2018 S-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan has been substantially revised for 2018. The flagship of the marque, the S-Class is the benchmark for all luxury sedans. It's one of the most lavish and classy displays anywhere of wealth and exclusivity, with graceful and athletic styling, effortless power, an exceptional ride, plush interior, and sweeping standard and optional equipment.
The 2018 S-Class, the fifth year of its generation, raises that mark by some 6500 new parts, including one new V6 and two new V8 engines, along with the returning V12.
For 2018, only the sedans will be updated, among them the S 450, and two Maybach uber-luxury models.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450 uses a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, while the S 560 takes a new 463-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8.
The AMG S 63 high-performance model makes an awesome 603 horsepower with its new turbo-boosted V8. The V12 in the S 65 is a twin-turbo 6.0-liter makes even more horsepower: 621 hp with 738 pound-feet of torque.
A 9-speed automatic transmission comes in the V6 and V8s, while the V12 takes a 7-speed automatic, and the S 63 uses a wet starter clutch instead of a torque converter. The S 63 also gets a new 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system that can transfer 100 percent of the power from rear to front wheels.
For 2018, the available Magic Ride Control suspension is improved with the ability to lean the car to the inside in corners, by as much as 2.65 degrees. This is designed to reduce centrifugal forces on the passengers and quicken handling. Changes in the cabin include higher resolution infotainment screens, and programs for the climate control system.
Autonomous driving features have been increased for 2018, as well. Intelligent Drive has improved cameras and radar sensors, and uses more GPS data. The system already can steer and brake for the driver, and now it changes lanes after the driver puts the turn signal on. We don't really like the idea of taking the decision regarding the moment of lane-changing out of the driver's hands. The system also slows down for tight turns and intersections, freeing the driver from thinking, another thing we don't see being good.
Standard safety equipment includes front, front side, rear side and curtain airbags; inflatable rear seat belts; adaptive brake lights; and adaptive head restraints. Optional safety equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with following and steering ability, approaching autonomous driving functions in limited environments, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and night vision with obstacle and pedestrian detection.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class ranges from the S 450 ($89,900) with rear-wheel-drive and V6 to the AMG S 65 V12 ($229,500), the Master of the Universe model. In between are the S 560 V8 ($99,900), and the AMG S 63 ($147,500). The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is available.
Optional equipment includes things like a 24-speaker surround sound system, warm-stone massaging seats, perfume scents released into the cabin, entertainment and fridge in the rear, and two executive rear seating packages that include airline-like tables and a right-side footrest.
The Maybach models go off into Rolls-Royce territory, with the technology and features wrapped into a limo-like body that's eight inches longer. The S 560 Maybach 4MATIC is $168,600, while the S 650 Maybach V12 with rear-wheel drive is $198,700.