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  #1  
Old 12-09-2005, 03:53 PM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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Very interesting new tech features on the new W221

Meticuously analizing the new W221 the other day at the local dealership, I found some new and interesting features:

1/ The new reverse camera has three modes: standard (plain view at the back), parallel lines (it will project a couple of virtual red vertical lines about six feet away of the rear of the car on the the screen to advise the driver if the car would pass through a narrow opening (like a garage door), and projected zone parking: a virtual yellow rectangle (about the size of the car) will appear on the screen also six to teen feet away and will position itself accordingly of your rear speed and steering angle. This will actually predicts if the car will fit between two cars when parallel parking well BEFORE you start to manouvre to get between them.

2/ Each rear door holds switches for the rear right and left window.

3/ Also, each rear door holds a switch for the rear electric sunscreem, besides the regular switch at the front dash.

4/ The trunk inner lining holds a special bracket to store wet umbrellas.

5/ The central multipurpose navigation monitor can be adjusted sideways, to face more directly the driver or the front passenger.

6/ The dreaded I-knob at the central dash has a simulated stop feature that holds the knob frozen when you have reached the end of a menu when moving up/down or left/right.

7/ When a door is open, it will provide automatic accessory power to all features for three minutes before starting the car. Before turning itself off, it will advise you to turn the car on by its smart-key feature.

8/ The radio display at the central multipurpose screen mimicks the old radio displays with numbers and a needle passing over them from side to side. It is really a nice retro touch which looks almost identical to the tuner display of a Telefunken radio my father had many years ago.

Smart, isn't it?
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2005, 10:35 PM
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I have yet to see one and am looking forward to that over the next couple of months. From the pics I have seen the front view looks nice, but the rear is a bit Bangle for my taste.

MB seems to want to bump the quality up a lot, so we shall see if they are able to do this.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2005, 11:50 PM
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The new S-Class is definitely a technological marvel by automotive standards. I went for a ride in a fully loaded S500/550 a few weeks ago and had a chance to play around with the new gadgets. The Rear Parking Assist option is pretty neat, but the projected lines, which indicate the intended path of the vehicle only appear when the car is standing still. As soon as the car starts moving they disappear.

The Night View Assist feature is the one option I think makes the most sense from a safety standpoint. Infra-red projectors in the headlamps allow the driver to see much farther down the road with the help of a small IR camera mounted near the interior rear view mirror. The image is displayed on a screen in the center of the instrument cluster. The projectors don't switch on until the car reaches approx. eleven MPH though. Since infra-red light is invisible to the naked eye, drivers using this feature will be able to see more of the road ahead without blinding oncoming traffic by using their high-beams.

The new 221 also has a multi-contour/dynamic/massage seat option. I tried all the different settings in the car I drove. The one I liked the most was "fast and vigorous". I know it sounds silly, but I'm not kidding.

While the new S-Class is loaded with new stuff, some old things have been modernized. The parking brake is now high-tech. No more foot pedal actuated cables. The 221 has a switch ( located where the release handle would be ) that activates electric motors, to lock the rear wheels.

I could go on forever, but the thing I liked best about the 221 was the way it feels while driving. It feels BIG. It feels HEAVY. It's tight, smooth, and powerful. It feels more like a W140 than a W220. Some S-Class fans have been complaining for years about the "tinny" feel of the W220. While opinions will vary, it seems that MB is getting back to what it used to do best.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2005, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILUVMILS
I could go on forever, but the thing I liked best about the 221 was the way it feels while driving. It feels BIG. It feels HEAVY. It's tight, smooth, and powerful. It feels more like a W140 than a W220. Some S-Class fans have been complaining for years about the "tinny" feel of the W220. While opinions will vary, it seems that MB is getting back to what it used to do best.

I agree 100% with you! I am one of those die-hard fans of W140s who think the W220 was just a fancy E-class, no match for what an S-class should be.

Now the W221 really goes back to its original roots (W116, W126, W140). Besides the electronic gimmicks and toys I was really most impressed by the quality of materials (inside and out) and how well put together the car is.

The only thing left to see is to see the first year of production go by and see what happens in terms of reliability.
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2005, 08:20 PM
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Well, my dealership just got our first new S550 and I was able to get some quality "seat time" in. I noticed a few differences between the one I checked out in October and this one. Apparently, the 221 from October had non-USA (probably European) version Rear Parking Assist and Night View Assist systems. The USA version of Rear Parking Assist displays the colored lines at all times, not just when the vehicle is stationary. Similarly, as soon as the Night View Assist feature is switched on, the "road ahead" image is displayed regardless of vehicle speed.


The reliability of the 221 remains to be seen. The new M273 V-8 is essentially the same design as the M272 V-6. Other than some minor oil consumption issues the M272 has proven to be an excellent performer all around. The 722.9 seven speed transmission is another story, though. Think of something that can go wrong with a transmission and this one will do it! Hardware, software, mechanical, you name it. MB is working frantically to straighten it out, but still you have to wonder. The electronics are going to be heavily scrutinized as well, given MB's recent history with tele-matics and other electronic issues.


The car at my dealership isn't for sale yet. It's just a demo vehicle. We don't even have pricing information yet. We've only had it for a couple days but several people have come in to check it out.
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  #6  
Old 12-25-2005, 10:44 AM
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The local dealership sold the first W221 I saw to a W220 2005 S 500 owner. In that car the colored lines at parking assist stayed on at all times (standing still and moving).

The dealer also has sold an S 500 4matic (W221) although it will be European delivered to the owner until late May or early June (when production of this model starts).

Most prospective buyers are holding for the S 320 CDI, eventhough the car is already being sold in Europe, it has not yet being certified to be sold here due to the high sulfur content on the diesel fuel here. This fact has played havoc to all G 400 CDIs and former W220 S 320 CDIs that were sold previously and now the factory wants to be more reserved about the issue.

One question though: Is the new W221 5.5 liter V8 being marketed in the U.S. as an S 550 ? The W221 euro version is being sold and presented on all brochures here as an S 500, not an S 550 .
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  #7  
Old 12-25-2005, 11:00 AM
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Yes, it's being sold as the S550. I imagine that in the not-too-distant future it will be available in several variants. Four-Matic for certain and probably a V-12. I'm not sure about diesel power, though. I suppose it could even come in a short wheelbase package.
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  #8  
Old 12-25-2005, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckwheat
And the shifter is on the column (steering wheel) - not on the console. IMHO that silly little change will put a severe dent in its market.

But the shifter will kill it anyway, despite all the other great refinements. Simply no-one will pay $120k+ for an ultra performance, 400hp, active suspsion auto with a column mounted shifter. The computer display control button/mouse replaces the shifter on the console.

I don't like column shifters anymore than you do, although I quite don't see the problem of the column shifter on the W221 if it has the upshift and downshift buttoms for manually changing ratios on the steering wheel (similar to those fitted to the W220 S 55 AMG).

In this case the floor mounted shifter becomes redundant.

What I DON'T like about the W221 column shifter is that it completely mimiks the column shifter from the B.M.W. 7-series. It is a straight through and CHEAP copy! Or, just to be more straight to the point, the whole front dash is a cheap copy of the 7-series dash. The design department at M.B. should have done better!

At European and worldwide makerts the W221 is now offered as an S 350, S 500 and S 320 CDI. The 4 matics are coming soon same as the V-12 (S 600?), and by november a new S 400 CDI V-8 is expected.
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  #9  
Old 12-25-2005, 12:07 PM
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I've been checking out some of the other MB sites with regard to the 221 and it appears that most people are trashing it!!! Everything from the interior, headlights, decklid, SAT antenna, fender flares, etc. The funny thing is, no one has driven it, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that no one complained about the shifter.


The column shift isn't as bad as you'd think though. It takes a little getting used to, but after a short time it becomes second nature. The new ML and R-class have the same setup, so I've had the chance to get familiar with it. I'm actually starting to like it better than the floor shift, and it's virtually impossible to spill a cup of coffee into it!!! It's been trouble-free, although I've had a handful of clients complain about the brief "grunt" heard when the shift motor runs.


The shift buttons on the backside of the steering wheel are a little different than the AMG version. On the S, ML, and R-class, there's a button/paddle on each side of the steering wheel, just like the AMG's. On the AMG's the left button is for downshifting, the right for upshifting. The new setup allows shifting up OR down using either button. The inboard side of the buttons are for downshifting, the outboard sides for upshifting.


Like it or not, I think this system is here to stay. Maybe in a few years it'll be replaced by a voice-activated system.
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  #10  
Old 12-25-2005, 04:42 PM
PA2TU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckwheat
And the shifter is on the column (steering wheel) - not on the console. IMHO that silly little change will put a severe dent in its market.

At least they got away from that Taurus-look and feel that plagued the 220s.

But the shifter will kill it anyway, despite all the other great refinements. Simply no-one will pay $120k+ for an ultra performance, 400hp, active suspsion auto with a column mounted shifter. The computer display control button/mouse replaces the shifter on the console.
Who say the shifter has to be on the floor? Where is the gear shifter on a modern race car located? Answer: On the steering wheel. On current production MB's, there is no mechanical linkage between the floor shifter and the transmission box. It is all electro-hydraulically shifted. From a ergo standpoint, column shifter makes more sense. When I am doing spirited driving, I want both hands on the steering wheel always. Therefore I do not see any loss of sale due to the column shifter. Design and fuction are more important than the traddition location of things. I will be more concern about reliability of all these features and worry less about how dare you (MB) change it. Give MB credit, they need to start thinking outside the box.

Well it is easier to me to say, I do not intend to spend $120K on a (S) car except if I am Bill Gates which I not. I intend to own a R-class in about 2-3 year when all the bugs are gone. Oh BTW, the R-clas has a column shifter.

Another point why are so many affixated about the rear end of a 7 series and now with the W221? I wonder why?
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  #11  
Old 12-25-2005, 06:56 PM
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one day i will own one of those cars.. just give me.. 20 years i figure by then my 300D will be retired to my garage to be my big matchbox car
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  #12  
Old 12-25-2005, 07:33 PM
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A. Rosich said: The radio display at the central multipurpose screen mimicks the old radio displays with numbers and a needle passing over them from side to side. It is really a nice retro touch which looks almost identical to the tuner display of a Telefunken radio my father had many years ago.
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Everything old is new again. I notice that many of the after-market CD and DVD players now have a real rotary volume control instead of the buttons that they used for a few years. Some things you just can't improve on. As far as all that other high-tech gear, well, in my opinion you don't need it and it is just more stuff to increase the price of the car....and then more service work and parts sales for the dealers when it fails.
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