The 2010 S-Class comes in a variety of trims: the V8-powered S550, the V12-powered S600 and a hybrid powered S400. The S550 has a 5.5L V8 engine that delivers 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. The S600 features a 5.5L V12 engine delivering 510 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. All are rear wheel drive, with 4MATIC all-wheel drive available on the S550.
Again for 2010, there are also two high-performance hand-built AMG versions: the S63 and the S65. The S63 comes with a 6.3L V8 engine that makes 518 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The S65 gives drivers an amazing 6.0L V12 twin-turbo engine with 604 horsepower and an astounding 738 pound-feet of torque that starts at 2000 rpm. The S63 and S65 have suspensions that are a bit stiffer and brakes that are upgraded both in size and with composite brake discs.
The S400 Blue Hybrid is new for 2010. It utilizes a 3.5L V6 Atkinson-cycle engine, producing 295 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Working in tandem with a 144-volt lithium ion battery, the S400 is claimed by Mercedes-Benz to be 26% more fuel-efficient than the S550.
All V8s come with a 7-speed automatic transmission, while all V12s get a 5-speed automatic transmission. The lighter weight of the V8 and two extra gears makes the cars feel quicker on a curvy road, while the S600 and S65 can create so much torque that they seem to effortlessly glide up to speed -- and stay there.
All four S-Class models offer great handling while maintaining a smooth ride, thanks to the standard Airmatic suspension on S550 trims and the Active Body Control that comes with the S600 and both AMG cars. This system adjusts the suspension at each corner to keep the body flat during tight cornering and lowers the car at higher speeds for automatic crosswind stabilization. Inside, passengers are kept comfortable, with seats that boast better adjustability than those in most vehicles, vast amounts of rear legroom and supple leather and wood trims.
Steering-wheel shift paddles are now standard across the S-Class line, as are redesigned push-pull power-window controls. All models also get a new Brake Hold feature that makes uphill starts a little easier.
Standard safety features across the line include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, a full array of air bags, electronic stability control, traction control, auto-on headlights, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring .
Standard features across the lineup are plentiful, and include heated headlamp and windshield washers, a SmartKey system, a power trunk closer and fiber-optic ambient lighting. The S600 adds items such as Dynamic Multi-contour seats with massage, heated/ventilated back seats, a night vision system, Distronic adaptive cruise control, 4-zone climate control and sunshades.
Optional equipment on the S550 includes Night Vision, Rear Parking Aid, an entertainment system, remote start, sunroof and heated rear seats. These items come standard on all other trims.
Now packaged with the Distronic Plus cruise control are a Parking Guidance feature and Blind Spot Assistant. Camera and radar-based driver assistance systems include Adaptive High-beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and the PRE-SAFE brake, which intervenes automatically before an impending rear-end collision and applies maximum braking pressure. There is also Attention Assist, a driver drowsiness monitor.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has undergone some minor but highly anticipated design changes for 2010. For starters, the body-colored light strips that ran through the tail lamps have been replaced with LED lighting. Daytime LED running lights are now fitted into edges of the exterior front lamps, and the rear lights now have 52 distinctively arranged LEDs in the two taillights. LED lights last longer than HID headlamps and can project up to 1,000 feet without blinding oncoming traffic. There is also standard interior ambient LED lighting for 2010, with a choice of amber, neutral white and polar ice-blue color.
On the outside, the grille is more pronounced and arrow-shaped, accented by and a new front contoured bumper and a chrome strip below the intakes. Exhaust tailpipes on all S-Class trims are now integrated into the rear bumper. Inside, the steering wheel has improved aesthetics and feel, while the rims and airbag modules throughout the dash are lined with soft premium leather as standard. The LCD center-console display can now act as a split screen, allowing, for example, the driver to view a GPS map while the passenger watches a video.
Also new for 2010 is the introduction of the S400 Blue Hybrid. Using a compact and innovative 140-volt lithium battery, the S400 gets an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway.