Mercedes-Benz S-class revised; debuts at the Shanghai show

New engines, even more luxury and even more technology for the Mercedes flagship

Mercedes-Benz has launched a revised version of its flagship S-class at the 2017 Shanghai motor show. Set to debut in UK markets from July, the updated car features a range of new engines and further tweaks to its autonomous driving capabilities, as well as other technological improvements.

Mercedes has made the job of differentiating the new S-class a little easier thanks to a new radiator grille. Six- and eight-cylinder models share a three twin-louvre design with vertical strips and a gloss black finish for the fins, while long-wheelbase and V12 models get additional chrome vertical strips.

If that doesn’t work as a method of identification, the more eagle-eyed will spot new multi-beam LED headlights at the front and crystal-like LED tail lamps. Like the recently-introduced E-class Coupe, these play something of a light show when the car is unlocked and locked, echoing the coloured DRL display at the other end of the car.

> Mercedes-Benz E-class Coupe review - Luxury coupe best served as a 'six

Front and rear bumpers are subtly different too, and there’s a smattering more chrome - but otherwise, the S-class is the same behemoth it’s always been. Thankfully, that also applies inside, where the S still has one of the best cabins in the business. Two 12.3-inch high-resolution displays sit behind a single glass cover and provide as much information as any driver could require.

Touch sensitive controls on the steering wheel can be operated much like the screen of a smartphone, with swiping motions giving access to various menu, while a similarly touch-sensitive control on the centre console controls the infotainment functions. Elsewhere there’s an “Energizing” comfort control to make the interior as relaxed an environment as possible - changing the seat heating and cooling, massage functions, interior air fragrance, mood lighting and various other features.

Relaxation in the S-class is as much about the way it gets down the road as it is spraying perfume through the vents though, and to that end the new 463bhp, 516lb ft V8 in the S 560, the bi-turbo V8 of the S 63, and Mercedes’ most powerful diesel ever - with up to 335bhp and 516lb ft - in the S 400d. A slightly less powerful S 350d also makes its debut.

While the latter wouldn’t normally be a subject of intrigue, the diesel marks the revival of the straight-six layout for Mercedes, as well as variable valve lift, and the combination of an aluminium block and steel pistons. It’s said to comply with the future Real Driving Emissions legislation, which will be a more accurate way of measuring emissions and consumption than the existing NEDC cycle.

An inline-six petrol is also on the way, as well as a plug-in hybrid. So is Mercedes’ 48-volt electrical system, which powers the integrated starter alternator, various high power consumers such as the water pump and aircon compressor.

> New inline six-cylinder heads Mercedes engine strategy

S-class luxury is also a function of its ride quality, so improvements to the Magic Body Control suspension, curve-tilting (as already found in the S-class Coupe) and an improved ability to read the road as part of the Road Surface Scan system to prepare the suspension for the surface ahead.

Autonomous tech has also improved, with tweaks to Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist, improved lane-changing abilities and new functions for the Active Emergency Stop Assist. Enhanced camera and radar systems allow all elements to work more effectively than before, while the car can use map and navigation data to adjust vehicle speed depending on the driving environment and conditions.

The updated S-class is being shown at Shanghai in standard, Maybach and AMG forms. Click here to read about more new vehicles being unveiled in Shanghai.

Recommended

DS9 E-Tense 2022 review – a French twist on the executive recipe
DS9 Performance Line – front cornering
Reviews

DS9 E-Tense 2022 review – a French twist on the executive recipe

A comfortable, finely detailed take on an executive saloon, but there are gaps in its repertoire
6 Aug 2022
Bentley Flying Spur V8 S revealed – sporty makeover for the luxury saloon
Bentley Flying Spur V8 S – front
Bentley

Bentley Flying Spur V8 S revealed – sporty makeover for the luxury saloon

Bentley’s ‘S’ range is now complete, with the Flying Spur joining the Continental GT and Bentayga in the lineup
13 Jun 2022
Rolls-Royce Phantom II debuts – the ultimate luxury experience on four wheels
Rolls-Royce Phantom II – side sports
Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Phantom II debuts – the ultimate luxury experience on four wheels

There are luxury cars, and then there’s the new Phantom II and its unmatched opulence
12 May 2022
Maserati Trofeo MC Editions revealed for Quattroporte, Levante and Ghibli
Maserati MC Edition – Ghib front
Maserati

Maserati Trofeo MC Editions revealed for Quattroporte, Levante and Ghibli

Maserati’s 562bhp Trofeo models to don the traditional hues of their Modenese homeland in new MC Editions
3 Feb 2022

Most Popular

Eagle Jaguar E-type Lightweight 2022 review
Eagle Jaguar E-type Lightweight
Reviews

Eagle Jaguar E-type Lightweight 2022 review

Road-racer restomods come little more sublime than Eagle’s take on the Jaguar E-type Lightweight
5 Aug 2022
BMW 1M v Porsche Boxster Spyder v Renault Sport Clio V6
BMW 1M v Porsche Boxster Spyder v Renault Sport Clio V6
Features

BMW 1M v Porsche Boxster Spyder v Renault Sport Clio V6

These three evo icons are powered by three very different six‑cylinder engines and deliver three highly diverse driving experiences. We get reacquaint…
3 Aug 2022
Used Ford Focus ST (Mk4, 2019 to date) review and buyer’s guide
Ford Focus ST Estate FF – static
Reviews

Used Ford Focus ST (Mk4, 2019 to date) review and buyer’s guide

The Focus ST is quick and entertaining, and while not a class leader it’s a great hot hatch all-rounder
4 Aug 2022