc, do take in the Comand system -- a BMW-like iDrive system that's even more intuitive to understand.

The new S-Class seats are also highly adjustable, and to make you even more comfortable, Airmatic air suspension system comes as standard. There are a host of other exciting things left to discover when you get yourself the new S. Think about it.

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