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Facelifted Mercedes S-Class unveiled with new self-driving tech

New driving technology, an updated engine range and light styling tweaks for the Mercedes S-Class luxury saloon

Words ByDarren Moss

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Mercedes S-Class

It must have been tough for officials to see the Mercedes-Benz S-Class lose out to the BMW 5 Series saloon in our Luxury Car of the Year Award earlier this year. The S-Class had retained that title for three years previously, but having been on sale since 2014, Mercedes’ flagship saloon was beginning to look tired compared with more tech-heavy rivals.

What's new on the Mercedes S-Class?

Mercedes has responded quickly with this facelifted version, which will reach the UK in October. Its exterior looks have been tweaked only slightly, but there are big changes elsewhere. Chief among them is a new range of six-cylinder diesel engines. The new range includes S 350 d and S 400 d 3.0-litre diesels, which produce 207bhp and 336bhp respectively, and as with the current S-Class, the S 350 d is likely to offer enough power for most buyers.

Those looking for a hybrid S-Class can have the S 560 e, which can travel for up to 31 miles on electric power alone, while buyers seeking blistering performance have the V8-engined S 63 and the V12-engined S 65 to choose from – the latter of which can reach 62mph from a standing start in 4.3sec.

What equipment does the Mercedes S-Class come with?

Inside, the S-Class continues to come with two 12.3in screens, which dominate the space. Where they used to be two separate units, though, they now appear in one seamless panel, as in the latest E-Class. And, again like the E-Class, drivers can change the look of the information using three pre-set modes: Sport, Classic and Progressive.

You can also select one of six so-called wellness programmes, which combine the car’s heated massaging seats, ambient lighting and music to give the S-Class a desired atmosphere.

The latest S-Class features one of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving systems yet offered. Dubbed Distronic Active Proximity Control, it can automatically accelerate and brake the car within a speed limit, plus provide its own steering for up to 30 seconds at a time.

All that is combined with Mercedes’ existing lane changing, steering assistance and automatic emergency braking systems to make driving the updated S-Class as easy as possible.

How much will the Mercedes S-Class cost?

Given that 80% of UK customers already opt for the plush AMG Line specification, Mercedes is expected to ditch the entry-level SE trim for this S-Class, pushing the starting price for an S 350 d upwards to around Β£72,000 – which will make it significantly more expensive than its closest rival, the Β£65,300 BMW 7 Series 730d. That said, Mercedes dealers are known to have given generous offers on the old model, so chances are that you’ll be able to pick up a discount before long.

See more of the current S-Class saloon in our video review below.

Read more - our full Mercedes S-Class review

Read more - the best (and worst) luxury cars


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