Unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show, the significantly upgraded Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan family benefits from host of cosmetic and mechanical upgrades, including a selection of new engines. It also introduces new Intelligent Drive functions that effectively move the automaker’s flagship closer to fully autonomous capability. The S-Class range includes Mercedes-Benz S450, S560 in rear- and 4Matic all-wheel drive, the Mercedes-Maybach S560 4Matic and rear-drive V12 S650 and Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic and V12 S65 models.

Sleeker look

Elevating its appeal, the 2018 S-Class sports a fresher face thanks to a new bumper with larger air intakes and a V12-style grille that includes model-specific inserts along with available LED Intelligent Light headlamps. The new setup introduce M-B’s Ultra Wide Beam and Adaptive Highbeam Assist features intended to lessen driver stress after dark. The tail receives a similar sleek tweaking, thanks to a redrawn fascia, crystal-look LED rear lamps and a new lower valence with a bright-framed integrated exhaust outlet. Depending on model, either 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels are standard. And, as always, the Maybach has an added measure of chrome while AMG-spec cars benefit from bolder and in many cases, lighter body panels.

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Inside, the new S-Class family has revised trim colors and combinations as well as two new natural grain ash wood accents. Like the new E-Class, the S-Class upgrade also includes a redesigned 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with Touch Control Buttons. Dual 12.3-inch high-resolution digital displays share a single piece of glass for the main instrument cluster and new Comand multimedia infotainment systems offers support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Qi-standard wireless device charging. The AMG-spec cabins feature distinctive touches like deeply bolstered Multicontour Adaptive Sport Seats, a performance steering wheels with shift paddles and unique instrument displays and graphics. Mercedes-Maybach trim includes an extended leather package as well as “executive” rear seats with a 43-degree recline angle and power calf rest.

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Mercedes also notes the new S-Class will be the first production vehicle to offer an optional Energizing Comfort feature. The approach integrates the climate control, frangrances, seat heat/ventilation/massage, console heating, ambient lighting and audio systems to create up to six different Energizing Comfort programs.

More power

In the U.S., the revised 2018 S-Class lineup will feature a pair of new engines. The S450 and S450 4Matic entry level models have a 3.0-liter Biturbo V6 that makes 362 horsepower while both the standard S-Class and Maybach S560s carry a 4.0-liter Biturbo V8 that develops 463 horses and features cylinder deactivation that makes it 10 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing 449-horse/4.7-liter twin-turbo V8. The handcrafted 4.0-liter AMG alternative in the S63 4Matic features the same technology and cranks out a stout 603 horsepower, 26 more than the 5.5-liter force-fed V8 it replaces. While all of these engines are backed by a 9-speed automatic transmission, the S63 gets an AMG SpeedShift MCT version that bring quicker cog changes. Both RWD-only V12 Maybach and AMG models are fitted with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 that makes 523 horsepower in the Maybach S650 and 621 in the AMG. Each continues to be paired with the existing 7-speed G-Tronic Plus automatic.

Mercedes says it has improved the functionality of active assists for blind spot detection, lane keeping, lane changing, emergency braking, distance control and evasive steering while adding the potential for V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication. The dynamics of the S-Class contingent has been further enhanced for 2018, particularly on models with Active Body Control. For the first time, the ABC setup on the sport suspension of the S65 Sedan has been augmented with the same curve-tilting function formerly used only on the S-Class Coupes. This driver-selectable tweak forces the body to actively lean into a corner thereby reducing perceived lateral forces.

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup will start arriving in showrooms this fall, with all versions on sale by the end of the year. Pricing will be announced later.

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