S-Class 1998-2005
Key facts

Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Setting trends with exclusive, leading-edge technology

  • World debut for PRE-SAFE pre-crash occupant protection system
  • New 12-cylinder, twin-turbo engine developing 500 hp
  • Six-cylinder models with increased power and torque
  • Subtle design modifications front and rear
  • Exclusive designo couture interior trim package

The pace of technical and stylistic change at the world's number one manufacturer of luxury-class saloons shows no signs of letting up. Mercedes-Benz has unveiled an even more attractive and innovative S-Class with numerous modifications. The facelifted flagship arrived in Britain in October 2002.

With leading-edge engineering the S-Class, which made its world debut in autumn 1998, is once again showing itself to be a role model and trend-setter. Heading the list of high-tech innovations is the PRE-SAFE pre-crash occupant protection system, with which Mercedes-Benz is inaugurating a new era in automotive safety. PRE-SAFE can detect an impending collision in advance and puts the occupants and the vehicle on standby before an impact occurs.

PRE-SAFE occupant protection measures include split-second advance tensioning of the seat belts, aimed at ensuring the best possible occupant seating position prior to a collision so that the airbags can do their job as effectively as possible. At the same time PRE-SAFE automatically adjusts the front passenger seat and the power-adjustable individual seats in the rear to a favourable position. If the vehicle is skidding, it also automatically closes the sunroof.

This new safety system is based on the findings of the Mercedes-Benz accident researchers, which show that in approximately two thirds of all accidents, there is a relatively long time lapse between recognition of an impending collision and the collision itself. Mercedes-Benz is now using this "window" for advance activation of protection systems in order to further reduce the risk of injury to the vehicle\'s occupants. The model-year 2003 S-Class inaugurates this pioneering safety concept.

PRE-SAFE determines accident probability using sensors belonging to the Electronic Stability Program ESP® and Brake Assist whose job is to recognise critical situations at an early stage. The status of the system components is reversible, i.e. if the accident is averted at the last moment, the advance seat belt tensioning is automatically terminated and the occupants are able to reset the position of the seats and the sunroof. However, PRE-SAFE is instantly ready to go into action again if required.

The system is the result of some six years\' intensive development work by Mercedes engineers. Hundreds of drivers took part in the testing and refining of PRE-SAFE on test tracks and in DaimlerChrysler\'s Berlin driving simulator. This acceptance-testing programme delivered a clear verdict: pre-crash occupant protection in no way restricts the freedom of the driver or the drivability of the car but rather gives occupants an enhanced feeling of safety.

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