The Return of Mercedes to the Limousine Business

Posted on May 1, 2000 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

When it comes to stretched limousines, everybody knows that U.S. coachbuilders are willing to go to much greater lengths than the Detroit auto manufacturers. With European manufacturers, though, that's not necessarily the case. Recently we’ve seen extended-length limousines from such prestigious names as Volvo, Rolls Royce, and now Mercedes-Benz, as shown here. The wheelbase of this S-Class Pullman is nearly 40 inches longer than the base car, creating more than 27 inches of legroom between the opposed, electrically-adjustable seats, with space for as many as seven passengers. Either a 306hp V8 or 367hp V12 powers the Pullman, and both feature an automatic cut-out feature that shuts down one bank of cylinders at cruising speeds to conserve fuel.

The Mercedes marque is hardly a newcomer on the limousine scene, continuing a 70-year tradition with this model, named after the mid-19th century American industrialist George Mortimer Pullman, known for building particularly luxurious railway cars. Mercedes also used the Pullman designation on a previous model, the 600-series limousine built from 1964 to 1981. So why is Mercedes re-entering the market?There’s some conjecture that this niche market is a little more substantial than we realized,” notes Fred Heiler of Mercedes-Benz. “We think there is increased demand for livery vehicles, maybe due to the strong economy.”

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