The year 2001 marks Mercedes-Benz's 100th anniversary of using name Mercedes. It's from the name of Mercedes Jellinek, daughter of an early Daimler-Benz distributor. (What kind of car line might have evolved if they used her last in Jellinek-Benz?)

But enough history and historical what-ifs. In the new model year, Mercedes-Benz plans to continue its product offensive which began a few years back and which has been breaking sales records ever since.

New for '01 are two all-new C-Class models, a CLK55 AMG, a facelift for the SLK-Class and AMG aerodynamic enhancements for the SL-Class.

Then there are those Mercedes gizmos. That includes an "Internet on Wheels" service for a $125 fee plus airtime.

Mercedes-Benz USA also introduces the first-ever smart cruise control in this country.

Available on the '01 S-Class sedans and CL-Class coupes, the new Distronic (a blend of "distance" and "electronic") system uses a radar sensor to help maintain a pre-set distance from the car in front.

The system will slow down the Mercedes if it gets too close to a slower-moving vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz has big plans for the redesigned entry-level C-Class, with hopes of doubling segment market share to 7%. Luxury leader Mercedes has momentum, and is not about to ease up.