New Mercedes-Benz S-class facelift (2017): specs, news and photos | CAR Magazine

New 2017 Mercedes S-class ushers in new engines, tech

Published: 18 April 2017

► New Mercedes S-class is coming
► New engines, tech incoming for 2017
► Unveiled at Shanghai motor show

Do not adjust your sets. You are looking at the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-class, freshly unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai motor show before reaching UK dealerships in October 2017 in right-hand drive form. Order books open in May.

The S-class has always been a pioneer in the tech world, often premiering tech that goes on to become mainstream elsewhere. Don’t believe us? You have Mercedes to thank for introducing the production car to anti-lock braking, seatbelt pretensioners, electronic stability control and more…

This one is about to usher in a whole raft of tech – and the brand’s new generation of straight six engines. The AMG (white car, pictured above) now falls into line with the group’s proven turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, dumping the old 5.5.

The new model line-up looks like this at launch:

  • S350d Matic 6cyl inline, 2925cc, 282bhp, 443lb ft, 145g/km CO2
  • S400d 4Matic 6cyl inline, 2925cc, 335bhp, 516lb ft, 147g/km CO2
  • S560 4Matic V8, 3982cc, 463bhp, 516lb ft, 195g/km CO2
  • S63 AMG 4Matic V8, 3982cc, 604bhp, 664lb ft, 203g/km CO2

Mercedes-Benz S-class facelifted for 2017

The new petrol engines, dubbed M256, will be assisted by a new 48-volt integrated starter alternator, assisted by an electric-drive compressor. News of these petrol straight sixes will follow in due course.

Our full 2017 Shanghai motor show preview guide

What tech does the new 2017 S-class have?

Mercedes-Benz points to the luxury limo’s huge list of driver assistance tech to ensure that you do as little driving as humanly possible. It offers full level 2 autonomy, meaning it can operate many of the systems itself, but still needs a driver to be on standby to take over should the microchips feel overwhelmed.

Mercedes S-Class camouflaged overtaking

Headline acts include remote parking, where the car can park itself without you being in it and will manoeuvre out of a parking space if it’s too tight for you to get in. Car-to-X communication alerts other drivers of dangers in the road, adverse weather conditions or accidents so they can reroute to their destination or prime the driver and car for what lies ahead.

Motorway driving should be a breeze, thanks to tech that can not only detect traffic signs but warn drivers of temporary speed limits on motorway gantries and adjust the speed appropriately. The car’s crawl function in traffic has been extended, so the car will brake to a complete stop in jams and will move off again on stops of up to 30 seconds.

Mapping used in algorithms to judge safe speeds through corners

Another pick of the tech crop is Active Distance Assist. Radars and cameras scan the road ahead and corroborate their findings with digital mapping, adjusting the speed according to corners, upcoming roundabouts and even T-junctions instead of blindly following the set cruising speed.

That speed reduction will also depend on what driving mode the car is set in; Sport mode will reduce the speed less than Comfort, for example.

Mercedes S-class 2017 unveiled in Shanghai

Make no mistake: full autonomy is on the road map for the S-class; Daimler execs call this ‘level 2.something’ and say that high-definition mapping coming as part of the HERE mapping project will bring further intelligence to future models.

Do we know anything else about the new 2017 Mercedes S-class?

The visual facelift is very minor; note the ‘three-eyebrow’ headlamp graphic for the day-running lights (the C-class has a single brow, E-classes two) and the exhausts are now integrated on all petrol and diesel models in a fresh rear end. Wheels span from 17 to 20 inches in diameter.

The cabin will be tidied up, too, with the traditional cruise control stalk banished to the steering wheel (below) in response to customer feedback, and a pair of high-definition 12.3-inch digital displays sit neatly behind a single glass pane. It’s catching up with the E-class, basically.

New Mercedes cruise control switches on steering wheel

Wireless phone charging is offered front and back, while the interior ambience can be changed thanks to 64 different colour LEDs to bathe the cabin in the hue of your choosing…

This taps into the new Energizing feature, which marries seats, ventilation, fragrance, lighting and music to match your mood to one of six modes:

  • Freshness
  • Warmth
  • Vitality
  • Joy
  • Comfort
  • Training

Yes, we have reached peak passenger pampering, we’d say. Do sound off in the comments below…

Inside the new 2017 Mercedes S-class cabin

Browse Mercedes S-class for sale

Engines, specs

The diesel will continue to be the bestseller in the UK (it accounts for 79% of all S-classes today), but project lead Dirk Fetzer told CAR a plug-in hybrid with more than 30 miles EV range is coming soon.

All four bodystyles will be repeated: SWB, LWB, Maybach and Pullman. Mercedes-Benz reports it’s sold more than 300,000 of this generation V222 S-class since launch in 2013. 

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By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words