New engines and better tech are the highlights of the 2018 Mercedes S-Class.
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its updated S-Class flagship sedan at the Shanghai Motor Show. The new S-Class will arrive later this year as a 2018 model.
The model being displayed in Shanghai represents the S-Class' first major overhaul since it was introduced in 2013 as a 2014 model. The S-Class' mid-cycle update includes some cosmetic tweaks, but most of Mercedes' efforts have been focused on the car's technology and drivetrains.
Those visual changes include new grilles on all models, new bumpers front and rear, and new LED taillights designed to be "reminiscent of crystal jewels." Top-spec Maybach models get a new Maybach logo placed between the louvers of the car's radiator grille.
Inside the new S-Class adopts the same wide-screen cockpit display as the E-Class. That system is comprised of two 12.3-inch display screens that share a single glass cover, giving it the illusion of one big screen.
A new steering wheel incorporates Touch Control Buttons that operate in the same manner as a smartphone screen. Drivers can swipe their way through functions for the entire multimedia system.
Mercedes is adding two new natural grain ash wood trim options for 2018, as well as three new color combinations — Silk Beige/Deep-Sea Blue, Magma Grey/Espresso Brown and Mahogany/Silk Beige.
A new ENERGIZING Comfort package also joins the S-Class' options list for 2018. The system links various components of the new S-Class, including climate control, seats (heater, ventilation and massage), lighting, music and fragrancing, to enable a "specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the driver." Six ENERGIZING Comfort programs are available — Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort and Training.
On the tech front, the 2018 S-Class ushers in the next-generation of Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive. Some highlights of the semi-autonomous system include automatic speed adjustment for curves or intersections, improved Active Lane Change Assist, Traffic Sign Assist and a new Active Emergency Stop Assist that will automatically bring the car to a stop if it detects that the "driver is not intervening in the driving process on a sustained basis."
Other improvements include an Active Body Control suspension that can tilt the car by up to 2.65 degrees for better cornering, Ultra Wide Beam LED headlights and wireless phone charging.
The new entry point into the S-Class range for 2018 will be the S450. Available in rear and all-wheel drive, S450 models will be powered by a 3.0L biturbo V6 developing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The next step up will be the S560. Also available in Mercedes-Maybach guise, the S560 uses a 4.0L biturbo V8 with 463 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque on tap. Billed as one of the most economical V8 engines in the world, the new 4.0L uses a CAMTRONIC system that can automatic switch the engine to four-cylinder mode under certain conditions.
The new Mercedes-AMG S63 sedan uses a massaged version of the 4.0L V8 that cranks out 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. It shifts exclusively through a nine-speed automatic and sends power to the ground via Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. Mercedes says the S63 can hustle from 0-60 in a sports car-like 3.4 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 186mph.
The range-topping Mercedes-AMG S65 sedan arrives with a familiar 6.0L V12 biturbo that offers 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the new S63, the S65 uses a seven-speed automatic and can only be had with rear-wheel drive. Those limitations probably explain why the S65 takes a comparatively leisurely 4.2 seconds to hit 60. Its top end of 186mph mirrors that of the S63.
Mercedes' new S-Class range is expected to arrive in dealer showrooms by this summer. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
Live images by Ronan Glon.