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Frankfurt Motor Show: Mercedes-Benz S-Class, R-Class, SLR, V

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Hybrid versions haven't been formally announced yet, but word on the floor at Frankfurt was that a hybrid S-Class "concept" would be unveiled at a Mercedes press conference on future technology and alternative fuels tomorrow (Tuesday). Today, the conventionally-engined, ready-to-roll new-generation production S-Class made its debut, complete with high-tech braking, cruise control, infra-red night vision, crash-sensing, active body control and air suspension systems, and some very pleasant-sounding massaging multi-contour seats. Longer, wider and a little taller than before, rear-seat legroom has been increased, especially in the long-wheelbase versions. First engines to be offered when sales start later this autumn will be 388bhp V8 and 272bhp V6 petrol units, with the V12 S600 (517bhp) and six-cylinder S320 CDI (235bhp) diesel following early next year. The S600, more powerful than before and now capable of 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, is a little more economical than its predecessor, returning 19.8mpg. These things are relative...

The European-market version of the R-Class luxury crossover was also launched, 235mm shorter than the US-market long-wheelbase version. A sumptuous six-seater, it boasts MPV-style versatility with its generous headroom, folding rear seats, rear hatchback and large cargo bay, though of course, it's a Grand Sports Tourer, not a common people-carrier, says Mercedes. It comes with the new V6 diesel engine as in the S320 CDI, the 5.0-litre V8 petrol (306bhp) and new 3.5-litre petrol V6 (272bhp), all with seven-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, traction control and ESP. Adaptive suspension damping is optional.

Mercedes was also marking ten years of its "designo" range of optional extras, showcased by two bespoke-finish new S-Classes. One had soft pastel-yellow leather upholstery with piano black trim and pale anthracite Alcantara head-lining, the other darker 'armagnac' leather - a kind of brandy-colour - with natural-grained maple wood. Both displayed seats with contrasting stitching and piping, black velour floor mats and metal 'designo' logos. The designo touch can be applied to most Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, and offers 13 different paint finishes, 25 different colours for the leather and 18 different trim variants, as well as a range of multimedia gadgets, audio upgrades and other features. "Customers can have everything they want", says M-B, "within the scope of the law", though they don't have to answer to the taste police.

Should you be in the market for an SLR McLaren supercar (626bhp, 0-60 in 3.8 seconds) M-B launched the SLR Unlimited programme, again a series of custom-build options and accessorises. Given that SLR buyers' bank accounts are probably also unlimited, they can now choose from 13 colours, including textured Crystal finishes, 18-inch, ten-spoke or 19-inch turbine-look alloys, red- or gold-painted brake callipers, and no less than 16 different leather upholstery finishes including the untreated Silver Arrow hide. There are no less than 76 possible paint/colour/trim combinations available...

On a rather more humble level, the Viano MPV is now offered with the 5.0-litre, 306bhp V8 engine. The up-spec executive taxi can thus do 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds, and its uprated brakes mean it can screech to a halt just as quickly. The Viano X-clusive show car was decked out with front and rear spoilers, chrome trim everywhere, 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights and cornering lights, silver grille and roof rails plus interior LED lighting, two electric sliding doors and dark bird's eye maple wood trim. Ideal for the airport run - business class. The Viano also now comes with four-wheel drive, in combination with either the 2.0-litre (109bhp) or 2.2-litre (150bhp) diesel engines.
 
First engines to be offered when sales start later this autumn will be 388bhp V8 and 272bhp V6 petrol units, with the V12 S600 (517bhp) and six-cylinder S320 CDI (235bhp) diesel following early next year. The S600, more powerful than before and now capable of 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, is a little more economical than its predecessor, returning 19.8mpg. These things are relative...
That is all I care about! Can't wait to see Clarkson test an S600...wonder if it will be as memorable as his last :lol:
 
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