Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

2007 Mercedes-Benz S550 Systems

Head of the Class

By Alain Gayot

Read the Mercedes-Benz S550 Review

Night View Assist
With a significantly higher risk of fatal accidents occurring after dark, the S-Class’ Night View Assist (pictured above) uses infrared technology to give the driver a clearer view at night. Using two infrared headlamps and an infrared-sensitive camera in the windshield, drivers will detect people, animals, cars and other obstructions ahead much earlier than with the bi-xenon headlights alone. The grayscale image is displayed in the liquid crystal instrument cluster, relegating the speedometer to the lower portion of the screen.

If the S-Class detects an accident is unavoidable through the Distronic radar and a lack of driver response, a series of preventative safety measures are automatically taken. In stage one, rear head restraints are raised, supporting bolsters in the seats are inflated, windows and sunroof are closed, and seat belts are pretensioned. In stage two, emergency braking is automatically applied.

Distronic Plus
Adaptive cruise control systems such as Distronic Plus are becoming a popular feature in the luxury car segment. Using a laser emitter mounted in the grille, the S-Class will detect another vehicle ahead and slow down accordingly while cruise control is activated. Never again do drivers need to hit the brakes when that pokey minivan is clogging the freeway – the car does it for them. Distronic Plus goes one significant step further, however. Utilizing the same laser emitter, the S-Class can creep along in stop-and-go traffic without any brake or acceleration inputs from the driver. The laser simply locks onto the car ahead and matches speed.

Park Assist
Like many such systems, Park Assist provides the driver with an audible warning indicating that obstructions could be present while parking. The Mercedes-Benz system offers additional visual warnings that show how close the S-Class is to parked cars or walls.

Brake Assist Plus
Brake Assist Plus reduces stopping distance by up to 45 percent by increasing the intensity of the driver’s braking if the risk of a rear-end collision is detected by Distronic’s laser radar.


Read the Mercedes-Benz S550 Review

Check out other Mercedes-Benz models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Mercedes-Benz website

(Updated 12/20/11 NW)