Man determines the standards
Today reality is millions of vehicles on crowded roads; roads that are often not all they should be. Obstructions, regulations, traffic lights, restrictions, bad weather, poor light, noise. The way the road users behave. They make mistakes, so do we - sometimes. And, above all, the fact that no two people are the same, neither physically nor emotionally.
These, then, are some of the more important factors which influence us all as users of the road. We have to take them into account all the time and adapt to them. They influence continuously the way we feel and how we behave.
But even under these conditions, motoring can still involve greater or lesser amounts of work, stress or relaxation. It is not only traffic conditions that determine the amount of stress, it is also the car you are driving.
Whether the car leaves you on your own with all the problems or helps you with some of the work and communicates a feeling of confidence depends on the designers' objectives. Man, his reactions and his needs, should be the fundamental factors.
The Mercedes-Benz concept of co-ordinated integration
Co-ordinated integration is firstly the thorough development of individual components, and secondly their integration into a balanced overall concept. This contrasts with less well thought-out methods of design, in which for instance some features become over-emphasised and exert undue influence on driving behaviour.
The performance, safety, comfort and driving characteristics of the Mercedes-Benz S-class cars come together as one total entity in which all these features are matched one with another. They create the ability to cope with traffic and environmental problems and so relieve the driver of some of the stress by utilising design-features that take fully into account man's psychological and physical capabilities.
To see and to be seen - clearly and in plenty of time. to sit comfortably and relaxed and yet to remain alert and wide awake. To act quickly and to react correctly. To be protected from the effects of noise and vibration. To master the engine power, not be seduced by it. To exploit the car's capabilities without its overtaxing yours.
To have confidence in your car and so be able to concentrate all your attention on traffic and other road users and consequently on safety for everyone. That's what it's all about and today it's there for the asking. This is what the Mercedes-Benz S-class offers you.
Economy, because of high utilisation
There is no such thing as cheap high performance. Nevertheless Mercedes-Benz S-class cars are an economical proposition. Because economy is the benefit you get from performance in relation to what you pay for it.
Here, too, the S-class is unsurpassed.
You can cah in on the engineering concept that lies behind co-ordinated integration to such a high degree in real benefits to yourself and your fellow road users that your investment will be repaid in good measure: a saving in energy, less stain on the nerves; a feeling of relaxation plus safety and motoring enjoyment.
The more you can rely on your car, the less you have to worry. Being confident keeps you calm and an S-class car is designed specifically to reduce stress. This applies not only to such sturdy components as the engine, transmission and axles but also door hinges, screen wipers and light switches.
Further, a car built to these standards is less subject to wear and tear. Because it is only seldom pushed to the limits of what it can take. And in an S-class these design-advantages are combined with unsurpassed quality control in production, making the whole car very durable - its normal service life is appreciably longer than that of most other cars. Long service intervals and the less likely need for repairs are further proof of these robust qualities.
Suspension developed regardless of costs for safety at high speeds
The higher the cruising speeds the more important safety and stress reduction become. For you and for other road users.
The suspension must therefore keep you both safe and comfortable But because suspension that is too soft is less safe and if it's too hard it is uncomfortable, it is vital to achieve a balance between these two extremes. In the S-class this has been achieved. By independent suspension, by double wishbones at the front and a diagonal swing axle at the back. By using coil springs combined with double-acting telescopic gas-pressure shock absorbers.
Progressive anti-dive control on both axles prevents the car from dipping spongily during braking.
Zero-offset steering makes quite sure that the front wheels cannot be pushed off course by uneven roads. The vehicle stays steady and on its line.
Long wheelbase and wide track also contribute to active safety because with the suspension, the shock absorbers and springing in the seats they give the driver a feeling of safety and control over his car.
The unevenness of the road which is transmitted to the car is absorbed without the handling of the car being adversely affected. This is a genuine achievement and is the result of the great amount of work put into the design and careful matching of every component.
On the road, the characteristics of an S=class car are neutral with a slight tendency to understeer in critical situations. This makes it easy to control even if you have to take evasive action suddenly.
A suspension that is well balanced not only keeps the driver calm - it also provides far higher reserves of safety at higher speeds than one can expect from the average car.
The brakes are matched to the suspension and engine power. It is a very effective dual-circuit power assisted system with discs all round. The front discs are internally ventilated.
The effortless power from the eight cylinder engine gives greater safety and a very comfortable ride
The S-class is right at the top of the thirty-eight model Mercedes-Benz range. And the eight cylinder cars are at the top of the S-class.
Components produced to a very high standard of engineering - extremely efficient and reliable, totally integrated into the overall concept.
engine and suspension, engine and brakes, engine and overall size and weight. A total entity. A perfect combination of perfected features. The eight-cylinder engines are a very important part of this motoring concept, which is designed to overcome problems of traffic and environment and to keep the driver relaxed.
The way these engines deliver their power, smoothly and as quick as lightning, is truly remarkable. You only see the gradients on the motorway - you don't feel them.
You can ease into a stream of traffic with a great surge of power that quickly gets you out of danger. It takes less time to overtake, and you get away without endangering others.
The combination of V8 engine and suspension is ideal for good behaviour in traffic. It makes for greater safety. There is no challenge from overemphasis of engine power.
Naturally, it is undeniable that this kind of refined power enhances the pleasure one gets from driving but this pleasure is not achieved at the expense of others nor is it uneconomical.
Because, with a powerful eight cylinder engine only a fraction of the power potential is needed to maintain normal cruising speeds. At customary motorway speeds fuel consumption is not much more that of a medium sized car that has to be pushed to its limits to achieve the same performance.
The Mercedes-Benz V8 engines are exemplary for their smooth running, durability and advanced technology. There is a governor to prevent the engine from over-revving; valves that turn fractionally at every stroke, to prevent them burning out ; heat-resistant sodium-filled exhaust valves and contactless transistorised ignition. These are some facets of the highly developed technology.
Comfort and relaxation are not mere luxuries
A driver is continually absorbing information of various kinds from traffic and from the road. If they tend to disturb or distract him he must ignore them but he must observe and interpret all that is important to him and respond correctly. These responses must then be translated into driving the car. And if he sees signs of danger this process has to be carried out in the shortest possible time.
So the man at the wheel has to be alert and must concentrate; he must not be distracted by unimportant details; nor must he find himself inhibited by immature engineering; he must control and steer his car with a quick eye and a sure touch.
Everything possible has been done in the S-class to minimise distracting influences, to keep the driver alert so that he can do the right thing at the right time.
It starts with an instrument panel that is absolutely functional. The driver's seat is not aeroplane cockpit because the car should not be thought of as an aircraft, and because the wrong environment can lead to the wrong sort of behaviour.
One factor in keeping alert and aware is the ability to see all four corners of the car. Another is having switches and controls with which the driver can familiarise himself in a few minutes. In a Mercedes-Benz they are positioned logically - where they belong - they are easy to see and cannot be confused one with another. and there are no more of them that the driver really needs.
Power-assisted steering does most of the work but still transmits the "feel" of the road. A steering shock absorber ensures that it is the driver who steers, not the road surface.
If you have automatic transmission (an optional extra) it will mean even less effort for your foot, your hand and your head.
You'll only react properly if you are sitting comfortably and not cramped. This is a matter of ergonomics - the science of designing the driving position to suit the man.
The seats in S-class cars have been developed on these principles. Their upholstery is on the firm side, because swaying and rocking are tiring for the driver and impair his reactions.
The seat is made up of seven elements, from the strong steel spring core through to high-quality outer covering which contains a high percentage of wool t allow the seat to "breathe" and to absorb body moisture. Seats and backrests are shaped to provide adequate lateral support yet you don't feel restricted. There's no hard edge at the front of the seat but a slight downward slope to prevent vascular congestion in the legs. The pelvic support recommended by orthopaedic specialists is a standard feature of Merced-Benz seats. There is firm support for the back which wards off fatigue and can prevent damage to the spine.
The seats, backrests and head restraints have a wide range of adjustment to suit every driver.
And since the driver who is relaxed and not under stress drives more safely, and probably with more consideration too, quite a lot of road users profit from the relaxed comfort of a Mercedes-Benz.
Style and function prove the necessity for generous amount of space
In the S-class the design objective is not to offer armchair comfort but rather accurately calculated "comfortableness" to minimise the stress from the world outside.
This includes a generous amount of room for five people and freedom to move, with the accent on practical elegance. There is an air of distinction. This results from the use of high quality materials assembled by skilled craftsmen.
The appointments that make the interior so comfortable have been developed to perfection.
Visibility means safety, and in a Mercedes-Benz you have almost 90% all-round visibility. In wet weather the wipers sweep 78% of the windscreen. A large distortion-free interior mirror and an exterior mirror conveniently adjustable from inside the car give an excellent view to the rear and make it easier for you to be considerate towards others. Wind deflectors and rain runnels help to keep the side and rear windows clean.
The heating system can be adjusted separately for the driver and front passenger. Eleven inlets allow the flow of air to be regulated accurately.
And that's not all: even the doors at the front are part of the heating system because warm air is ducted though them.
There are inlets to provide fresh air without opening windows.
Using the fan the air can be changed up to three times a minute even with the car standing still.
Only a calm environment can keep you relaxed
Various types of noise and vibration can have an adverse effect on the driver. Traffic noise, wind noise, tyre noise. Vibrations from the road and from the engine, transmission and propeller shaft.
Mercedes-Benz considered it imperative to eliminate these disturbing influences because particularly on long journeys, they can affect the driver to the point where his performance deteriorates.
The various causes of noise and vibration were determined and analysed so that the could be reduced below nuisance level.
Some parts of the bodywork were, therefore, modified and stabilised so that the wind noise disappeared. The whole body shell was tested many times in the wind tunnel to calculate the best and "quietest" aerodynamic shape.
Not only the noises themselves were analysed but also the effect of differing noises on the human ear. It is not necessarily the strength of noise that is important but also the frequency range. Some noises are pleasant, others unpleasant.
One criterion of the noise level inside an S-class car is that you must be able to converse normally at any speed.
No other car offers greater scope for personalisation
Every Mercedes-Benz is built to suit the requirements of its future owner. This is another aspect of the adaptation of the car to the man.
And, because there are more than a thousand possible combinations in specification and equipment, our ability to fulfil personal requirements is virtually unlimited. Special equipment is included in production planning, right from the start. This is the only way to guarantee that items of special equipment are not just added on to your Mercedes-Benz - they are personalised but integral parts of it.
As early as the bodyshell stage, all necessary provisions for fitting special equipment are made. This means that the bodyshell does not have to be modified after it is painted. So a high quality finish is assured right from the start.
This particular production principle ensures that individuality and quality are compatible.
Every Mercedes-Benz is designed for a long and trouble-free life
Gottlieb Daimler said: "The best, or nothing". This still applies today. It means the most modern engineering, lasting value and dependability for the whole of the car's long life. But it also has an economic benefit: the high quality materials that are used in the manufacturing process do not wear out rapidly. Quality means less worry and less expense. It is the basis of the confidence that people have in Mercedes-Benz.
Quality has to begin in the mind of the designer because this is the only way - it cannot be added at a later stage of development. Quality that has been planned from the beginning shows itself in the design, the materials that are used, the testing, the meticulous engineering, right through to rigid production control.
And we don't experiment with new developments at the expense of our customers. The results of our research are only incorporated into standard production when they have been proven. Our pilot assembly line helps with this; it is a separate assembly line that duplicates the conditions of the main assembly line. On the pilot line, we also train people in new assembly techniques - so that they are fully skilled before they work on the main line.
With this sort of quality it goes without saying that you get a year's warranty irrespective of milage, and servicing is only necessary once every 15,000 km/10,000 miles.
Over the course of its life, a car can only be as good as the service it gets. Every Mercedes-Benz dealer has the technical equipment and fully trained, skilled personnel to ensure that your car is reliably serviced and retains its value.
There are approximately 5,100 service point throughout the world, all fully stocked with the parts that are needed to service a Mercedes-Benz. So wherever you go, you can be sure that your car will be well looked after.
An S-class Mercedes-Benz - the concept of a sturdy yet beautiful car, brought to realisation - a car that has the ability to do its job under present-day conditions. From design to after-sales service, a superb means of transportation that offers excellent value.
In addition to the comprehensive standard equipment there is also an extensive range of optional extras.
These include Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission (standard on 450 SE/SEL and 450 SEL 6.9) which changes gears at exactly the right moment, whatever the speed. It makes driving even easier.
You can specify deluxe interior trim or high quality velours upholstery.
Tempomat (standard on 450 SEL and 450 SEL 6.9) (cruise control) is another special optional extra; it can only be fitted with automatic transmission. When you have selected a cruising speed, the cruise control will keep the car at that speed for as long as you wish.
Air conditioning (standard on 450 SEL 6.9), or alternatively the temperature control system shown, will give you the temperature you need inside the car, whatever the weather.
Heated seats and orthopaedic back-rests are included in this range of optional equipment as well as lightweight alloy wheels, an electrically operated sliding roof with a draught deflector, headlamp wipers (standard on 450 SEL 6.9) and a central locking system (standard on 450 SEL and 450 SEL 6.9) which locks doors, boot and fuel tank. These are just a few examples.
Your Mercedes-Benz dealer will be glad to tell you about the complete range of optional extras for the S-class.
The unique Mercedes-Benz safety system
The Mercedes-Benz safety system does more than offer protection in the event of an accident.
Of course, it doesn't reduce the driver's responsibility but it does minimise the amount of anxiety and tension. Some of the elements that keep the occupants safe also protect other road users (the crumple zones, for example). And finally, part of the safety technology contributes to the overall stability and efficiency of the car itself. Co-ordinated integration here too.
One important example is the predetermined points where the front and rear distort and absorb energy in a collision. The occupants sit in an extremely strong passenger compartment. This is one of Daimler-Benz's pioneer achievements. Just how methodically details are taken into account is shown by the location of the fuel tank. It is placed in a protected position over back axle, and the tank filler neck is deformable so that in a collision it cannot break off.
A roof structure that does not stave in on impact has been developed to ensure rigidity should the car roll. Daimler-Benz have devoted years of testing to the improvement of flank protection and impact absorption in side impact. The result consists of strong side members, very sturdy hinges, doors that absorb impact energy and burst proof locks that can take a good deal of strain without bursting open in an accident.
The brunt of any side impact is borne initially by these matched components which deform only to a pre-calculated degree of indentation. With this system, additional reinforcement is superfluous.
Daimler-Benz are unsurpassed in safety research and in the application of its results.
In every Mercedes-Benz, the design of all the components is directed towards comprehensive, overall safety.
This includes the interior as well. It is padded with impact absorbing material. There are no sharp edges or corners. Switches and handles are either recessed or flexible.
The four-component safety steering column is yet another example. Under the broad padded boss there is a deformable impact absorber. The steering column is designed tp telescope on impact and so cannot be pushed into the car. The steering box is situated in a protected position well behind the front axle.
Perfection down to the smallest detail
If it is a matter of reducing the stress of what are sometimes difficult traffic and environmental conditions to the extent that man is freed from anxiety and fatigue, then that in itself is quite a challenge to technology.
If, in addition, one is to be able to drive totally aware and relaxed, that is to say considerately, then this is an even greater challenge.
In the S-class the achievement of this starts with the suspension, takes in the engine, includes safety and comfort and ends only with the smallest operating switch.
Almost every aspect of the design - every detail contributes to the reduction of driver stress through this co-ordinated integration.
For example, the anchorage points for the front seat belts. They are positioned to provide the highest possible degree of safety.
If you forget to switch your headlights off before you get out of the car, there is a warning buzzer to remind you.
The headlight setting can be adjusted depending on the load the car is carrying, so that the road ahead is always clearly visible without oncoming traffic being dazzled. A further contribution to safety.
Using the combination switch on the steering column you can operate the indicators, the variable-speed screen wipers, dip switch, headlamp flasher and screen washers.
Deflectors at the outer edge of the windscreen prevent the side windows from getting dirty. The more you are able to see, the safer you are.
All the important instruments and warning lights are well within the driver's field of vision. The controls and switches are placed where they should be; logically and clearly positioned to avoid any confusion.
The less attention you have to pay to your car the more you can concentrate on the road - and the more pleasure you'll get.