First Drive: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

He 2018 Ramona-Benz S650 Maybach has a positive ring to it, don’t you believe you studied? If no longer for the order of 4 names on the birth certificate of a toddler woman born in 1889 — Mercedes Adrienne Ramona Manuela Jellinek — it may thoroughly be so. The Mercedes-Benz brand has come an infinitely long way from the heady, nineteenth-century roots of Mercedes Jellinek and her father Emil. Mercedes has come a long way, even, from the creation of the first car to encourage the S-Class in 1954, the W180 “Ponton” sedan. Now, some forty-five years because the creation of the W116, the first automobile to be formally distinct an S-Class, Mercedes-Benz is rolling out the modern day model of what has emerged as a time-examined benchmark of the luxurious big sedan phase — the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Replete with all of the semi-robot features you’d expect in a 21st Century device of six-parent proportions, the 2018 S-Class doesn’t disappoint, no matter no longer being all that visually distinguishable from the 2014-2017 version it’s changing, in particular interior. That visual similarity isn’t an awful issue; the S-Class become already a completely good-looking vehicle. Other than a brand new V-12-fashion grille, new lighting fixtures all around gently massaged the front and rear bumpers and a few other minor updates, the sheet metal stays unchanged.

But Mercedes’ engineers didn’t simply smart phone this one in. They just spent their efforts some place else: on a whole new line of engines and transmissions; on a brand new 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system; and on stronger generation on all fronts from self-riding to amusement, and even into new frontiers of “well-being.”

 

A totally new slate of engines and transmissions approach there’s a chunk of version-name mix-up coming for the 2018 fashions: the S560 replaces the S550, the Mercedes-Maybach S560, and S650 now sit down atop the variety in area of the S600, and the S63 and S65 carry ahead, modified however with their names intact. A new S450 model will also be part of the range at launch. For the U.S., that launch occurs in fall of 2017 for maximum models, though the rear-drive S560, the S65 sedan, and the Mercedes-Maybach S650 rear-wheel-pressure received arrive till “late 2017.”

The S450 gets the three.Zero-liter dual-turbocharged V-6 we’ve seen in numerous different packages from the brand (rated right here at 362 hp and 369 lb-feet of torque), while it is four.Zero-liter twin-turbocharged V-eight unearths its domestic in the S560 as well as the S63 after some AMG fettling. In S560 trim (each standard and Maybach), the 4.0-liter turns out 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, an advantage of 14 hp over the previous four.7-liter dual-faster. The S63 gets a good bigger bump, gaining 26 hp over the antique dual-turbo 5.Five-liter for a rating of 603 hp and 664 lb-toes of torque.

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Behind the wheel, the power variations of the newer engines aren’t really all that palpable. The automobile’s all-new nine-pace automated transmission, but, helps the updated 2018 S-Class experience a chunk smoother and faster, way to its close ratios and slick, smooth shifts. No doubt the new 4MATIC+ all-wheel-force system performs a position in making the car feel quicker off the line, too — however extra on the ones in a second.

The biggest information in the S-Class engine world isn’t information at all for the United States. A new S500 model is being launched in Europe and elsewhere within the world, powered by an all-new M256 engine sporting a cutting facet 48-volt electric system that lets in it to mix mild hybrid capabilities with starter-generator functions through a sandwiched electrical pressure unit. This, in turn, lets in Mercedes to transform all of the outside accessories from their archaic belt-power to more efficient, and more controllable, electric-driven add-ons. Getting rid of the add-ons on the front of the engine additionally decreases its duration, making it easier to bundle the M256’s inline six-cylinder layout. Electric-drive accessories at the M256 consist of the engine’s water pump and the air conditioning compressor, but also an electrically powered supercharger that fills the three.Zero-liter inline six-cylinder’s torque gaps. The result? A greater green, a smarter engine that’s able to 429 hp and 383 lb-feet of torque in S500 trim. Those figures net the M256-powered S500 a zero to 60 mph time of approximately 4.7 seconds. Unfortunately, we received to get this powertrain in America — or at the least, there aren’t any plans for it as but.

The aforementioned nine-pace automated transmission lies at the coronary heart of every 2018 S-Class apart from the V-12s, which soldier on with the high-torque handling 7-speed MCT. For the non-AMG models, which means a 9G-Tronic with paddle shifters. The new transmission offers a wider unfold of available equipment ratios for more efficient cruising at pace. For the S63, the upgrade to nine speeds way an AMG Speedshift MCT transmission with a couple of downshifting functionality and a rev-matching function that makes use of a single wet take hold of in location of the torque converter.

Both versions of the 9-speed are crisp and responsive (exceptionally greater so in the guide and game modes) with out acting balky or awkward at lower speeds. It’s now not the sort of transmission to get a gearhead’s veins flowing with lube, but it’s miles the transparently smooth kind of electricity delivery device you’d assume and need in an S-Class. That’s now not to say the S-Class is sleepy; even the bottom V-6-powered S450 scampers to 60 mph in five.0 seconds (four.Eight with 4MATIC); the S560 manages the run in 4.5 seconds. The Maybachs are a hint slower, checking in at four.Eight seconds (S560 Maybach 4MATIC), and 4.6 seconds (S650 Maybach). The mighty, hulking S65 requires simply 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph.

Also new for the S63 AMG is the automaker’s 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. Instead of the constant-ratio setup AMG cars had been once recognized for, this version now implements infinitely variable front-rear strength distribution for the 2018 model 12 months. This is made feasible by using an electromagnetic grab, which constantly adapts to avenue situations and motive force conduct, functioning as a rear-pressure vehicle while the grip is right, but adding step by step more torque to the front axle as wanted. In practice, the 4MATIC+ gadget, like the new nine-velocity AMG Speedshift MCT, is exactly as it needs to be: excellent, and seamlessly transparent. Thanks to the mixture of new engine, transmission, and 4MATIC+ all-wheel-force, the new S63 shaves 0.Five seconds from its 0 to 60 mph time, now doing the deed in just three.4 ticks of the stopwatch.