The flagship line gets a minor facelift outside with a host of new tech on the inside.

We’ve had teasers aplenty for the facelifted 2018 Mercedes S-Class, which is scheduled for its official reveal this week at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. We knew a bevy of technological updates were going to accompany design chances throughout the lineup, and that’s exactly what we’re getting. In particular, the manufacturer’s flagship series will feature enhanced driver assistance options galore, further closing the gap between driver and driverless travel. Fear not, however, for there’s still plenty of horsepower and AMG wizardry to keep purists well-and-truly satisfied.

With the camouflage and covers finally removed we can see the full extent of this subtle mid-cycle refresh.  All models get redesigned front and rear fascias; six and eight-cylinder models also receive a new grille that was previously exclusive to V12 models, while Maybachs receive extra chrome trim with a Maybach logo between the louvers of the grille. New LED head- and taillamps are part of Merc’s new optional LED Intelligent Light System; up front that means Ultra Wide Beam high-beams as well as Road Surface Scan and a curve-tilting function. Two new 20-inch wheel styles round out the exterior changes.

Power wise, the big news is that Mercedes shoppers have a range of new boosted engines to choose from, starting with a biturbo 3.0-litre V6 making 362 horsepower. A biturbo 4.0-litre V8 good for 463 horsepower is available for the standard S560 and Maybach, while the AMG S63 gets a 603-horsepower version of the same engine, replacing the previous generation’s 5.5-litre mill. The S63 also gets a new AMG Speedshift MCT nine-speed automatic, that combined with the boosted V8 hustles the sedan to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometres per hour) in 3.4 seconds. The S65 soldiers on with its 621-horsepower V12.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S65 Sedan
2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sedan
2018 Mercedes-AMG S65 Sedan
2018 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

A few sneaky interior photos appeared little over a week ago, with the obvious change being a three-spoke steering wheel in place of the previous two-spoke design. Now we know a pair of new wood trim options are available, while ambient LED lighting with 64 available colors lights up the interior everywhere you need to see, and probably in a few places you don’t.

Dual 12.3-inch high-resolution displays share a single glass panel, displaying traditional gauges along with the myriad of on-board systems in completely digital cockpit. Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel function similar to the screen of a smartphone, allowing drivers to operate the entire multimedia system without letting go of the wheel. All functions can also be controlled via the touchpad with controller in the center console, and through voice control. Three display styles are available – Classic, Sport, and Progressive.

 

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sedan

 

A new system the manufacturer calls Energizing Comfort utilizes pretty much every creature feature in the S-Class to create different 10-minute “moods” that, according to Mercedes, “enhances the physical comfort and performance both while driving and during breaks.” In short, drivers choose one of six programs that utilize everything from the climate control to seat massaging functions, music, fragrances, and even the ambient lighting to create specific moods that are said to promote driver wellness. We presume that means helping keep drivers awake and alert as opposed to dimming the lights for a nap.

And that brings us to perhaps the biggest news for the new S-Class. It’s not the ability to nap behind the wheel – that’s still very much frowned upon and actually, if you should fall asleep or otherwise go unconscious, the S-Class will engage Active Emergency Stop Assist to bring the car to a complete stop if the driver doesn’t respond when Intelligent Drive is engaged, similar to the system found on the 2018 Cadillac CT6.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sedan
2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sedan

Active Steering and Distance Assist have been improved, and Active Lane Change Assist will now handle all the maneuvering from a single tap of the indicator stalk. The new S-Class will also automatically adjust speed ahead of curved or intersections, and it will use both stored data on speed limits as well as image recognition of speed limit signs to let drivers know when they’re being naughty. To accomplish this, the S-Class relies on a host of enhanced cameras, radars, and it also uses map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior.

Pricing for the 2018 S-Class hasn’t been announced. New models will begin arriving at dealerships this fall.

 

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Source: Mercedes-Benz

 

 

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