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2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Still big, but no longer a behemoth.

By Paul A. Eisenstein

Review Pages
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1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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Overview

Mercedes-Benz has completely redesigned its top-of-the-line S-Class sedans for 2000. The S430 is powered by a 4.3-liter V8, while the S500 uses a 5.0-liter V8. The two S-Class models sport a striking coupe-like profile and a unique face reminiscent of the company's oval-headlight models.

They aren't as long overall as the previous generation of S-Class cars, but they are roomier, faster, lighter, more efficient and far more sophisticated.

The S-Class earned the "Best of Show" award at the most recent Paris Motor Show. Mercedes cars are vastly improved from where they were nearly a decade ago: When the last-generation S-Class debuted, it became an object of derision. It was a masterpiece of engineering, but it became a symbol of an era that had come and gone. It was too heavy, ostentatious and expensive and it guzzled gas.

The shortcomings of the S-Class made it clear the automaker needed to break with its smug tradition. It was time to listen to the customer and watch the competition--particularly a newcomer called Lexus.

This newly redesigned 2000 Mercedes-Benz S500 is proof that Mercedes has seen the light, a symbol of a turnaround. It debuted in Europe last fall and is now making its appearance at U.S. dealerships -- 18 months ahead of the company's original schedule.


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