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Vehicle Profile: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550
Setting the luxury bar ever higher.

For those who’ve been driving Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedans for some time, the qualities that make the 2012 S550 stand apart from other full-size premium luxury sedans are well known. For anyone new to the virtues of the S-Class, a look at the 2012 S550 or, better yet, taking a test-drive, will prove an eye-opening experience.
Starting at an MSRP of $94,500, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550 exemplifies the brand’s grasp of true premium-class luxury, moving the bar ever higher for competitors. With an all-new powertrain for 2012, the S550 delivers even more power while consuming less fuel than before. The largest sedan in the Mercedes-Benz stable, the 2012 S-Class rides on a 124.6-inch wheelbase. Other brands might offer a similar size as a “long-wheelbase” model. With the Mercedes-Benz S550, it’s the only wheelbase, and you experience its benefits in the 42.3 inches of rear-seat legroom and the incomparably smooth ride.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class models have long been known as supremely smooth riding cars. In the current-generation models, including the S550, AIRMATIC semi-active suspension uses electronically controlled air springs that will have you gliding over rough surfaces in unqualified comfort. Inside the S550, you relax in 16-way power-adjustable, Heated and Active Ventilated front seats, which offer three levels of heating and cooling. On cold days, combine both functions to circulate seating heat more quickly.
For the ultimate in front-seat comfort, treat yourself to the optional Active Multicontour front seats with massage. Adjust lumbar supports, side bolsters and shoulder supports to your liking, and then set the active side bolsters to automatically increase side support when you’re driving through curves, or even in a potential crash situation. The massage feature, which offers several settings, helps prevent fatigue on long-distance drives.
If you frequently carry rear-seat passengers, opting for the eight-way power-adjustable Heated and Active Ventilated rear seats will ensure memorable comfort for them as well. If the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550 feels like a luxury private jet to ride in, then the new engine and transmission for 2012 make it feel like a jet to drive. The 2012 model’s 4.6-liter V8 benefits from twin-turbochargers and direct fuel injection. The resulting 429 hp and 516 lb/ft of torque eclipse the previous 5.5-liter V8 engine’s performance.
Together with a newly revised seven-speed automatic transmission, the more powerful engine consumes less fuel, offering a satisfying 25 mpg in highway driving. More S-Class drivers are choosing the available 4MATIC All-Wheel Drive, which bolsters handling and boosts your confidence at the wheel no matter the weather or road condition.
In the Mercedes-Benz S550, even the car’s side glass contributes to the quiet ride. It reflects infrared light and UV rays to help keep the interior cool on sunny days, and it’s laminated to reduce noise. The library quiet interior makes the Mercedes-Benz S550 an ideal listening room for your favorite music, which, as you’d expect, can play in just about any digital format you have. Connect your iPod or other MP3 player, or stream music from your smartphone and play it through the standard 600-watt, 15-speaker harman/kardon® LOGIC7® surround-sound system. Hard drive navigation with Zagat Survey, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sirius Traffic, HD Radio and a six-disc CD/DVD player are included, and the 7.2GB Music Register lets you copy music from your CDs, DVDs and other devices and store it in the car’s audio system.
Because choice is also a luxury, a Bang & Olufsen® BeoSound premium sound system is available to provide the ultimate in cabin music enjoyment. Its two amplifiers send twice the power of the standard audio system through 15 high-performance speakers and four strategically placed acoustic lenses.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550 makes controlling onboard infotainment functions easy with the Cockpit Management and Data (COMAND) system, which uses dual, eight-inch color-LCD widescreens. The console-mounted controller puts audio, video, hands-free calling and navigation functions at your fingertips. Or, use the Enhanced Voice Control to control the phone, audio and navigation by speaking city names and your contacts normally. Grammar school teachers might not like that the system will understand “yeah” as “yes,” but when you’re in a hurry, you will.
Order the available SPLITVIEW dual-content front display and you can view the navigation system while your front passenger simultaneously views a movie. The available Rear Seat Entertainment System puts LCD screens into the front head restraints, letting rear passengers watch two different programs.
Mercedes-Benz remains a leader in developing new safety technologies. The 2012 S550 offers the latest Mercedes-Benz advances to help you stay in lane, alert you to drowsiness, identify pedestrians in the dark and help maintain a safe distance from vehicles traveling ahead.
Others have tried to imitate the Mercedes-Benz S550, but this premium sedan remains the pinnacle in its class. Come in to take a close look and see why.


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