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2012 Mercedes S Class

On both road and track, the 2012 Mercedes S-Class makes a solid case for the crown of top sport sedan. But its stunning performance capability diminishes the car's elegance and luxury not one bit. At some point Mercedes is going to encounter the limits of this whole iron-fist-in-velvet-glove theme, but it marks a new level of silky potency. The increasingly stupendous horsepower levels of Mercedes' sport sedans mirrors the industry race for top honors. The difference is subtle but important. The 469-horsepower, supercharged, intercooled 5.5-liter V-8 engine producing that exhaust note provides prodigious - and seamless - thrust, while meeting the expectations of the most finicky luxury-car aficionados. The hand-built engines are carefully balanced and tuned, so that despite their high output (an astounding 516 lb-ft of torque), owners need not be bothered with the rasping, sputtering behavior of old-style performance engines.

The variable-boost power steering is a quicker 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, compared to 3.3 turns. In the driver's hands, the steering proved responsive and provides good feedback. But Curiously, in fast bends we found the steering seemed sluggish just off center at the beginning of turn-in, catching up as additional steering angle is added for a distinctly non-linear impression. In slower, tighter turns where more steering angle is required from turn-in, the effect wasn't apparent. The brakes employ Mercedes' electro-hydraulic system, which gives the company the ability to optimized brake response for both stopping and stability control. The stability control system works nicely, providing a safety net during brisk driving, without taking the reigns out of the driver's hands as too many such systems do. The 2012 Mercedes S-Class remains the ultra-luxury car against which other ultra-luxury aspirants are judged. 

The 2012 Mercedes S-Class is a beautiful line of cars, sleek and aerodynamic. They are smaller yet roomier than the bulky pre-2000 models they replaced. And they are extremely sophisticated. Microprocessors and onboard sensors instantaneously determine forces acting upon the car, filter the data, and adjust the handling. There's much technology here and learning all of the features takes some time. The most popular model, offers plenty of power for quick passes, merging into fast freeway traffic, and accelerating out of corners. Delivers much more responsive performance, with crisp acceleration that should please any closet hot-rodder. Electric seat belt tensioners are activated, and the power seats adjust to a lower and more upright position. Mercedes-Benz calls this system Pre-Safe, and points out that it is the only system in production today that engages before the impact, when milliseconds can minimize the energy spikes that cause seSpectraus injuries. 


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