What do you do when you dominate the competition? In the case of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the answer is to keep things fresh. And that means an update of the big sedan is making its debut this week at the Shanghai Motor Show.
At first glance, there are no big surprises, the exterior and interior updates modest, at most. As with the current version of the Teutonic sedan, the emphasis is on technology, with the 2018 Mercedes S-Class introducing the latest suite Intelligent Drive and advanced driver assistance systems.
“The development of the new S-Class was extremely extensive. With a whole series of new features and functions, the S-Class remains a technological pioneer,” said Ola Källenius, the head of R&D for the Mercedes brand, ahead of the S-Class debut in Shanghai.
The current S-Class was a technical tour de force when it debuted just three years ago, introducing a range of features, including the ability to drive hands-free, albeit for only short stretches of time. The new S-Class takes things a step further with a long list of new features that include:
- Active Distance Assist Distronic not only maintains a safe distance while cruising at a set speed but routinely adjusts both speed and distance when, for example, the vehicle enters a curve;
- Active Steering Assist essentially takes over the task of maintaining the vehicle in its lane;
- Active Lane Change Assist is upgraded for 2018 and now lets the S-Class pass automatically, simply by tapping the turn signal stalk;
- Active Emergency Stop Assist will brake the S-Class to a complete stop when Active Steering Assist is engaged but the system determines the driver is not “intervening,” a way of saying the motorist doesn’t regularly put hands on the wheel;
- Intelligent Light System with Ultra Wide Beams will use the LED brights to light up a broader swath of road when there is no oncoming traffic, something especially useful to sped animals and pedestrians in urban areas.
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The full range of new S-Class models are on display in Shanghai, from the Mercedes-Benz S450 to the Mercedes-AMG S65, as well as the big Mercedes-Maybach S650.
Visual changes start with a revised front fascia and bumper and updated LED headlights. In the rear, there are new LED taillights and an updated bumper. The S-Class line also offers two new 20-inch wheel choices.
Inside, there are three new upholstery options, a new, three-spoke steering wheel and the large COMAND infotainment system gets not only a software update but a new, single-piece glass display. There’s also a new, wireless phone charging system added to the center console.
The new Energizing Comfort system links together an assortment of features, such as the automatic climate control, the fragrance dispenser, LED backlighting and even musical ambience.
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The updated 2018 Mercedes-Benz S450 and S450 4Matic models are now powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Also new for ’18, the S560 and S560 4Matic – which replace the old S550 models — are motivated by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 producing 463 hp and 516 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with a new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic.
The big news for the AMG side of the S-Class line comes with the S63, which subs a new 4.0-liter V-8 for the old 5.5-liter package. It may be smaller but it boosts power to 603 h and 664 lb-ft. The S65 carries over its 6.0-liter V-12, and maintains its rating at 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Both models use an AMG-tuned version of 9G-Tronic and 4Matic all-wheel-drive.
As for the Mercedes-Maybach S560, it shares the same, new 4.0-liter engine as Mercedes-Benz S560. The Maybach wheelbase still measures 7.9 inches longer, with an interior package modeled after a business jet, with back seats that recline up to 43 degrees.
Mercedes says pricing for U.S. S-Class models will be released closer to the on-sale date late this year.
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