Stately Design

Redesigned for 2007, the S-Class has always been a handsome, if conservative, car. For 2010, a few visual updates give it a more assertive presence, which is a welcome change. The bumpers get a more aggressive front air dam that's flanked by horizontal LED daytime running lights on all but the base S400. The grille is more angular, and it keeps Mercedes' trademark three-pointed hood ornament. The rear bumper has wider tailpipes integrated into it, and the rear loses the earlier color-striped taillights for a more uniform red. This is how it should have been all along; side-by-side with the '10, the '09 taillights look a bit dorky.

Top-tier luxury sedans from BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and Audi offer regular and extended wheelbases. For American buyers, the S-Class comes in just one wheelbase, and it's long. Sedans like these are as long as most minivans, and with an overall length of 206.5 inches, the S-Class is among the group's largest. Its 40-foot turning circle falls on the tighter side of the class, believe it or not, but that's still well into SUV territory. City drivers, you've been warned.

Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard. A Sport package on the S400 and S550 adds larger wheels, as well as the requisite deeper bumpers and side skirts. The S600 has unique bumpers and 18-, 19- or 20-inch wheels. The S63 and S65 AMG have even more aggressive bodywork, along with 20-inch wheels and quad tailpipes.

    See also:

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    Releasing the cargo net
    Seat belt reel holder behind the front seats ► Pull belt adjuster 1 upwards in the direction of the arrow to reduce the tension on the tensioning strap. ► Unhook belt hook 2 from car ...

    Important safety notes
    The use of seat belts and infant and child restraint systems is required by law in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and all Canadian provinces. Even where this is not ...