Mercedes-Benz has officially revealed its updated S-Class range as part of the Shanghai Auto Show, and as expected from the brand’s flagship sedan cutting edge technologies lead the charge for the brand, along with new powertrains and subtly updated styling.
Perhaps the most important feature of the new S-Class is the return of the inline six-cylinder engine, as confirmed by Mercedes-Benz in 2016. In the case of the S-Class, straight sixes power both the diesel S 350 d and S 400 d, with inline six-cylinder petrol engines and plug-in hybrid variants set to arrive later.
Both diesel engines feature a 2.9 litre capacity, with the S 350 d rated at 210kW and 600Nm, and the more powerful S 400 d capable of 250kW and 700Nm. In Europe all S-Class models move to 4Matic all wheel drive (though right hand drive models stick to rear wheel drive only), with fuel consumption for the 350 d rated at 5.5 l/100km and the 400 d at 5.6 l/100km
The S-Class V8 models also feature new engines, with the previous 4.7-litre S 500 replaced by the 4.0-litre S 560, running a detuned (and mass-produced) variation of the V8 engine used by the AMG C 63 and rated at 345kW and 700Nm, with an 8.5 l/100km official fuel figure.
The Mercedes-AMG S 63 also moves to a 4.0-litre twin turbo engine in place of the previous 5.5-litre unit, but this time the hand-assembled unit produces a more remarkable 450kW and 900Nm, 15kW up on the old engine, with torque unchanged.
On the technology front the updated S-Class adds a world-first Energizing Comfort Control system that links functions including the climate control, interior fragrance, seat heating, cooling, and massage, ambient lighting and musical atmospheres (with with pre-installed musical selections) allowing users to selected from six programmes including Freshness, Joy, Vitality, Warmth, Comfort or Training designed to improve driver wellness through a matched mood-setting of the vehicles systems.
Mercedes-Benz has also updated its suite of autonomous technologies with Distronic Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist, which further the S-Class’ self-driving capabilities by anticipating curves and junctions and adjusting vehicle speed appropropriate for greater occupant comfort.
Mercedes-Benz has also updated the Magic Body Control system including Road Surface Scan to provide more detailed road surface mapping in a wider range of conditions and adjusting the suspension to suit, increasing occupant comfort. Curve, a system that can reduce body roll by up to 2.65 degrees has also been made available on the S-Class sedan having debuted on the S-Class coupe range
On the outside the new S-Class can be identified by a new “three torches of light” daytime running light signature that puts a three-pronged LED motif in the upper part of the headlights, while crystal-look LED and fibre-optic tail lights update the rear. New alloy wheels designs, an updated grille and new bumpers, including deeper front bumper apertures across the range, round out the exterior changes.
Mercedes-AMG S 63 and S 65 models are also treated to a series of mild styling revisions, although the new AMG Panamericana grille, as seen on the AMG GT and new E 63 is noticably absent from the S-Class models, which stick to a more traditional chrome grille with horizonal slats.
Inside the S-Class keeps its dual 12.3-inch widescreen cockpit display, but adds newly design steering wheels with touch-sensitive control as first used in the E-Class. The previous ‘clown face’ two spoke steering wheel design has been banished in favour of a more conventional steering wheel design.
European deliveries of the refreshed S-Class range are scheduled to begin in July, with Australian deliveries scheduled to begin in December 2017.