2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Luxury, speed, safety . . . and night vision

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It sees at night, prevents accidents, and leaves most sports cars in the dust: The ninth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class is more than a simple luxury upgrade. Its Brake Assist Plus system uses long- and short-range radar to anticipate and avoid collisions–or, at the very least, lessen the severity of a crash–by automatically braking with full force if you don't stomp on the brake hard enough to stop in time. More impressive is the Night View Assist, which shines infrared beams down the road to illuminate hazards that are beyond the reach of the headlights. A special camera on the rearview mirror reads the infrared and shows you a crisp, clear image of what's coming on an eight-inch LCD screen in the instrument panel. A 5.5-liter V8 under the hood of the S550 produces 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, enough to push this sedan to 62 mph in a scant 5.4 seconds. The premium luxury sedan has a new standard, and it is very high. $75,000â€$130,000 (estimated)