Mercedes-Benz Updates the S-Class With More of Everything for 2018

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the refreshed S-Class at the Shanghai Motor Show, and every model in the lineup receives a laundry list of upgrades for 2018.

While technological conveniences remain the S-Class’ bread and butter, Mercedes has expanded trim choices, color options, and is even offering new engine choices on several models.

The sedans receive revised front and rear bumpers that create a more cohesive appearance, falling in line with the E-Class lineup. All models have been fitted with a grille that was formerly reserved only for top trim levels, as well as fancy new LED illumination. To distinguish lower-tier models from the ultra-expensive variants, Benz outfitted the six- and eight-cylinder cars with three twin louvers as well as vertical strips with a high-gloss black finish. The AMG models will persist with telltale air inlets and splitters, while the V12 gains a woven metal covering.

S-Class interiors will receive expanded upholstery options, a new three-point steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and an upgraded infotainment system with a larger glass display running across the center dash.

As per tradition, Mercedes has improved the safety and assistance options for the upcoming model year by enhancing Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, and Active Distronic. The new S-Class will now adjust its speed ahead of corners and accelerate automatically when cruise control is enabled. The Magic Body suspension system now includes Curve as an option for the sedans. Benz claims the system now scans the road more thoroughly than before and can adapt the suspension to changing surfaces more quickly. Meanwhile, Curve can tilt the body by 2.65 degrees to minimize the centrifugal forces perceived by passengers.

Standard features on the 2018 S450 and S560 sedans have been updated to include MB’s Energizing Comfort system, which links climate control, the in-car fragrance system, console heating, LED backlighting (which now includes 64 colors), seat heating/cooling/massage settings, and even noise control for individual occupants. Mercedes says the feature can be customized and then designated to mood or need-based presets. Obviously, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain standard.

The new Mercedes-Benz S450 is driven by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, while the 2018 S560 (which replaces the S550) will receive a bi-turbo 4.0-liter V8 producing 463 hp and 516 lb-ft. Both engines are linked to a new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. Rear-drive is standard but 4Matic models will be just as prevalent on the road.

AMG sedans come with the works and arrive wearing the S63 and S65 badges. Where the S63 is to be powered by a bi-turbo 4.0-liter V8 hitting 603 hp and 664 lb-ft, the S65 gets a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 making 621 hp and a colossal 738 pounds of torque.

Further differentiating the two powertrains are the S63’s Speedshift MCT nine-speed and AMG-rated 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system with variable torque split. The V12 comes with a AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic transmission that dumps all of its power directly to the rear wheels.

While the the 2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 doesn’t doesn’t receive the V12’s Magic Body system as standard, it does get the intelligent lighting system, dynamic selection modes, launch control/race start, Airmatic sport suspension, sport seats, AMG’s burbling exhaust system, and 20-inch AMG wheels housing 15.4-inch front and 14.2-inch rear rotors with six-piston front calipers (single in the rear). AMG also outfitted the sedans with its Track Pace app for the tiny number of people that would ever make use of such a feature.

The S-Class trim that received the fewest number of upgrades was the wildly opulent Maybach variant. Mercedes have given it the 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 liter as a standard powertrain and made the Maybach logo slightly more conspicuous. However, with the exception of some additional chrome trim and slight changes to its front bumper, it’s the same bespoke ultra-lux accessory it has always been.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Statikboy Statikboy on Apr 19, 2017

    Is there a difference between twin turbo and bi-turbo?

    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on Apr 20, 2017

      Yes and no. Mercedes-Benz biturbo usually references a specific parallel twin setup where the turbochargers are the same size. While "twin turbo" encompasses this, it's sometimes used for sequential setups where two differently sized units work in order to achieve reduced boost lag. So, in the instance of this article, yes. They do mean the same thing -- but that isn't always the case.

  • Phila_DLJ Phila_DLJ on Apr 19, 2017

    The grille still looks dumb, only the top-of-the-mountain S-Class has no excuse for it looking dumb. I mean honestly, who looked at that shiny plastic monstrosity and said "That'll do"?

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