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Anti-lock brakes and stability control are standard on the S550, along with a hill-start assist system to keep you from rolling backward when facing uphill. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has not been crash-tested in the United States, but it enjoys a long-standing reputation as one of the safest vehicles in the world; safety features include front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active head restraints, adaptive brake lights, and the Pre-Safe system, which prepares safety equipment for an anticipated collision.
If you like the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, also consider:
- Lexus LS
- Jaguar XJ
- BMW 7-Series
- Audi A8
Major competitors to the 2009 S-Class include the Audi A8, the BMW 7-Series, the Jaguar XJ, and the Lexus LS. The XJ stands out for its distinctly British style that steers away from the crowd. There are powerful 12-cylinder models of the A8 (A8 6.0 L) and 7-Series (760iL) to match the S600; all three have smooth, silent, and immensely torquey engines, but they're gas guzzlers, each and every one. For the green crowd who must have the best, instead of a V-12, Lexus offers a hybrid V-8 powertrain on its top-of-the-line LS 600h L model, which gets a highest-in-class rating of 20 mpg city, 22 highway. Each of these other models are offered in two different wheelbases (and lengths), but the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is only sold in its long-wheelbase form in the United States. The S-Class has typically been a prestige vehicle, carrying executives and captains of industry in style and comfort, but the S63 and S65 AMG models appeal to those craving acceleration that's on par with exotics, along with a sportscar feel, in the S-Class's spacious package. Audi has the S8, but it's not nearly as powerful or as exclusive as the AMGs, while BMW has the Alpina B7, an elite version with a 500-hp supercharged V-8. There's also the 400-hp Jaguar XJR that, along with the cheaper XJ, is faster than the numbers might indicate due to its lightweight aluminum body.