The S-Class gets very subtle updates which makes for a fun game of ‘Spot The Difference’
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Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the 2018 S-Class at the ongoing Shanghai Auto Show. And if, from the cover photo, you were unable to make out that this is indeed the new sedan, it's not your fault. You see, this is a mild facelift of the S-Class and Mercedes seems to have taken the word 'mild' a little too seriously. But this is not a reason to get disappointed as there is more than meets the eye. Though not physical, there are changes in the S-Class' tech department which make it more intelligent.
Starting small, the refreshed exterior of the S-Class features a new set of bumpers with wider air dams and horizontal slats on the corners to make it look more aggressive. The grille has also gone through a minor update and features wider slats (one less than before) which help it stand out from the previous model. The headlamps have been upgraded and the new S-Class features Multibeam LED units with 'Ultra Range High Beam' which can scan the road’s surface and curves and send the required info to the S-Class’s brain. The taillights also get the LED treatment, similar to the one we saw on the E-Class LWB.
The side profile still carries the same smooth and flowing lines from the current model. The only change worth noticing here is the new set of 20-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, although the panels look familiar, there are subtle changes. The S-Class gets a new three-spoke steering wheel with revised controls, three new upholstery options to spoil you with choices, an update to the single piece glass display and wireless phone charging in the centre console. Tech wise, the new S gets Active Distance Assist Distronic, which can automatically slow down and then speed up the car by sensing the road ahead.
In terms of engines, the new S-Class lineup gets revised powertrains. Starting with the Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4MATIC, they both get a new 469PS/700Nm biturbo V8. The AMG S 63 4MATIC+ gets a 612PS, 4.0-litre V-8 biturbo engine which replaces the previous 5.5-litre V-8 Biturbo. Also, this time, S lineup gets it's most powerful diesel in the form of a new in-line six-cylinder which comes in two states of tunes. The S 350 d 4MATIC makes 286PS/600Nm and the S 400 d 4MATIC which produces 340PS/700Nm.
These updates don't really change the S-Class, but then again that's not the job of a mid-life update. As far as the magnitude of the update is concerned, it helps the S-Class to become very slightly better.