Mercedes-Benz provides the first official photos of its new flagship '07 S-Class sedan, which goes on sale in Europe this fall and in the U.S. in early 2006.

The sedan features sharper angles and cleaner lines than its predecessor, along with a 1.7-in. (4.3-cm) increase in length, 1-in. (2.5-cm) increase in width and more than a 3.0-in. (7.6-cm) gain in wheelbase.

'07 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes says the '07 S500 model marks the first application for the auto maker's new family of V-8 engines, with increased displacement, 4-valve-per-cylinder technology, variable valve timing and light-weight crank assembly.

While Mercedes will offer its renowned 3.2L 6-cyl. diesel engine in the new S-Class for Europe, a Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman tells Ward's the auto maker has not yet decided when it will offer the powertrain in the U.S. “We're still studying that one,” he says.

The '07 S-Class also features Mercedes' 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission, featuring Touch Shift manual operation.

Mercedes also boosts safety features on the '07 S-Class, with improved Pre-Safe crash avoidance systems. (See related story: S-Class Gains Crash Avoidance Technology)

Making its debut on the '07 S-Class is Mercedes' infrared night vision system, which helps to extend driver visibility up to 500 ft. (152 m).

The system distributes infrared beams from two projectors mounted in the headlight assemblies. An infrared camera mounted in the windshield receives the reflected images and displays them onto a display in the instrument cluster.

Inside, the '07 S-Class features Mercedes' revamped Command system, with a new controller located on the lower center console.

While U.S. pricing will not be determined until closer to launch, Germans will have to pay a hefty increase for the new sedan. The S500 will carry a base price of €89,668 ($109,091), an €5,974 ($7,274) increase over the outgoing model.

The MBUSA spokesman says it is too early to determine whether the European increases are a good indicator of U.S. pricing.