In the world of luxury cars, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been the standard bearer–a reputation Mercedes works hard to maintain. For 2018, the S-Class Sedan gets a refresh with new engines, new semi-autonomous tech, and very slightly updated looks. The highlight, for us at least, is the new AMG S63, which receives the same drivetrain and powertrain as the new E63.
That means the S63 now has a 4.0-liter 603-hp twin-turbo V8 sending power all four wheels via a nine-speed multi-clutch automatic gearbox. The S63's engine is 1.5 liters smaller than the AMG's old 5.5-liter V8 used in the previous model, but that's no big deal since it makes 26 more horsepower. Oh, and it makes 664 lb-ft of torque.
The S63 also gets the same 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system that debuted in the E63. The system allows for fully variable torque distribution front-to-rear, operating primarily with a significant rear bias until more front-end grip is required. Unfortunately, the S63 doesn't get the E63's front-axle-disconnecting Drift Mode, which on a large luxury sedan like this would be as pointless as it is fun.
If, somehow, 603 horsepower isn't enough for your large luxury sedan, Mercedes-AMG still offers the V12-powered S65, but it doesn't get any drivetrain upgrades for 2018. Power and torque stay the same at 621 hp and 738 lb-ft, respectively, and the seven-speed automatic remains unchanged. Despite the power deficit, the S63 is much quicker to 60 mph, hitting that speed in 3.4 seconds compared with the S65's 4.2 seconds. Blame the S65's lack of all-wheel drive.
There's two new engines in lesser S-Sedans too. The S450 gets the same 3.0-liter 362-hp V6 found in all of Merc's AMG 43 models, while the new S560 gets a 4.0-liter V8. This V8 is actually a detuned version of AMG's 4.0-liter unit, making 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Eventually, the new S-Class will receive Mercedes' new inline-six, but we're just not sure when.
Across the lineup, the new S-Class gets what Mercedes calls Intelligent Drive, the latest iteration of the automaker's semi-autonomous tech. The S-Class gets a new camera and radar system to help the car better navigate traffic, while also relying on mapping data for the first time.
Like Tesla's Autopilot, Mercedes' system offers semi-autonomous lane changes with the tap of the turn signal, but it goes a step further. The Mercedes can automatically speed up or slow down depending on road conditions, to give the S-Class a more natural feel when in semi-autonomous mode.
Naturally, there's also a handful of interior upgrades including, hilariously, a feature called Energizing Comfort. The system coordinates music, seats, climate control, and mood lighting in one of six selectable programs–Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort, and Training. No, we're not making this up.
We won't know for sure until we drive it, but it seems like the S-Class will remain the luxury and technology standard of the automotive world.
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