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New Mercedes-Benz S-class unveiled

The German luxury brand's technological flagship gets a sharp-edged new look and more power.

June 20, 2005; Posted: 2:50 p.m. EDT (1850 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Mercedes-Benz division of DaimlerChrysler released the first official photos of the luxury brand's new S-class sedan.

The car will go on sale in Europe in the fall, but won't be available in the United States until the first quarter of 2006, a spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz said. It will be sold as a 2007 model.

The car is longer and taller than the current S-class. It will also be available with more powerful engines. The S-600, which currently costs about $130,000 and comes with a 493-horsepower V12 engine, will get a 517-horsepower engine in the new version.

The S350, which is currently sold with a 241-horsepower V6 engine and costs about $65,000, will get a new 272-horsepower engine in the new version.

Prices will be slightly higher for the new S-class, as well, said Michelle Murad, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz U.S.A.

In addition to a new sharp-edged appearance, which includes a sloping rear-end resembling that of the exotic-looking Mercedes-Benz CLS, there will be a number of new comfort and safety features on the 2007 S-class.

The S-Class will have a radar-assisted braking system that detects objects ahead and applies the proper amount of braking even if the driver doesn't.

When sudden, firm braking is applied, the car's seat belts will automatically tighten and air cushions that support occupants in their seats will inflate. If an impact seems imminent, the car's side windows will close automatically.

Special infra-red headlights will illuminate the road in the dark, detecting obstacles more than 150 meters ahead and relaying them to a dashboard display.

Optional seats will automatically adjust the amount of back and side support according to driving conditions. The seats will also give back massages.

Even with an avalanche of technological innovations, the car will need to be relatively glitch-free to reverse Mercedes' recently-acquired reputation for poor reliability. Mercedes-Benz has done poorly in recent reliability and initial quality reports by J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports.

More:

Details, photos and prices for current Mercedes-Benz S-class

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