You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class First Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/8/2005 Todd Lassa, The Manufacturer

No car has been more photographed in the last couple of years than the camouflaged next-generation Mercedes S-Class sedan. We knew the W221 (actually, V221, as the "V" designates the long-wheelbase version shipped to North America) would be bigger and bolder, with a Maybach rump that rivals the BMW 7 Series's tail in its prominence. But the large creased and flared fenders are a surprise. They were well hidden under spy-car camouflage and will remind you of a Mitsubishi Endeavor or outgoing-generation Eclipse.

Making its September debut at the Frankfurt auto show, the S launches in Europe shortly after. The U.S. gets it last, in January, along with right-hand-drive Japan-bound models. Wheelbase of the V221 is 2.5 inches longer than the current car's, and overall length is up 1.5 inches. Wheels are 18-inch standard, 19-inch optional, with 20s for the upcoming 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V-8 S63 AMG. The S63 launches next May with 507 horsepower (in European trim) and 516 pound-feet of torque (AMG also plans a C63, E63, CLK63, M63, and R63). Mercedes hints that even more power is on the way when it breathes on the engine with turbo or supercharging. With V-6s and turbodiesels for Europe, the U.S. gets only V-8s and V-12s. The engine at launch is a new four-valve 5.5-liter V-8, rated 388 horses and 396 pound-feet. At the tail of the outgoing car's run, Mercedes is selling short-wheelbase, 3.7-liter V-6-powered S350s in the U.S., with prices starting in the mid-$60s. If this goes over well, Mercedes may bring us the W221 with the new 268-horse, 3.5-liter V-6.

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image 1. Grille is wider and flatter to "lower" the car visually
2. Hood is taller for more engine clearance; meets European Union pedestrian safety standards
3. Car is 1.1 inches taller, 2.7 inches wider than the 220
4. A panoramic sunroof is optional
5. New Distronic Plus adaptive cruise can see from 8.0 inches to 500 feet at 0-to-125 mph with 24-gig short-range radar
6. Front fenders are a complex stamping, with shoulder-line and beltline creases meeting bold fender flares
7. Enhanced Presafe and advanced Brake Assist Plus use radar to register vehicles ahead, warns if the gap is too small. It can stop the car completely if the system detects impending impact
8. Lots of tumblehome in the rakish C-pillar, with crease at the top of the fender that flows into trunk line
9. Trunk volume is up 10 percent
10. Taillamps and trunk bustle are the most obvious Maybach cues
11. Mercedes claims improved standard Airmatic suspension and Active Body Control contribute to better ride quality
12. 18-inch wheels are nine-spoke; 19-inch wheels are 22-spoke; 20-inch AMG wheels are five-spoke
13. Coefficient of drag is under 0.27 without sideview mirrors. Weight of S500 is 4145 pounds
14. Presafe now automatically closes side windows

© Provided by MotorTrend

More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon