The refreshed 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan has been shown ahead of the 2017 Shanghai auto show this week. As always, Mercedes’ flagship sedan comes in several flavors from the base model all the way to the top-spec AMG variants.
The biggest news for the German automaker’s flagship sedan is the brand’s latest Intelligent Drive suite of active safety and driver assistance tech. The automaker says the new features bring the S-Class closer to autonomous driving.
New tech includes Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Steering Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, and Route-Based Speed Adaptation where the car anticipates speed reduction based on map data such as bends, junctions, roundabouts, toll booths, and exit ramps.
Other features include Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Car-to-X communication, and Pre-Safe Plus. The new S-Class also gets trick safety features that first debuted on the E-Class like Pre-Safe Impulse Side, which can inflate the seat bolsters when an imminent side impact is detected to move the occupant up to 2.75 inches away from the crash zone; and Pre-Safe Sound, which omits an interference signal that can help prevent hearing loss in the event of a crash.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Exterior and Interior
The changes to the exterior are minor, as is the usual practice in the flagship sedan segment. The grille has been revised and the internals of the headlights have been updated. The latter now includes three distinctive accents of light. The taillights also receive a three-bar design. The front bumper design used for the AMG models is much more aggressive and for those buyers opting for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, there’s a new Maybach logo between the louvers of the front grille.
The headlights remain full-LED units and now feature an available “ultra-wide” beam pattern that lights up much more of the road and surrounding area. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, the LEDs of the high-beam are switched off.
In the cabin, the dual-screen digital dash now features a single pane of glass enclosing a pair of 12.3-inch screens. The odd-looking two-spoke steering wheel has been replaced with a more conventional three-spoke design featuring touch-sensitive controls, and the Burmester sound system benefits from a few extra speakers. Buyers will find new trim and lighting packages to further customize the cabin as well as a “wellness” feature that adjusts the climate control system (including fragrancing), the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), and lighting to make occupants feel more relaxed.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Under the Hood
Under the hood, the new S-Class scores an almost-entirely new set of engines. The V-8 endures beneath the hood, albeit in a new downsized form; in spite of the nomenclature changes, the 4.0-liter shares identical displacement between the Mercedes-Benz S560, the Mercedes-Maybach S560, and the Mercedes-AMG S63. Power, however varies greatly; the Benz and Maybach versions make 496 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, while the AMG cranks out 612 hp and 664 lb.-ft. There’s also a new inline-six diesel engine that comes in two states of tune, the latter making 340 hp and 516 lb.-ft. (The gasoline version of the forced-induction straight-six will arrive shortly; a plug-in hybrid version packing more than 30 miles of electric range should also be arriving shortly.).
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Prices and Available
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is set to hit Europe this summer, with a U.S. debut likely coming sometime before the end of the year.