Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mercedes' $100,000 baby is ultimate in luxury

As I slide behind the wheel of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz S550, I'm faced with a tough decision. What kind of a massage do I want?

A screen on the instrument panel lists the options for the driver's seat: Slow and gentle, slow and vigorous, fast and gentle or fast and vigorous.

I select "slow and gentle" and start out on a 300-mile journey in mid-January.

The high-tech massaging seat is just a small part of the technology-packed new Mercedes-Benz flagship sedan.

In fact, the S550 is so advanced that the company's media launch included a lengthy afternoon technical session prior to the drive. The session educated reporters on the intricacies of such new options as "Distronic Plus," a radar-based adaptive cruise control that basically takes over accelerating and braking of the car from a dead stop. Most other cruise controls systems only work at speeds over 20 mph or higher.

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