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by Daniel DeGasperi

The sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class will arrive in Australia earlier than expected, in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Speaking at the international launch of the all-new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications manager David McCarthy confirmed that two bodystyles and three spec levels would launch initially, with more to follow.

Arriving between October and December this year will be the S350 BlueTEC with a 190kW/620Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6; the S500 with a 355kW/700Nm 4.7-litre twin-turbo petrol V8; and the S63 AMG with yet-to-be-announced outputs.

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All will be available in short wheelbase versions, with only the S350 and S500 scoring a long wheelbase option from launch.

Following in the second quarter of 2014 will be the as-yet unreleased S600 long wheelbase grade, while “a 90 to 95 per cent chance” of being added to the range at the same time will be the S300 hybrid and S400 twin-turbo petrol V6. The S300 will be available with the smaller body only, while the S400 will be available in both short and stretched format.

In Europe the S400 gets a 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 teamed with a 20Nm electric motor, which is only two seconds slower from 0-100km/h compared with the S500 – 6.8 seconds versus 4.8sec – but claims 6.3L/100km combined, compared with 8.6L/100km. The S400 for Australia, however, will utilise the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, with an expected 245kW and 480Nm, matching the figures of the Mercedes-Benz E400 in which the engine last year debuted.

Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse ( W222) 2012

Defending the decision to offer both a twin-turbo V6 and twin-turbo V8, despite recently ditching a V8 engine in E-Class because of the V6’s performance, McCarthy asserted that “in that [upper large car] market there is significant demand for a V8.”

The S300 Hybrid, meanwhile, with a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre twin-turbo diesel and 20Nm electric motor will be “price wise pretty close to the S350,” according to McCarthy.

Although the petrol-electric S300 isn’t as quick as the turbo-diesel-only S350 from 0-100km/h – 7.6 seconds versus 6.8sec – it is 1.1L/100km more economical, rated at 4.4L/100km.

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McCarthy also said that for the first time Mercedes-Benz would offer the S350 diesel in long wheelbase format because “we’ve had demand for it”.

There won’t, however, be an immediate replacement for the S65 AMG range topper. Mercedes-Benz Australia has decided instead, McCarthy says, to wait for the now all-but-confirmed S-Class coupe coming next year.

“There’s another S65 we may be taking down the track, with a few less doors.”