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Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2000)

SEE ALSO: Mercedes Buyer's Guide

by Carey Russ

Mercedes-Benz Full Line Video footage (22:26)

The previous S-Class was very much the epitome of Mercedes-Benz of the 1980s - overpowering and Teutonically austere. The styling was functional if stern, brooking no nonsense. In fact, the whole car had a "no nonsense" attitude, bordering on arrogance. It was well-deserved arrogance, to be sure, born of the knowledge that the S-Class was one of the top few luxury sedans made. But, hey, lighten up...

The 2000 S-Class is everything the old one was and everything it wasn't. Welcome to a kinder, gentler premium luxury sedan. Mercedes hasn't ignored the inroads Japanese and American luxury manufacturers have made in the past decade. The new S- Class is the most American-oriented Mercedes-Benz ever. Window lifts on the doors, stereo controls on the steering wheel, and well as the expected bank-vault solidity. During my time with a mid-range S500, I had occasion to put in a 400-mile day of travel. The S500 was the perfect vehicle for the job, refreshingly quiet and supremely comfortable. And, not only is it top-notch on the highway, as expected, it has abilities far better than expected when the road gets interesting. This one's far too good for the chauffeur, but be sure to read the manual completely before attempting to use the navigation system. The S-Class is still what happens when German engineers are asked to build the world's best car.