he Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of the largest sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The S-Class, a product of nine lines of Mercedes-Benz models dating since the mid-1950s, has ranked as the world's best-selling luxury flagship sedan. As the foremost model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the S-Class has debuted many of the company's latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pretensioners). The latest generation, the W221 S-Class, premiered in 2006 as an all-new design. As in previous iterations, the latest S-Class is sold in standard and long wheelbase versions and offers V6, V8, V12, diesel and hybrid powertrains.
The name "S-Class" derives from the German word "Sonderklasse" of which "S-Class" is an abbreviation. Sonderklasse means "special class" (or rather: "In a class of its own"), and in automotive terms thus refers to "a specially outfitted car." Although used colloquially for decades, the "S-Class" designation was first officially applied in 1973 with the debut of the W116 model line. Since then, five generations of officially-named S-Class sedans have been produced.
Past two-door coupe models of the S-Class were known as SEC and later S-Coupe. In 1998 they were spun off in a separate line as the CL-Class, however it will be re-designated as the S-Coupe when launching the mid-generational facelift/refresh of the C216 later in 2009 as a 2010 model.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.