Design and equipment: Perfection to the last detail

  • Appearance: modified radiator grille and new bumpers
  • Light: unmistakable night design with the LED Light package
  • Seats: new dimension in comfort based on the well-proven
    Mercedes philosophy
  • Infotainment: COMAND and COMAND APS with even more functions
Modern but not fashion-driven – the S-Class represents the hallmark of Mercedes design, and stands for perfection down to the last detail in this discipline too. The unmistakable visual appearance of the flagship Mercedes model communicates progressiveness, dynamism and emotional appeal, but also prestige, physical presence and high formal value retention. As part of the model facelift, Mercedes-Benz designers have added yet more edge to the appearance of the S-Class. The modified front-end design reflects the superiority and power of the luxury saloon without appearing aggressive. This effect is heightened by the more pronounced arrow-shape of the radiator grille, which has four louvres in the six and eight-cylinder models and three twin louvres in the twelve-cylinder S 600 – updated interpretations of the classic Mercedes face.
Unmistakable look: the headlamps
The headlamps likewise make their mark from afar: their external contours remain unchanged, however the internal components and their layout have changed dramatically. This is because the S-Class is now already equipped with bi-xenon headlamps as standard. While the dipped and main beam modules are on the outside, the main beam spot reflector is on the inside. However, the most striking features of the new S-Class lights are the eyecatching driving lights at the outer edge and the indicators on the lower edge of the headlamp housings. As further highlights, round twin daytime driving lights and foglamps with chrome surrounds are integrated into the front bumper. The location of the daytime driving lights at the outer edges of the bumper underlines the muscular and serene character of the S-Class.
As an alternative Mercedes-Benz offers the high-quality LED Light package for the S-Class, which literally adds sparkling highlights (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600). This includes the Intelligent Light System, Adaptive Highbeam Assist and two seven-section LED strips for the daytime driving lights in the right and left of the front apron, which underline the high-tech character of the saloon. These are supplemented with two additional LED strips on the undersides of the main headlamps for the indicators and driving lights. Together with the dimmed daytime driving lights, these ensure an eyecatching and unmistakable night design.
The redesigned front bumper now features a discreet light-catching contour and a continuous chrome trim strip below the cooling air intakes. Like the daytime driving lights in their outside positions, both design features lend the 2009 S‑Class a wider, more dominant appearance. At the same time the new bumper design increases the overall length of the Mercedes-Benz flagship model by 20 millimetres to 5069 and 5226 mm (long-wheelbase version).
Luxury saloon with outstanding aerodynamics
A better view to the rear is provided by the slightly larger exterior mirrors, while the integrated LED indicator repeaters have a modified design with a fine centre division. The optimised shape of the mirror housings as a result of intensive fine-tuning in the wind tunnel ensures that the side windows hardly become soiled in poor driving conditions, and that wind noise - especially from crosswinds and when overtaking trucks - is substantially eliminated. There is another benefit: although the larger mirror housings increase the width of the S‑Class by seven millimetres to 2120 millimetres, there is an overall improvement in the saloon's aerodynamics with the . drag coefficient reduced to Cd = 0.27.
The S 350 BLUE EFFICIENCY is additionally equipped with aerodynamically advantageous, full-surface underbody panelling that further improves the drag coefficient to Cd = 0.26. This is the best figure ever achieved in the long history of the S-Class, and significantly contributes to the exemplary efficiency of the Mercedes flagship model. Other contributing factors include the new exterior mirrors, the redesigned drainage channel in the A-pillar, the joint seals between the bonnet and headlamps and the reduced height of the spoiler lip.
2009 S-Class
Preceding model
Drag coefficient (cd)
0.26 – 0.28
0.27 - 0.28
Frontal area (A) m²
Wind resistance (cd x A) m²
0.624 – 0.672
0.648 – 0.627
Tail lights: 52 LEDs for an unmistakable light signature
What strikes you first when looking at the powerfully shaped rear of the vehicle is the new tail light design. The previous horizontal stripes in the vehicle colour have each been replaced by horizontal white light strips for reversing lights and indicators. The tail light design in the form of a double-C creates an unmistakable light signature.
A total of 52 LEDs are used in the 2009 S-Class for the tail lights as well as the indicators and brake lights. They offer distinct advantages over regular bulbs: LEDs use less energy, last for the car's lifetime and can be activated quicker. Given the immediate visibility of the brake light therefore, they also make a significant contribution to safety. By specifying such lights the Mercedes designers and engineers are emphasising that form and function are of equal importance in their eyes.
The discreetly redesigned rear bumper, with its light-catching contour blending into the vehicle flanks and visually extended by an expressive swage line running into the powerfully flared wings, likewise underlines the high design quality of the S-Class. At the same time this feature emphasises the power of the Saloon, suggesting the safety and solidity of its stance on the road. This impression is heightened even further in the twelve-cylinder S 600, which has a chrome trim strip above the exhaust tailpipes. In future the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes themselves are visibly integrated into the rear bumper in the six and eight-cylinder models as well. For the purpose of visual differentiation, they also feature a vertical division in the S 600.
Exquisite materials for maximum wellbeing
In the interior too, Mercedes-Benz developers have perfected the S-Class with enormous attention to detail. In addition to visual and tactile enhancements, the focus here was on driver stress relief with further improved seating comfort and the latest infotainment systems – major aspects for a car that is primarily used for long-distance journeys and must offer its occupants the maximum feeling of wellbeing.
The elegant appearance of the S-Class is in large measure due to a perfectly coordinated choice of materials. The interior design specialists have used first-class materials such as aluminium, leather and wood to this end. They have used even more wood for the 2009 S-Class, replacing the polyurethane surface of the front centre console section and cupholder cover with carefully finished wood trim. All in all, depending on the model and interior appointments, there are around 20 different wood trim elements in the interior of the S-Class – most of them hand-made and individually coordinated by specialists according to colour shade and grain.
In the 2009 S-Class, five different types of wood trim provide perfectly coordinated material and colour concepts to suit individual tastes. The base-version black interior with fabric upholstery is combined with dark-brown eucalyptus wood. Optionally, light or dark burr walnut (high-gloss) or - exclusively for the S 600 - high-gloss brown poplar are available. The AMG Sports package includes black ash wood trim.
When it comes to colour-coordinating the interior, S-Class customers now have even more choice of personal surroundings. To make the decision-making process easier, Mercedes-Benz designers have developed three new interior combinations for the colour scheme: alpaca grey/basalt grey, cashmere beige/savanna beige and chestnut brown/black. Together with an all-black interior for the comfort-oriented business saloon and the well-proven combination of sahara beige/black, this produces a total of five tasteful interior design options.
The seat covers likewise meet the highest standards. In addition to high-quality fabrics there is a choice of three different leather qualities. The leather upholstery is relatively loose-fitting, which creates a ruffled effect and immediately appears soft and inviting.
First-class seating comfort
A new 12-way seat already offers the driver and front passenger outstanding comfort even in the standard version. The fore-and-aft position, backrest and cushion angle, seat height, head restraint and seat cushion depth are electrically adjustable – independently and variably, so that each occupant is able to choose the best individual seating position. Pneumatic, two-way lumbar supports are also standard equipment for the front seats. So that the optimal seating position does not have to be changed for another driver or front passenger after being found, the S 500 and S 600 are equipped with a memory function as part of the Memory package as standard. Three memory settings can be stored for both the driver and front passenger.
Climate comfort is likewise enhanced by the optionally available actively ventilated comfort seats: a total of six miniature ventilators in the seat cushion and backrest extract cool air from the floor area of the interior and distribute it evenly through a ventilation tissue beneath the seat surface. This gentle airflow prevents the occupants from getting into a sweat even when outside temperatures are very high.
Active multicontour seat: lateral support to suit the driving situation
First-class seating comfort is assured with the optional active multicontour seats (standard for S 600) available as part of the Front Seat Comfort package. Multicontour means that the occupants are able to adapt the shape of the seat to their anatomy or personal comfort preferences. In the S-Class this is made possible by a total of eleven inflatable air chambers under the upholstery. Three of these chambers, instead of two previously, provide support for the lumbar area, while as a new feature two now provide support for the shoulder area. In addition the firmness of the seat can be adjusted by varying the spring and damper characteristics of the seat cushion. The air chambers in the seat cushions can be inflated more or less fully in three stages. The firmness of the seats is programmed using the COMAND Controller and the colour display of the operating system.
In addition, high-speed piezo valves in the air chambers adjust the charging pressure and volume of the air chambers in the side bolsters of the seat backs, depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and vehicle speed, to provide both driver and front seat passenger with even greater support. This active function relieves pressure on the muscular system and increases the feeling of wellbeing and safety.
The pneumatics of the multicontour system work quietly, quickly and precisely thanks to high-performance piezo valves, such that the seats can be integrated into the PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system: if the PRE-SAFE® system identifies a critical driving situation, it activates the air cushions of the seat backrests in a split second. They embrace the vehicle occupants and support them in such a way that in the event of an accident, the dangerous whiplash forces of the upper body can be reduced. Mercedes-Benz offers the active multicontour seats as an optional extra, and fits them as standard to the S 600.
Comfort head restraints with manually adjustable side bolsters are also included with the active multicontour seat. These also incorporate crash-responsive NECK‑PRO technology: in the event of a rear-end collision, the head restraint is immediately moved 44 millimetres forwards and 30 millimetres upwards by a pretensioned spring to give early support to the head of the seat occupant.
Finally, the S-Class represents the state of the art in terms of seating comfort with the massage pad in the backrest of the active multicontour seat. This consists of seven air chambers that are cyclically inflated and deflated, so that the seat occupant feels a pleasant rolling sensation over the entire back area. This stimulates the muscles, improves blood circulation and helps to prevent early fatigue. The massage pad operates independently of the contour and lumbar support settings. Four massage programmes are available, from "slow and gentle" to "fast and strong".
Multicontour seats with the massage function, awarded the "Healthy Back Action" seal of approval, as well as the PRE-SAFE® positioning function are also available for the rear seats of the S-Class on request. This requires the rear seat unit with electrically adjustable outer seats, which is standard equipment in models with the long wheelbase. There is a choice of two massage programmes.
New steering wheel with a sporty look
The multifunction steering wheel of the S-Class has also been carefully modified by the Mercedes-Benz designers: in future the rim and airbag module are lined with soft nappa leather as standard. Customers are also able to order a wood/leather steering wheel as an option, with a choice of four wood types. The new, flatter airbag module also lends a sporty touch to the multifunction steering wheel.
The armrests in the front doors have also been given an updated look: to heighten their perceived value even further, they now have extended chrome trim strips. Standard equipment with the model change also includes a telephone keypad under the handrest for the COMAND Controller. This also makes it possible to enter radio frequencies, personal points of interest and navigation data.
Ambient lighting heightens the sense of wellbeing
Mercedes-Benz also makes more use of light as a styling element in the 2009 S‑Class, to give its occupants an even more pleasant motoring experience. Two further colour tones have been added to the optional ambient lighting available for the interior (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600). In addition to the "solar" lighting mood in warm amber, customers can now use the COMAND Controller to choose between the new "neutral" in white and "polar" in ice-blue.
The ambient lighting consists of slim optical fibres concealed beneath the wood trim strips in the front and rear doors, as well as the dashboard. Their indirect light can be dimmed in five stages via the COMAND system. With ambient lighting, the pleasant feeling of spaciousness in the S-Class is also retained during journeys at night. Moreover the light keeps the driver alert and creates a relaxed mood, therefore it greatly contributes to driver-fitness safety.
Even in its basic configuration, a sophisticated lighting concept in the S-Class heightens the sense of wellbeing in the dark. In addition to the indirect lighting from the switches and controls, there are lights in the door handle recesses and footwells that create a pleasant, amber-coloured lighting effect. An LED in the housing of the rear-view mirror is directed at the centre console as another component of the interior lighting system.
The diffused light for the front of the car has five dimmer settings and can be adjusted individually using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and the central display in the instrument cluster. The brightness of the front and rear footwell lighting automatically dims when the doors are closed. Reading lights are provided for the rear passengers. These are equipped with xenon crown-mirrored bulbs, which produce a bright but non-dazzling light. There are a total of 45 lights in the interior of the S-Class.
New display technology with high-contrast imagery
In line with its serene character and claim to be the technical trendsetter, the onboard infotainment systems of the 2009 S-Class also set standards in the automobile industry. This already starts with the visual presentation of information: the displays in the instrument cluster and standard control and display system COMAND are like modern LCD television screens with LED backlighting. The result is brilliant colour reproduction and crystal-clear images. As another advantage, the displays can be viewed from extreme angles with no colour distortion. The displays are black when the ignition is off. In addition to the "classic" information, Mercedes-Benz developers have integrated the warning and control lamps of the new driver assistance systems and the new fuel consumption display into the instrument cluster. S-Class drivers can activate this by selecting the menu item "Trip", and ascertain the current fuel consumption and operating range.
SPLITVIEW: two programmes on a single screen
As a world first, and on request, Mercedes-Benz will equip its flagship model with the new SPLITVIEW technology (standard for S 600) for the COMAND control and display system centrally located in the centre console. This innovative display concept allows the driver and front passenger to view different content simultaneously on one and the same screen. While the driver e.g. uses the map-based navigation system, the front passenger can be watching the latest film on DVD. For this purpose the SPLITVIEW option includes a remote control unit and wireless headphones.
The generously dimensioned, 8-inch (approx. 20 cm) COMAND screen has a backlighted active matrix colour display (TFT-LCD) in combination with SPLITVIEW. This shows two different images simultaneously by placing pixels adjacent to each other. A filter masking the display divides this mixed image in such a way that depending on the seating position, only the pixels making up one or the other image can be seen. As a result, the driver and front passenger can view different programmes on the same screen at the same time.
The driver still has access to all the information from the control and display system COMAND in the display. The front passenger is able to choose his own entertainment programme with DVDs, TV channels or music videos, but is also able to operate the telephone and navigation system. As before, he can view all the information provided by the COMAND and COMAND APS system in the display.
Personal data always to hand during a journey
Mercedes-Benz has also added additional functions to the COMAND system. In future the multimedia head unit with a radio, telephone operation and a CD/DVD player also has a slot for SD memory cards. Another new feature for COMAND and the even more versatile, optional COMAND APS system is the Bluetooth® interface, which wirelessly connects the mobile phone to the standard hands-free system. The Bluetooth® interface and likewise standard USB interface also make it possible for customers to transfer their personal address book from a mobile phone or organizer to the control and display system, where it can be stored for immediate access during a journey. Stored data can also be exported and imported into any other S-Class.
Specific search for a favourite music track
The new Music Search function enables S-Class drivers and passengers to search SD memory cards, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs for specific music tracks and artists. The search can be according to various criteria, e.g. album, music category or composer. If a name needs to be entered, the software will also tolerate spelling mistakes. The driver is therefore able to devote his full attention to the road. As a further advantage, the occupants are able to search all the connected media and devices simultaneously.
The media interface in the glove compartment as an optional extra is a universal interface for connecting an iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600). All that is required is a suitable cable from the Mercedes accessories range. The interface includes a control unit that links the external music memory to the onboard electronics and control systems. The advantage of this is that the titles of the tracks stored on the iPod can be shown on the colour display in the dashboard and in the instrument cluster, allowing them to be selected almost effortlessly using the Controller or the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The battery in the audio device is also charged while it is connected to the car via the media interface.
COMAND APS: HDD navigation for a swift arrival
The infotainment system COMAND APS provides S-Class customers with even more high-end electronics that contribute greatly to a safe and relaxed arrival at their destination (standard for S 400 HYBRID and S 600). This unit is equipped with a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40 GB hard disc, which makes for even faster route calculation compared to a DVD-based navigation system. The high level of navigating convenience is also aided by a three-dimensional map display.
With COMAND APSthe information in a personal address book can also be
used for navigation purposes - a significant benefit for S-Class drivers whose professional life is often governed by the time pressure of meetings and appointments. Depending on the structure of the personal address book, the route search can be according to a telephone-number or name. As a particularly important benefit for leasing customers or business travellers using a rented S‑Class, the data can be quickly and easily exported to an SD memory card and then imported into another S-Class.
Voice-operated control: whole-word voice input for navigation, telephone and radio
Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND APSwith the voice-operated control system LINGUATRONIC and a so-called text-to-speech function as standard. This makes it possible for route-related traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries
or radio station names to be read out. The system automatically reads out traffic reports that are relevant to the current route.
Mercedes-Benz is among the inventors of modern voice control systems, and has continuously developed its LINGUATRONIC system further in recent years. The navigation system in the new S-Class can now be operated on the basis of whole-word commands, for example: the driver no longer needs to spell out countries, towns or street names, but can simply say them as a whole word. The voice control system is equally convenient when selecting radio stations or entries from the telephone directory: all the available or stored names can be called up without previously training the voice recognition system. The system also has a stored list of synonyms. For example, the driver does not necessarily have to confirm entries or commands with "Yes", but can also say "Ok", "Right", "Good" or "Correct" instead. A special filter suppresses coughing or clearing the throat, so that a voice command does not need to be repeated. LINGUATRONIC also understands variations in tone and pronunciation due to dialects.
Music Register for 2500 tracks
For musical entertainment COMAND APS includes a radio, a CD/DVD player with MP3 function, an equalizer with speed-dependent volume control and the Music Register with a 7.2 GB hard disc which stores around 2500 digital music files in the MP3, AAC or WMA format that can be loaded from PC memory cards. The system recognises music files played on CD, DVD or from the Music Register using its stored Gracenote® database, and shows the title, album and performer in the colour display.
With an improved DAB tuner (DAB = Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials (optional), the occupants of the new S-Class can also receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak. In North America the S-Class is equipped with a tuner for the digital HD radio as standard.
Comfort telephony for a mobile conference room
Mercedes-Benz specialists have also added new functions to the comfort telephony option for the 2009 S-Class (standard for the S 600). The driver and passengers are now able to conduct telephone conferences and send or receive SMS messages. Whereas the basic telephony system connects the mobile phone to the control and display system via Bluetooth®, comfort telephony connects the mobile phone to the vehicle via a telephone cradle housed in the compartment beneath the centre armrest. This interface enables the phone to be connected to the vehicle aerial, and its battery is also charged during the journey.
The ultimate listening pleasure and entertainment in the rear too
A growing number of S-Class owners like to enjoy the unrivalled comfort of the Mercedes-Benz flagship model while seated on the luxurious rear seats. To meet the expectations of these customers, Mercedes-Benz has increased the range of the Rear Seat Entertainment package in the 2009 S-Class. A remote control unit is available which enables all the audio and telematic functions of COMAND and COMAND APS to be operated, plus access to external devices via the Media Interface.
In addition, the Rear Seat Entertainment package comprises two newly designed eight-inch displays on the rear surfaces of the driver and front seat passenger head restraints, two wireless headphones and a separate CD/DVD player.
The Rear Seat Entertainment package, as well as the optional Front Seat Entertainment package (standard for S 600), also include the Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system, developed by Mercedes-Benz together with the audio specialists, which delivers three-dimensional sound as a natural 360‑degree musical experience for all passengers, from both DVD and CD and regardless of whether the source was recorded in 5.1 surround or normal stereo. The audio signals are distributed via a 600-watt amplifier connected to 15 high-performance loudspeakers. For the 2009 S-Class, the sound experts at Harman Kardon® have optimised the amplifier software and equipped the mid-range speakers with Neodym magnets. A tweeter is also installed above the centre loudspeaker. The result is an even better sound experience.
In the surround-sound system for the 2009 S-Class, a 200 x 320-millimetre oval subwoofer on the parcel shelf teams up with another two 200-millimetre bass loudspeakers in the front doors, each of which is flanked by a 100-millimetre mid-range loudspeaker, to deliver high-class bass output. An additional 43-millimetre tweeter sends out the higher frequencies to the left and right in the front. In the centre of the car is a 100-millimetre diameter mid-range speaker and above it the new tweeter, while a 165-millimetre woofer/mid-range speaker and a tweeter are fitted in each of the rear doors. In addition to the powerful subwoofer, another two mid-range speakers in the parcel shelf ensure the interior of the new S-Class is flooded with sound. The amplifier supplies the eleven main channels – centre, front left/right, side left/right and rear left/right – with 40 watts of power each, the door woofers with 80 watts and the subwoofer in the parcel shelf with 160 watts.
As an optional extra, Mercedes-Benz also offers rear-seat occupants a new telephone handset with a colour display, more rapid connections and faster access to the telephone directory stored in memory. The unit is connected to COMAND and COMAND APS via the Bluetooth® interface.

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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package: High-quality materials – fine wood, leather and aluminium – make for a feel-good atmosphere. The optionally available ambient lighting with fibre optic cables set behind wood mouldings makes even night-time driving a great experience.
  • 09C35_031
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package: High-quality materials – fine wood, leather and aluminium – make for a feel-good atmosphere. The optionally available ambient lighting with fibre optic cables set behind wood mouldings makes even night-time driving a great experience.
  • 09C35_016
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package: High-quality materials – fine wood, leather and aluminium – make for a feel-good atmosphere. The optionally available ambient lighting with fibre optic cables set behind wood mouldings makes even night-time driving a great experience.
  • 09C35_001
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 500 4MATIC with AMG sports package: High-quality materials – fine wood, leather and aluminium – make for a feel-good atmosphere. The optionally available ambient lighting with fibre optic cables set behind wood mouldings makes even night-time driving a great experience.
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class short wheel base
  • 09A451
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class long wheel base
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    Mercedes-Benz S 600 (221 model series S-Class, 2005 to 2013), photo of the facelifted version taken in 2009.
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    Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2009, S 400 HYBRID, exterior
  • 09C429_03
    As a world premiere, in the 2009 S-Class Mercedes-Benz equips the control and display system COMAND with the new SPLITVIEW technology as an optional extra.
  • 08A1363
    As a world premiere, in the 2009 S-Class Mercedes-Benz equips the control and display system COMAND with the new SPLITVIEW technology as an optional extra.