Shanghai Motor Show – Mercedes-Benz has revealed the facelifted version of its S-Class and the saloon flagship gains a host of new technologies as well as a brand new straight-six diesel engine option.
Exterior styling changes are subtle, but designers have worked in a new grille design, updated bumper, Multibeam LED headlights and refreshed LED taillights. Inside it gains Merc's "fully digital" wide-screen cockpit theme first seen in the E-Class, essentially placing two 31.2cm screens alongside one another from the driver's view to the central dash.
Most of the new gizmotronics are worked into existing autonomous driving features, and now the car can automatically slow down ahead of corners or potentially dangerous intersections by using data from the navigation system.
The new S also gets better camera and radar systems to better monitor surrounding traffic, and automatic lane changes have been simplified with single taps of the indicator stalk.
A new Emergency Stop Assist will safely halt the car if it senses prolonged periods of no driver input in autonomous modes. Lastly, the S can now be driven in and out of parking bays with remote control from a smartphone.
To make all the complex autonomy features easier for drivers to understand, a new Assistance Menu with simple graphic icons will now feature in the widened instrument cluster and on the head-up display.
Also included are new Multibeam LED and Ultra Range headlights which Merc says can “turn night into day” and new crystal-look tail lamps.
Big news on the engine front is a return to a straight-six in the S350d and S400d models, which use a 3-litre unit in two power outputs: 210kW/600Nm and 250kW/700Nm – the latter being the most powerful Mercedes diesel car yet. Mercedes-Benz says that a straight-six petrol engine is also in the pipeline for a later date.
But for now there is a new 4-litre V8 turbo petrol that makes 345kW/700Nm in the new S560 model and 450kW/900Nm in the AMG S63.
The updated S-Class will be available in South Africa from the first quarter of next year.