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New engines, better economy and safety reinvigorate big Benz

23 Feb 2011

IT MAY not be the newest rich kid on the block, but the latest big Benz limousine is by no means lost among its newer and flashier rivals, thanks to a heart transplant of Phar Lap proportions.

Along with added safety features and fresh personalisation options, the W221 S-class suddenly seems like the standard of the segment again, with impressive performance and efficiency gains.

They are enough for most people to overlook the now-slightly dated interior.

Better still, the volume-selling S350 V6 petrol is no longer the poor relation since it now moves like you expect a Mercedes flagship would – effortlessly.

But why buyers would choose that over the stronger and far more economical BlueTec diesel – Australia’s first Euro-6 emissions-meeting vehicle – is beyond us, since that also happens to be the cheapest.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 February 2011 to 1 October 2013

Previous model

W221 S-Class

Released: November 2009
Ended: February 2011
Family Tree: S-Class

MERCEDES-BENZ released a revised version of its ninth-generation S-class sedan in Australia in late 2009, featuring small visual titivations, a cabin material upgrade and more standard features.

While there were no mechanical changes, minor modifications to airflow and other efficiency helped to improve fuel economy, while Daimler added more safety features.

Engine choices are as before, which means the volume-selling 200kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol, 173kW/540Nm 3.0L V6 CDI diesel, 285kW/530Nm 5.5L V8, and 386kW/630Nm 6.2L V8 S63 AMG, and all tied to a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox.

There were also a pair of V12/five-speed auto combinations – the 380kW/830Nm 5.5L S600 L and the range-topping 450kW/1000Nm 6.0L S65 AMG. These – along with all W221s slated for Oz – are rear-wheel drive.

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