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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - S-Class - S600

Detroit show: Benz unveils self-stopping S-Class

Top of the stops: The new Mercedes-Benz S600 featuring a bigger, more fuel-efficient V12 engine can automatically slam on its brakes to minimise a high-speed crash.

Flagship Mercedes S-Class features high-speed auto braking, bigger V12

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Mercedes-Benz logo14 Jan 2014

MERCEDES-Benz has revealed a more prestige version of its S-Class limousine featuring automated braking that can slam on the anchors for an emergency stop from speeds as high as 200km/h.

The S600, as the traditional, non-AMG badged range topper has been known for years, will roll out a more sophisticated version of the car-maker’s Collision Prevention Assist system – already standard on all S-Class models – adding a “Plus” to the end of its name.

“In addition to the adaptive Brake Assist system, which helps to protect against collisions at speeds of over 7 km/h, this system now features a further function: if the danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles,” Mercedes-Benz announced at the Detroit motor show, where the S600 had its official reveal overnight.

According to the German luxury brand, the system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 50 km/h, and is able to completely avoid a rear-end collision at a speed of up to 40 km/h.

The big Benz still features a twin-turbocharged V12 engine under its long bonnet. However, instead of using the 5.5-litre engine of its $410,000-plus predecessor, the new S600 steps up to a 6.0-litre V8, with power lifting by 10kW to 390kW, and torque remaining at a stump-pulling 830Nm.

If the performance gain doesn’t impress, the big fall in fuel use will: the big Benz will officially sip 11.1L/100km, making it 21 per cent more fuel-efficient than the outgoing model with the smaller engine.

Mercedes-Benz also used the Detroit show to roll out more technology for its flagship model, however, for the US market at least it will be confined to the options list.

The foremost is handwriting recognition technology that can allow the limousine’s occupants to input data such as sat-nav destinations by tracing out letters of the alphabet with a finger, as well as a heads-up display unit – both now fairly common features on luxury cars.

"The S-Class has always been the embodiment of our claim to deliver the very best in terms of both technology and design” Mercedes-Benz president of sales and marketing Ola Källenius said.

"Our flagship model, the S600, epitomises the focus of our development work, the 'Essence of Luxury', in a way that no other model can,” he said.

Described as “exciting”, the new V12 engine is much lighter, making use of an aluminium crankcase and hollow-stem outlet valves filled with sodium, which helps with more efficient cooling.

The latest version of Benz’s flagship fleet rolled into Australia in November last year, priced from $215,000 plus on-road costs for the S350, powered by a turbocharged diesel V6 engine.

Mercedes-Benz Australia has said the S65 version of the S-Class, which would have featured the V12 engine tuned to produce 463kW and 1000Nm of torque, will not go on sale in Australia.

Corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said the historical strength of the S63 AMG’s versus the S65 model, it did not make sense to keep the higher-performing model as part of the Benz line-up.

The S600 is due on sale in Australia late this year, about the same time as the first of the German luxury car-maker’s next-generation C-Class small cars should arrive.

It will also follow on from the second-quarter launch of the brand’s GLA compact soft-roader that was officially revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

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