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All-New Mercedes-Benz S-Class Debuts in Detroit

5 January 1999

All-New Mercedes-Benz S-Class Debuts in Detroit
   World Standard for Premium Luxury Ups the Ante for Safety, Performance,
                        Comfort and Useful Technology

    DETROIT, Jan. 4 -- The model-year 2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
premium luxury sedan made its U.S. debut today during press activities
preceding the North American International Auto Show (Jan. 9-17) at Detroit's
Cobo Center.  The all-new S-Class will arrive in Mercedes-Benz Centers across
the U.S. in spring.  The new flagship sedan is designed to set new standards
for safety, performance, occupant comfort and value in the premium luxury
    The striking design of the all-new S-Class is highlighted by a coupe-like
profile and a unique "face" reminiscent of the company's oval-headlight
models.  Although total length is three inches shorter, rear legroom --
already among the greatest in the industry -- has been increased by nearly an
inch over the previous model.  Making use of a variety of lightweight
materials such as high-strength aluminum and magnesium, the new car is also
nearly 500 pounds lighter than the previous S-Class, providing even better
performance and fuel efficiency.
    When the S-Class arrives this spring, there will be two V8-powered models:
the S430 with a 275-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 and the S500 with a 302-horsepower
5.0-liter V8.
    Professor Juergen Hubbert, DaimlerChrysler Board member in charge of
passenger cars, said, "This car is not just impressive in its interior
dimensions.  In addition to its brilliant technology, the especially
fascinating feature of this car is its stylish elegance, both inside and out."
    The leaner, sleeker S-Class features groundbreaking automotive technology
which is likely to lead the way for the rest of the auto industry.  For
example, its smart passenger airbag can deploy with partial force in a
low-speed collision and full force at higher speeds.  In addition to full
frontal airbags, the new S-Class comes with head-protection curtain airbags
that span each side of the car, as well as a door-mounted side airbag in each
of its four doors.
    Although frontal collisions are by far the most common type of accident,
side impacts are more likely to cause serious injury.  The curtain airbag
deploys like an air mattress to protect the head and shoulders in a side
collision, and it works in conjunction with the door-mounted sidebags, which
provide protection for the chest and hip area.

    GPS Navigation System Standard
    The all-new S-Class will come standard with a satellite-based navigation
system, and its display on the center console is also used for the audio
systems and telephone.  This integrated COMAND (Cockpit Management And Data)
system uses fiber optic technology for fast response and can be directed by
voice commands, controls on the steering wheel or buttons around the display
    The steering wheel of the all-new Mercedes S-Class provides the driver
with far more than just a way to steer the car.  Four large illuminated rocker
buttons provide an easy and convenient way to control many of the car's
systems and also a method to diagnose any faults that occur.
    The S-Class for the new millennium marks the debut of the world's first
smart cruise control system, which can automatically maintain a pre-set
distance behind the car in front with the help of a radar sensor.  While the
optional smart cruise control (available in September, 1999) can vary the
accelerator like conventional cruise control, it can also maintain the desired
following distance -- even by applying partial braking automatically if
needed.  An LCD diagram in the center of the speedometer graphically depicting
two vehicles shows what's happening.
    Even climate control is "smart" on the all-new S-Class: the system can
vary temperature and air flow individually, not only in response to where the
sun is shining but also based on where each occupant is sitting.

    TeleAid: Help Is Just A Button Away
    The innovative TeleAid system that will debut on the all-new S-Class
offers three distinct kinds of services from a three-button module on the
rear-view mirror.  In an emergency situation, the customer can press an "SOS"
button, which will immediately establish voice contact with Protection One, a
provider contracted by Mercedes-Benz.  The Protection One representative can
dispatch local police or other emergency services.
    Pressing this button also transmits to Protection One crucial information
about the customer, including the precise location of the vehicle (through the
GPS tracking) and the model of the car and its color (to help emergency
services visually locate the car quickly).  Protection One can also dispatch
local police, fire or emergency services if voice contact is not established
(e.g., the customer is unable to respond).
    If a collision deploys any airbag, the system automatically establishes
contact with Protection One, relaying all pertinent information.  The onboard
transmitter is crash-secure, and has access to redundant antennae.  TeleAid
includes two other buttons for non-emergency use.  One marked with the symbol
of a wrench puts the customer in contact with the Mercedes-Benz Roadside
Assistance.  Another marked with the letter "i" connects the customer with the
Mercedes-Benz Client Assistance Center, which can answer customer questions
about the car, for example.

    A Sedan That Drives Like A Sports Coupe
    For the best possible balance of performance and comfort, the chassis of
the millennium S-Class uses fully independent four-link front and five-link
rear suspension with a new type of air suspension incorporating the
Mercedes-Benz adaptive damping system.  Rack-and-pinion steering provides a
variable ratio and speed-sensitive power assist -- both for responsive "road
feel" at speed and, at the same time, light steering effort during low-speed
maneuvers such as parking.
    Large four-wheel vented, cross-drilled disc brakes are enhanced with
four-channel ABS anti-lock brakes and Brake Assist, which can reduce braking
distances in emergency or "panic" stops.  (Brake Assist was the first system
of its kind when it was introduced on many model-year 1998 Mercedes models,
and was made standard on all Mercedes passenger vehicles for model-year 1999.)
In addition, the standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP) helps to keep the
car going where the driver is steering it, and ESP incorporates traction
control as well.

    Taking Luxury To A Higher Level
    The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been among the roomiest luxury cars
in the world, and the all-new series continues in this tradition.  Despite the
reduced length, width and height of the all-new S-Class relative to its
predecessor, interior room and comfort remains at segment-leading levels.
Rear legroom, in fact, has been increased by 7/10-inch.
    The luxury treatment starts as you enter the car.  Like its predecessor,
the all-new S-Class comes equipped as standard with hydraulic door-closing
assists and a trunk-closing assist.
    The overall design theme of the S-Class interior conveys luxurious warmth,
from its standard full leather upholstery to the way the instrument panel
flows into the door panels.  The design goal was to reduce driving stress as
much as technology and good design sense would allow.  Although the focus is
on function and comfort, the design is meant to please the eyes, too.  Genuine
wood trim is standard -- burl walnut on the S500 and eucalyptus for the S430.
The S500 interior notches up the luxurious feel with exclusive Nappa leather
    The previous S-Class introduced 12-way power front seats that could
actually vary the length of the seat cushion, among other adjustments.  The
all-new S-Class seats offer 14-way adjustment, plus an innovative new
head restraint design that can function as a pillow for maximum comfort.  The
seats feature standard "multicontour" power adjustments, which adjusts lumbar
    A special Climate Comfort ventilated seat available on the S500 model
circulates air through the seat cushion to draw off perspiration in hot
weather.  The climate seat also features an "Active Lumbar" mode in which air
chambers built into the seatback can be programmed to breathe -- to inflate
and deflate fully about twice each minute.  This slight movement has proven to
be an effective orthopedic way to relax the spine and back muscles.
    The previous Mercedes-Benz S-Class elevated the quality of sound available
in a car with its innovative Bose Beta sound system.  In the all-new S-Class,
the Bose Beta II sound system is designed to set the standard for sound
clarity and soundstage positioning in a passenger vehicle.  Digital signal
processing allows the driver to select different soundstage settings to
optimize the sound for the number of occupants on board and the listening
program.  From a driver in the car alone listening to talk radio to a full car
listening to symphonic or vocal music, there is a setting to make the
listening experience more enjoyable and memorable.
    Pricing for the all-new S-Class, which will be announced at the North
American International Auto Show in Detroit is certain to establish a new
value paradigm in the premium luxury segment.