W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift debuts

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift has finally made its global premiere in Shanghai, bringing with it a plethora of improvements including an updated engine range, new technologies and additional features. According to Mercedes-Benz, its flagship was the best-selling luxury sedan in the world in 2016, and it will certainly want to keep that momentum going.

As before, the S-Class is available with a short wheelbase (W222), long wheelbase (V222) and the even longer wheelbase (X222) Mercedes-Maybach. Mercedes-AMG versions are also offered in the form of the S 63 4Matic+ and S 65, both of which are long-wheelbase versions only.

On the S 63 4Matic+, a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine (shared with the AMG GT, C 63 and E 63) provides 612 hp at 5,500-6,000 rpm and 900 Nm of torque at 2,750-4,500 rpm. The mill replaces the previous 5.5 litre biturbo V8, and sends its power to all four wheels via a new nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT automatic transmission and an AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system.

The more powerful of the two AMG S-Class models – the S 65 – comes with a much, much larger 6.0 litre biturbo V12, which is carried over. Despite its larger capacity, the mill only churns out 630 hp at 4,800-5,400 rpm and 1,000 Nm of torque at 2,300-4,300 rpm, which is just a smidge more than the V8 offering. However, the S 65 is rear-wheel drive only, and employs the older seven-speed AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission instead.

Both the S 63 4Matic+ and S 65 will hit an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h, but with the optional AMG Driver’s Package, that figure climbs to the 300 km/h mark. On its way there, the S 63 4Matic+ will find 100 km/h from a standstill quicker at just 3.5 seconds, while the S 65 makes the same sprint in 4.3 seconds.

Moving away from the high-performance AMG models, the rest of range gets a pair of diesel engines as well as a single petrol option. The latter is a new M176 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine which provides 469 hp and 700 Nm of torque on the S 560 4Matic (a classic badge making a comeback, replacing the current S 500 and S550, as it’s called in America), while the oil burning route features the OM656 3.0 litre inline six-cylinder engine that offers 286 hp/600 Nm on the S 350 d 4Matic and 340 hp/700 Nm on the S 400 d 4Matic.

Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system is standard on all S-Class models, offering a range of selectable driving modes depending on the situation. Cylinder deactivation is also a function on V8-powered models, which deactivates cylinders two, three, five and eight during partial loads and within engine speeds of between 1,000-3,250 rpm.

In the future, more engines will be offered for the S-Class, including a brand new M256 3.0 litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine. The mill, which was announced in October last year, uses a 48V electrical system and features an auxiliary compressor and Integrated Starter-Generator (ISG) for a mild-hybrid setup. The M256 is rated at up to 408 hp and over 500 Nm of torque, with Mercedes saying there will be two output levels offered when it makes its debut on upcoming S-Class variants (rumoured to be the S 400 and S 450).

Aside from that, a plug-in hybrid version of the new S-Class with up to 50 km of all-electric range is on the cards as well. The Earth-friendly S-Class will get an increased battery capacity of 13.3 kWh, a large increment from the current S 500 e’s 8.7 kWh battery pack. The plug-in hybrid version will also pack a 7.2 kW on-board charger to allow for faster charging of the battery.

Engines aside, AMG models also get plenty of high-performance equipment like an expanded Dynamic Select system, AMG-specific suspension, Race Start (launch control), AMG Performance exhaust system, lightweight lithium-ion starter battery and high-performance brakes (ceramic braking system optional)

Now that we’ve gotten the oily bits out of the way, let’s talk looks. As you can tell, the S-Class retains its familiar silhouette when viewed from most angles, but with a few notable differences. For starters, there’s a new three twin-louvre grille (previously a hallmark of V12 S-Classes) at the front of models that pack a six- or eight-cylinder engine. The one with the big V12 gets additional vertical chrome strips in the radiator grille for extra presence.

Below the grille, Maybach and AMG models get their own distinct bumper design, whereby the former is decked out with plenty of chrome trim to “underscore its exceptional status.” As for the high-performance S-Class models, the front apron is further enhanced by what Mercedes calls an expressive jet wing. They are joined by large intakes that help to keep the engines cool (with a mesh cover on the S 65) and a front splitter that reduce lift at the front axle.

Also new at the front are the updated Multibeam LED headlights that now sport a redesigned cluster. The previous single LED light bar has been replaced with a three-bar DRL setup, joined by a single, main lighting unit and a triple LED array beside it.

Mercedes has upgraded the headlights with what is calls Ultra Range main beams that are capable of producing the maximum light intensity permitted by law. The result is, the brightness of the main beams are capable of remaining above the reference value of one lux over a distance of more than 650 metres (beating the 600 metre range of BMW’s Laser Light). The unit can be paired with the optional Intelligent Light System (ILS), which can actively switch off LEDs within the main-beam modules so as not to glare other road users.

On the other end, the S-Class’ taillights retain their familiar cluster shape from before, albeit with new graphics within them, featuring the crystal-like look that debuted on the W213 E-Class. The three-bar layout is exclusive to the S-Class, though. There’s also a redesigned lower bumper section with integrated visible tailpipes. As with the front, AMG models get their own rear bumper design along with quad tailpipes (joined on the V12 model), the latter also found on the Maybach.

Buyers will have seven light-alloy wheels to choose from, with diameters ranging from 17 to 20 inches. The AMG range receives 19-inch forged light-alloy wheels as standard on the S 63 4Matic+, while the S 65 is fitted with 20-inch units instead.

Все перечисленное появится у обновленного S-класса с самого начала: продажи таких

Of course, one of the biggest appeals of the S-Class is life on the inside, and there are plenty of improvements here as well. The layout remains unchanged here, and you still get a bevy of premium leather and open-pore wood options to choose from, along with various colour combinations, including two new ones – magma grey/espresso brown or mahogany brown/silk beige. AMG models get plenty of DINAMICA microfibre to go along with all that leather as well.

New additions here include the new-design three-spoke steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls, which is making its debut on the S-Class, and the dual 12.3-inch screens behind it are encased under one glass cover (similar to the E-Class) for a seamless look compared to before – the array of buttons in between the screens have been relocated. Zoom in closer and you’ll also notice a new look for the seat controls, new push start button (now fully integrated and illuminated, like on the E-Class) and a redesigned dash-mounted clock (IWC on AMG models).