Shanghai Auto Show: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class World Premiere

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Facelifted S-Class features new looks, updated tech, and different engine options.

In the title for the above video showcasing the facelifted 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Youcar asks is it “Still the Best?” Of course, that’s subjective, but Mercedes-Benz has certainly done its best to improve its flagship sedan, inside and out.

The big Benz gets a new grille, crystal-like LED taillamps, a redesigned lower rear bumper section, and new wheel designs. Engineers have made some big changes under the hood, too. In S450 and S450 4MATIC forms, the S-Class is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 with 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. A 463 horsepower/516 lb-ft version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 makes its way into the S560 and Mercedes-Maybach S560 4MATIC sedans. That same engine gets tuned up to 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft – and replaces the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 – in the S63. It’s a similar story with the S63’s transmission; the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission replaces the outgoing car’s 7-speed gearbox. Thanks to that 26 horsepower increase, change in transmissions, and the S63’s AMG Performance 4MATIC+ system, the new S63 can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds – a 0.5-second improvement over its predecessor. The S65 stays the course with its twin-turbo 6.0-liter AMG V12, which sends its 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft through an AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission and rear-wheel drive.

Inside the 2018 S-Class, brown seems to be the theme. According to Mercedes, “The material and color concept has also been carefully composed, and features a wide range of brown tones, including three new upholstery color combinations: Silk Beige/Deep-Sea Blue, Magma Grey/Espresso Brown and Mahogany/Silk Beige.” Two new natural grain ash wood trim packages are also available. The option of extended ambient lighting in a variety of areas including the trim pieces, center display, handle recesses, and door pockets adds color – 64 colors, to be exact.

Ambient lighting is just one part of another interior option: Energizing Comfort. Mercedes says it’s a world-first for a production car. It connects climate control, cabin fragrancing, the heat/ventilation/massage functions of the seats, lighting, and music to create a sort of rolling spa treatment for the driver and passengers. There are six Energizing Comfort programs: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort, and Training (that comes in three forms: muscle relaxation, muscle activation, and balance). According to a press release about the 2018 S-Class, “Each program runs for ten minutes and are visualized on the headunit with color graphics, and backed by suitable music. Five songs are already stored in the program. The key function in the ‘Vitality’ program, for example, is fast and upbeat music. If personal music selections are available, for example via the Media Interface, the system analyzes them in the background and assigns them to a program based on the beats per minute (bpm).”

As we told you last week, the 2018 S-Class has more self-driving capabilities than before. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC adjusts the car’s speed ahead of curves or intersections. Traffic Sign Assist keeps an eye on things such as speed limits and emits a warning when the driver exceeds them; Active Speed Limit Assist adjusts the S’s speed accordingly. Moving the turn signal stalk up or down causes the Active Lane Change Assist to make the corresponding lane change automatically within 10 seconds. If Active Steering Assist is engaged, but no driver involvement has been sensed for a certain amount of time, Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the S-Class to a stop. Other tech highlights include the LED Intelligent Light System with Ultra Wide Beam, the ability of Road Surface Scan to detect upcoming bumps in the road and set up the Active Body Control suspension for them, and the CURVE function from the S-Class Coupe, allowing the body of the car to lean into the inside of turns by as many 2.65 degrees to reduce the perception of lateral forces and body roll.

The Curve function is a part of the S65’s Curve driving mode, active between 9 and 112 mph. The S63 gets the RACE START function. When the brake and gas pedals are both held down at the same time while the car is in the Sport or Sport+ driving mode, the S63’s electronic brain dials in the best engine speed, setting the car up for a blistering launch. That’s made all the more vocal by the S63’s adjustable AMG Performance Exhaust System.

Both the S63 and S65 come standard with the AMG High-Performance Compound Braking System. That’s made up of 15.4″ x 1.4″ rotors and 6-piston fixed calipers up front and 14.2″ x 0.9 mm rotors and single-piston floating calipers in the back. That hardware can be upgraded to the AMG Ceramic Composite Braking System. Doing that adds 16.5″ x 1.6″ front and 14.2″ x 1.3″ rear rotors. Mercedes claims they have “a longer service life, higher corrosion resistance and higher thermal stability.”

No word on pricing yet, but the floodgates of information have clearly been opened already. MSRPs will come gushing through at a later date.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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