Upgraded S-Class will use map data to paint a better picture of its surroundings and offer more advanced driverless control; hot AMG S 63 variant also due
10 January 2017

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift will feature the most advanced driverless systems put into production yet, according to the manufacturer's research and development boss Ola Kallenius.

Mercedes's flagship saloon is facing increasing competition from the likes of the BMW 7 SeriesAudi A8 and Jaguar XJ, so the brand is going all out with its mid-life update, which is due to arrive this June. Kallenius told Autocar at the Detroit motor show that the facelift will feature "the first intelligent integration of sensor and map data" on a production model.

The advanced system will enable the new S-Class to do things like detect a corner and judge whether the car’s speed is too high. If it is, it will "decelerate, negotiate the bend safely and then resume its original speed. And while the existing system will steer itself along 80% of Germany’s autobahns and a small number of highways, the new system will be effective on almost all autobahns and 80% of highways", explained Kallenius.

"If you use the indicators approaching a 90-degree turn, it will drop your speed until you can make the turn." Kallenius said the technology must foresee all potential outcomes; "You don’t want to be going around a blind bend, discovering the white lines have disappeared and being a metre out at the exit…".

Finally, Kallenius revealed that if the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for longer than is allowed and all warnings fail, it will "bring the car to a safe stop, switch on the hazard lights, unlock the doors and call the emergency services".

Design changes

Exterior changes for the updated S-Class will be minor. Spy shots show some light camouflaging around the new front and rear bumpers, and slight adjustments to the tail-light design. Earlier prototypes have also shown new LED headlight cluster designs. 

More complex changes are expected for the interior. The S-Class's digital instrument cluster was one of its hallmark features when the car was launched, but rivals have been quick to adopt the technology in their premium models.

For this facelifted model, Mercedes appears to be producing a wider, frameless dual-screen set-up, which will allow for a larger screen area. The new system will run the latest version of Mercedes' Comand infotainment software and it continues to be operated via a touch-sensitive controller on the centre console, although Mercedes is also known to be experimenting with gesture control.

Also new on this prototype is a thicker three-spoke steering wheel that will replace the current two-spoke design.

Engines from the current S-Class are likely to be carried over in their entirety, but they could come with minor improvements to fuel economy and CO2 emissions. A new 48V mild hybrid system is due to be rolled out as part of a wider plan to add more electrically assisted models.

Mercedes-AMG S 63

A facelifted Mercedes-AMG S 63 development car has also been spotted testing at the Nürburgring ahead of a planned launch in the middle of the year. 

Exterior revisions to the AMG-tuned S-Class remain subtle. Camouflage on the front bumper indicates that this is where the majority of the S 63-specific styling revisions will be made. Most of the facelift's more general changes – including new headlight clusters – have already been seen on standard S-Class test cars. 

As with its soon-to-be-facelifted Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé sibling, power is set to increase from its current 577bhp, although insiders won't specify by how much. 

Mike Duff and Darren Moss

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé facelift spotted

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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Comments
13

13 November 2015
Looks like a giant C-Class.

Cyborg

11 January 2017
Cyborg wrote:

Looks like a giant C-Class.

Buy a Tesla S if you want green driving or autonomous driving. Buy this if you are old fashioned and nowhere near the cutting edge of technology.

26 January 2017
GODFATHER wrote:
Cyborg wrote:

Looks like a giant C-Class.

Buy a Tesla S if you want green driving or autonomous driving. Buy this if you are old fashioned and nowhere near the cutting edge of technology.

But if you want a luxury car about these prices, simply forget any Tesla. The below par component and build quality, or below average luxury standard, or much shorter range, ride quality, etc etc etc, makes the Tesla a fun second car. If you want a real car, there are many cars cheaper than Tesla that are superior in all areas but initial acceleration. Which makes Tesla a one trick pony, and Tesla has been milking that from day one.

Dan

17 November 2015
as a former S class owner and current C class owner, I can tell you that the difference between models is huge. The S class interior quality is beyond exceptional. From the solid aluminium Command turn dial that feels like its been cut from a solid piece of hefty metal, to the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in, in or out of a car! The C class feels like it has nothing in common with the S class other than the badge.

All Mercedes money gets directed to their flagship. I can't believe they make much profit on these machines and suspect that as a halo car, it's main reason for existence is to show case technology which is filtered and watered down to lower mass market Mercedes models where the real profits for the company are made. My C class has some of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in.

Off to buy an GLS, expanding family! Hope the new face GLS in 2019 will be based on the interior of the S class in future, but least the current model has comfy seats and can seat 7 easily. Now if only they could borrow the Audi V6 diesel engine from the new Q7 as the current Merced V6 diesel is a bit long in the tooth

19 September 2016
nick644uk66 wrote:

as a former S class owner and current C class owner, I can tell you that the difference between models is huge. The S class interior quality is beyond exceptional. From the solid aluminium Command turn dial that feels like its been cut from a solid piece of hefty metal, to the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in, in or out of a car! The C class feels like it has nothing in common with the S class other than the badge.

All Mercedes money gets directed to their flagship. I can't believe they make much profit on these machines and suspect that as a halo car, it's main reason for existence is to show case technology which is filtered and watered down to lower mass market Mercedes models where the real profits for the company are made. My C class has some of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in.

Off to buy an GLS, expanding family! Hope the new face GLS in 2019 will be based on the interior of the S class in future, but least the current model has comfy seats and can seat 7 easily. Now if only they could borrow the Audi V6 diesel engine from the new Q7 as the current Merced V6 diesel is a bit long in the tooth

I was disappointed with the new C-class's interior too. With most of the automotive press praising the quality of the latest C-class in that department, claiming it to be best in class when it was introduced. I've been in a C-class a few times now, and wondering what all the fuss was about. A Skoda Octavia has a much more solid feeling interior with a higher quality materials too IMO. I actually think most modern Skoda's top their VW brand mates when it comes to interior quality as well. While most modern Merc's (with the exception of the S-class) have lowest quality interiors when compared to their BMW and Audi peers. Only Jag interiors are as bad or worse.

Cyborg

24 May 2016
I wonder if it will indeed launch in April?

24 May 2016
It needed this. All the reviews I read said the new E Class had more upto date systems onboard, which wouldn't do considering the S class is the flagship. With all the tech onboard cars can't possibly last a 6 -8 year model cycle. Maybe 3 tops before they start feeling old.

19 September 2016
winniethewoo wrote:

It needed this. All the reviews I read said the new E Class had more upto date systems onboard, which wouldn't do considering the S class is the flagship. With all the tech onboard cars can't possibly last a 6 -8 year model cycle. Maybe 3 tops before they start feeling old.

Very true.

Cyborg

11 July 2016
You've got to wonder what benefit (apart from the ability to be spotted by the pap's for marketing purposes) having the front bumper "disguised" gives?

In this day of modification, AMG Line and other general car bastardisation, you wonder why Mercedes (and other manufacturers for that matter) don't just leave it as undisguised.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

28 October 2016
"is facing increasing competition from the likes of the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ." - Is it? From the 7 series that seems to be a bit underwhelming and confused over its sporty/comfort role? Or from the dated A8 and XJ?

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