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GERMANY: New Mercedes S-class costs more

By just-auto.com editorial team | 20 June 2005

DaimlerChrysler is raising prices on the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, its flagship model that is the best-selling luxury car of its class in the world, the German-American automaker told Reuters on Monday.

The overhauled S-class, showcase of the group's most advanced automotive technology, goes on sale on Friday with the first German market deliveries scheduled for September.

A new S-Class with a 272 horsepower V6, 3.5-litre petrol engine carries an ex-factory price of €70,760 ($US85,880) in Germany including value-added tax, a company spokesman in Stuttgart told Reuters.

A comparable outgoing S-Class model costs €65,946 and has a 245-horsepower engine.

The price for a new, more powerful S500 model rises to €89,668 from €83,694 euros. It has a new V8 engine boasting 388 horsepower versus 306 for the current model.

Reuters said a 3.2-litre V6 diesel motor becomes available in the first quarter of 2006, as does the top-of-the line S600 version with a V12 and 517 horsepower.

Analysts told the news agency that success with the new S-Class is crucial for Mercedes-Benz's efforts to move beyond a series of quality problems that led this year to its biggest recall ever and to re-establish the brand as the car of choice for the well-heeled.

Reuters said the new S-Class is longer, taller and more powerful than its predecessor, of which more than 470,000 units have been sold since it made its debut in 1998, including 53,200 units last year, accounting for 5% of Mercedes-Benz global car sales.

By comparison BMW's top-line 7-Series car - four years younger than the S-Class - sold 47,689 units last year, the report noted.

Reuters said technical innovations standard on the new S-Class include a radar-assisted braking system that detects objects ahead and applies the proper amount of braking even if the driver doesn't.

Sharp braking also triggers the car to tighten the front seat belts and inflate air cushions that support the occupants. The side windows close automatically when an accident looms.

Two infra-red headlamps illuminate the road in the dark, detecting obstacles more than 150 metres ahead and relaying them to a dashboard display. Seats that massage occupants' backs at the touch of a button are optional, the report added.