2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class Features

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Features

Despite its length of time on the market--almost seven years--the current Mercedes S-Class doesn't lack for the latest infotainment features. In fact, it's still adding them as it nears the end of its life cycle.

All S-Class cars sold in the U.S. come with a raft of standard features including leather upholstery; dual power front seats; power locks, windows, and mirrors; a sunroof; a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; an AM/FM/CD/HD/XM audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and an SD card slot. A navigaiton system is standard, too, and it's hosted on a hard drive with 4GB of space reserved for music, and overlays Zagat travel information with its maps.

Even in its final years on sale, today's S-Class is still adding infotainment features.

Most versions, from the S550 on up, have even plusher accoutrements, including ventilated and heated front seats; a wood and leather steering wheel; ambient lighting; and a power trunk lid.

The main driver of the S-Class' infotainment system is COMAND, which uses a knob controller or voice commands or steering-wheel controls to run phone, audio, navigation, climate, and other ancillary features. It displays on the center stack's LCD screen, and also on a smaller LCD pane on the gauges, where an available Night Vision system also shows obstacles detected in the dark. New this year is a SPLITVIEW screen that layers images on the center display, so that drivers can observe navigation, for example--while passengers see a movie or audio information, simply by virtue of the viewing angle.

One complaint of the COMAND system is that some features—such as those for the multi-contour seats—are accessible only through the interface, and don't have more easily controlled buttons of their own. That interface, despite being significantly improved, is still a weak point compared to the latest systems from Audi and Lincoln (as well as the much-improved BMW iDrive).

Optional on the S400 Hybrid, S550, and S63 AMG are a rear-seat entertainment system; four-zone automatic climate control; and multicontour rear seats. All those features are standard on the S600 and S65 AMG.

Other features offered on various models include a heated steering wheel; a panoramic sunroof; and a power rear sunshade. 

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