This is the latest iteration of Mercedes’ flagship sedan. The S-Class has always been the company’s technological prowess. As far as technology, comfort and luxury go, the 2017 model takes all of these up a notch. Also, there’s a brand-new set of six- and eight-cylinder engines, which will eventually be adapted to the rest of Mercedes’ model range as well.
On the outside
On the looks front, there’s more chrome on the grille and the front and rear bumpers are new too. The biggest change are the new headlamps – they are all-new LED running lamp signature of having three ‘eyebrows’ (the C-class has one, the E two and the S has three). The lights are slightly slimmer by 25mm. The car in this test is the standard wheelbase version and not the long-wheelbase car that will come to India. Also, the Indian car varies in terms of trim and spec levels.
On the inside
The quality of wood, leather, metal and even plastic used in the cabin are positively stunning. The dash’ design is the same as before, spare for a new steering wheel that comes fitted with a lot more buttons. What’s new on the steering wheel? Mercedes’ twin mini-touchpads for the Comand infotainment system are now updated to a new version and the update extends to the digital instrument cluster - it now features three different gauge styles, sharper graphics and more information. There are more colours and configurations for the ambient interior lighting as well. The car even comes with wireless charging bays for your phone at the front and back.
The back seat is incredible, exactly what you’d expect from a car of this stature. The seats offer a vast amount of adjustment and recline functions. Apart from the remote that operates the rear entertainment screens, you also get a ‘handset’ that you pair with your cell phone, which is docked in the wireless charging bay. Cushioning and support are great, and the pillow over the headrests is an excellent add on.
As a Level 2 Autonomous Vehicle, the S-class, can temporarily handle steering and pedal functions without you having to touch the wheel. As a safety measure, every 30 seconds or so, you need to touch the steering wheel, but once the adaptive cruise control is engaged, there’s no need to touch the pedals, except at junctions and roundabouts. This tech can only function in our country if our infrastructure ever catches up to Europe - with proper signage and lane markings.
Under the hood
The E-class’ new 2.0-litre diesel is the first of a new family of modular engines, then there’s a straight-six diesel and a straight-six petrol engine, which will feature instead of the S-class’ current V6 diesel and petrol engines. There’s a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, derived from the 4.0 V8 in the AMG C 63 and AMG GT S, that will replace the 4.7-litre V8 that does duty in the S-class here. All three make more power and are more efficient. The straight-six diesel in its lower state of tune will do duty in the S 350d, while the new petrol straight six won't feature here at all. Under the hood of the updated S-class will be the same 2996cc unit of today's S 400, albeit with more power; it will be rebadged as the S 450.
From behind the wheel
The 4.0 V8 will come unchanged and instead of the S500, will be badged the S 560. This new 3,982cc motor makes 469hp and 700Nm of torque (10hp more than the old S 500, but with the same torque figures). It also features cylinder on demand tech for better fuel efficiency. Refinement is great, as you’d expect from a car of this stature, but there’s a hint of road noise though. Rev it a bit and you can instantly tell that there’s an AMG motor underneath. You hear the growl a lot sooner this time around, and the car picks up pace quite well. The old motor was more stately and butter-smooth, but this one is capable of hitting 100kph in just 4.6sec. It sounds like a proper V8 too. The motor is mated to a nine-speed auto, which is brilliant. This same ‘9G-Tronic’ gearbox will now feature on the six-cylinder motors as well.
Ride comfort is a step above the current car, which is already one of the best riding cars in its class. With standard adaptive air suspension on all four sides, ride is pillow soft and bumps are dispatched with relative ease. This is a luxury limousine with zero sporting pretensions, but putting the car in Sport mode allows you to have a bit of fun without compromising on quality.
Is it worth the money?
This new S-class will launch in India in the first half of 2018, and will most probably feature the new straight six diesel and the re-tuned V6 petrol, while the V8 version could feature later, alongside AMG and Maybach versions as well. The new engines are more refined, and offer better performance now. The S-class is expected to be priced at ₹1.2-1.4 crore (ex-showroom) for the standard models.