2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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12 CITY / 18 HWY
Overall Quality
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What Changed for 2008:
  • S63 AMG model with 518-hp, 6.3-liter V-8 engine added
According to Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class is the world's best-selling luxury sedan. In production since 1954, the S-Class is now in its tenth generation (although it was not officially called the \"S-Class\" until 1972). Over the years, Mercedes has used the flagship S-Class to introduce new technology to the company's entire product line. The S-Class is credited with introducing air bags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and stability control, among other features, to the rest of the Mercedes family.

The current S-Class model was introduced in showrooms as a 2007 model. In North America, it was initially offered with a choice of 8- and 12-cylinder powerplants, and rear- or 4MATIC all-wheel drive. For 2008, a performance-oriented S63 AMG model has been added.

Model Lineup
Mercedes-Benz offers four different S-Class models for the 2008 model year. The S550 and S600 are luxury-oriented, while the S63 and S65, massaged with race-inspired engineering and performance parts from AMG, appeal more to the driving aficionado, the company claims. All S-Class models, regardless of trim level, are equipped with a standard equipment menu that includes full power accessories, leather upholstery, hand-polished wood trim, and a navigation system.

The 12-cylinder S600 upgrades many of the luxury features found in the 8-cylinder S550. The 12-cylinder model offers four-zone climate control, cabin humidity sensors, heated and Active Ventilated front seats, and fiber-optic ambient lighting. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on both models.

The 8-cylinder S63 AMG, and twin-turbo 12-cylinder S65 AMG, offer a sport-tuned suspension, AMG-calibrated Active Body Control (ABC), and 20-inch light alloy wheels as standard features. The options list for both AMG models is limited to a few select items, and a long list of choices with which owners can customize their purchases.

The four S-Class models are each equipped with a different powerplant and transmission. The S550 features a 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 hp, with 391 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to a 7-speed automatic, the S550 achieves 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds, according to the manufacturer. EPA fuel economy estimates are 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway. The S550 is the only S-Class model to be offered with the automaker's permanent 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

The S600 fits a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine. Rated at 510 hp, with 612 lb.-ft. of torque, a 5-speed automatic helps it to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 11 mpg city/17 mph highway.

The S63 AMG is powered by a 6.3-liter V-8 engine, rated at 518 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed, AMG-enhanced, SPEEDSHIFT automatic transmission brings the S63 AMG to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway.

Passengers in the flagship S65 AMG sit behind a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine. Rated at 604 hp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque, its power is routed through a 5-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifters. For the S65 AMG, 0-60 mph takes 4.2 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway.

Mercedes-Benz provides all S-Class owners a 48-month/50,000-mile limited warranty. Free 24-hour roadside assistance is available throughout the life of the vehicle.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers a high level of available safety features. Driver and front passenger are provided with adaptive dual-stage front air bags, side air bags, and 3-point self-tensioning seat belts. Second-row outboard passengers are provided with side-impact air bags and self-tensioning seat belts. A window curtain air bag is designed to deploy along the front and side windows. Pre-Safe, a Mercedes-designed system that prepares the vehicle and occupants for an impending collision, is standard on 2008 S-Class models. The universal child safety seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is also standard on rear outboard positions. The 2008 S-Class has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Mercedes-Benz 2008 S-Class models feature an innovative technology-laden instrument cluster to supplement the large navigation display in the center of the dashboard. Nestled between an analog tachometer and fuel gauge immediately in front of the driver is a multi-function digital display. By default, it offers a digital representation of an analog speedometer. At the driver's command, the display can be scrolled through various displays and menus. These include outside temperature, maintenance information, audio system information, navigation guidance, and Distronic Plus parking displays. Depending on model and options, some 2008 S-Class models are equipped to display Night View Assist-an infrared projection of the road ahead-on the screen.

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