The revised S-Class, a 2018 model with all three iterations – Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Maybach – was shown to the world under one massive roof.
The W222 and X222 S-Class models were leaps and bounds ahead of not just the rest of the field, but also their predecessors, when they launched back at the end of 2013. The new car retains the proportions and some of the interior layout styling, but is heavily revised not just in the features department, but also in the engines and badging choices. Updated autonomous solutions, more comprehensive safety and interface ideas, and an array of all-new OM656 straight-six and V8 engines make their presence felt, and in a big way. Here are the essential highlights.
First up, the most noticeable change is the form of the new headlamp clusters. The MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE High Beam now feature even more advanced active lighting, telling with the three ‘torches’ acting as the light signature. The headlamps, with High Beams on, are capable of illuminating up to 650 metres of the road ahead. The active lighting dynamically disables part of the beam to prevent dazzling oncoming motorists whenever required. The new front grille, with its chrome-outlined three-slat layout, borrows heavily from the Maybach. The AMG models get a vertical slat for a more pronounced stance, plus a sportier lower air-dam.
The cabin continues with a familiar look but, underneath, has been updated with a plethora of advanced comfort and convenience features. The wall-heating function, and enriching AGARWOOD fragrancing being key to what is essentially a breakthrough in mood management: ENERGISING Comfort Control. This ‘wellness function’ combines the climate control, music system, seat heating/ventilation and massage controls, the 64-colour ambient lighting, fragrancing as well as wall-heating to create an environment in the car best suited to your mood – or to change the one you’re in, as needed. Six programmes are available: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort and Training.
The dual 12.3-inch screen info-display continues, and seems like one seamless panel. It also allows the driver to choose one of three display modes: Classic, Sporty and Progressive. The cabin itself gets spruced up with a classier layout, subtly redone. It still looks every bit as posh, however, one can’t help but see the family resemblance in here. The concierge service is now even more advanced, akin to a personal assistant, allowing passengers to use the LINGUATRONIC voice control for various conveniences, other than navigation and calling, such as making hotel reservations or booking movie tickets.
The safety features now include a smarter DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control which, together with the Active Proximity Control, Active Steer Assist, Active Lane Change Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist, allows for stop-go cruising and supports a higher maximum speed as well as speed moderation around curves. Traffic Sign Assist is also part of the package. The usual full complement of active and passive safety features including advanced traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, and airbags are, needless to say, standard kit. The addition of Road Surface Scan, updated Magic Body Control which also packs a more advanced CURVE tilting function all point to even greater capability for autonomous driving. Besides, the car now calculates the driving style by using map and navigation data.
Now, on to the engines. The initial model line sees five models: the new S 560 petrol (in both -Benz and -Maybach guises), with a 469-PS BiTurbo 4.7-litre V8 (up from 455 PS in the S 500), the all-new S 350 d and S 400 d with a straight-six 3.0-litre turbo diesel making 286 PS/600 Nm and 340 PS/700 Nm respectively, an all-new AMG S 63 gets the 4.0-litre M177 motor tuned up all the way to 612 PS and 900 Nm (remember the old S 65? 612 PS), and, finally, the barely-changed-because-it’s-already-so-potent AMG S 65 with the BiTurbo V12 making 630 PS and 1,000 Nm paired to the AMG SpeedShift 7G-Tronic driving the rear wheels. Speaking of which, the S 560, S 350 d and S 400 d all use the 9G-Tronic automatic with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive. The S 63 gets the AMG nine-speed SpeedShift multi-clutch unit and 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive. But not the S 65. That’s old-school brute force delivered with a slightly fluffier and better-autonomous velvet cushion for 2018.
There are more new drivelines planned too. The inclusion of a 48V Integrated Starter Alternator and electric booster compressor is indeed big news. Expect an S 400 and S 500, with the new M256 3.0-litre BiTurbo straight-six engines making about 350 PS and 410 PS respectively. The new modular engine architecture will not just improve weight, but also refinement, being developed from the outset as the the spearhead for a whole family of new engines. Stay tuned for more on that front. There is also an electric model – with a pure electric range of 50 km thanks to a larger 13.3 kWh battery – as well as an all-new BiTurbo V8 engine planned.
The all-new S-Class will roll out globally in a phased manner. We should see it arrive later this year. Next on the cards for Mercedes-Benz India are, of course, new versions of the new E-Class, including its AMG 43 avatar, with the GLC’s Coupé avatar also likely, as are their newly-introduced AMG 63 counterparts.
Story: Jim Gorde
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