The redesigned 2000 S class neatly symbolizes the 'new' Mercedes-Benz, just as the old S class symbolized the 'old' Mercedes.
Out: over-the-top features such as power rear seats, power-operated trunk handles and parking feelers that popped up in reverse gear in tight parking places.
In: high-tech features with obvious customer benefits such as side-curtain airbags, door-mounted side bags in the rear, air suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers and satellite navigation systems with an automatic mayday feature.
The new S class has ventilated seats, 'smart' cruise control that uses radar to maintain a safe following distance, heated rear seats and an air-conditioned cooler for the back seats - all available but optional.
The new car is much leaner in appearance but only a little smaller in fact - about 2 inches shorter, 1.5 inches lower and 1.5 inches narrower. At the same time, Mercedes says, interior room increased in almost every dimension except rear headroom, which was shaved a fraction of an inch to give the new car a more rounded greenhouse.
The 2000 S-class sedan appeared this spring, and the coupe will join the lineup next year, also as a 2000 model. The V-12 model bows next year, probably for the 2001 model year.