The anticipated and comprehensively updated 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class family has been revealed this week, debuting at the Shanghai motor show.
Bringing a host of technologies and enhancements to ensure the S model maintains its place atop the Mercedes totem, the revised line-up will make its way to Australia by the end of 2017.
Updates across the range include refreshed looks, new driving and interior technologies, powertrain changes and reimagined trim. These tweaks affect the regular S-Class range, the special Maybach line, and the heroic AMG twins.
On the styling front, the 2018 S-Class gets a new but familiar grille design, along with a more sporting bumper design and a new three-stroke LED daytime lighting signature within the headlights.
New integrated ‘Multibeam LED’ headlights can be optioned, too, casting light as far as 650 metres down the road.
At the rear, there’s new LED tail lamps, a revised bumper and new garnishing along the lower edge to frame the exhaust tips. New alloy wheels are also featured across the range.
Moving into the cabin, the new E-Class sedan’s dual display design debuts in the S-Class, with a pair of 12.3-inch screens embedded behind an expansive panel reaching from the dash centre to behind the steering wheel.
As with the E-Class, the displays offer a combined infotainment and driver information interface, with an adjustable instrument cluster changing to suit preference and the driving mode selected.
Again inspired by the E-Class, the 2018 S-Class gets touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, although Mercedes has given the larger car’s tiller switches a more industrial look.
Enhanced autonomous driving functions will feature, including the ability to have the vehicle’s systems scan the road ahead and automatically adjust speed to best safe levels for upcoming curves and corners.
Autonomous lane-changing is possible with a tap of the indicator stalk, and remote parking – the latter allowing the vehicle to be parked or retrieved from a distance, via smartphone controls – are also featured.
Mercedes’ Road Surface Scan system has also been upgraded, adjusting the vehicle’s Magic Body Control suspension settings on-the-fly, in response to changing surface conditions. Along with improved operation in failing light, enhancements for 2018 include the ability to operate at up to 180km/h – obviously an Autobahn-focused tweak.
The company’s curve-tilting system has also been added, dipping the body 2.65 degrees to the inside of a turn – motorbike-style – to reduce centrifugal forces on the occupants.
The updated S-Class range will kick off with a pair of diesel options, in the form of the 210kW/600Nm S350d and 250kW/700Nm S400d, both driven by the same inline 3.0-litre six-cylinder mill.
Both are equipped with a nine-speed auto. Mercedes-Benz claims fuel figures of 5.5L/100km for the lesser option, climbing to just 5.6L/100km for the more powerful of the two.
More appealing for some will be the new S560 model, driven by a version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo that stars in most of the larger AMG models.
In S560 trim, the engine – not handbuilt in this guise – offers 345kW and 700Nm, while its 8.5 L/100km fuel consumption rating is a claimed 10 per cent sharper than than the 4.7-litre V8 of the outgoing S500.
Moving into the AMG range, there’s the S63, driven by the same 450kW 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that features in the E63 S, representing a 20kW boost over the 5.5-litre engine that powered its previous incarnation.
Unlike the E63, we’ll again be offered a rear-wheel-drive configuration only, but a 3.5-second run to 100km/h should keep owners content.
Topping the range is the venerable S65, driven again by a 463kW/1000Nm V12 engine.
Watch for the updated S-Class range to hit Australia in the later part of 2017.
Click through to the photos tab above for a treasure trove of S-Class images.