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From Car and Driver
Upmarket car buyers are assuming an added alternative for SUVs appealing abundant everywhere in the world, yet the S-class remains—explicitly—the flagship archetypal for Mercedes. A new bearing of the Sonderklasse consistently serves as both a range-topping affluence auto and a tech advertise for appearance that will anon crawl bottomward to bottom Benzes. Mercedes is accurately appreciative of the abounding innovations that antecedent S-classes introduced, including anti-lock brakes (1981), adherence ascendancy (1995), alarm cruise ascendancy (1998), and all-LED exoteric lighting (2013). There accept been a few that didn’t crawl so much, too. Remember the “parking wands” that rose from the rear corners of the 1991 W140 bearing to accomplish it hardly easier to aback that behemoth block against a parking spot?
While there is absolutely an affluence of new appearance in the new S-class, the aboriginal consequence is of what’s missing—namely, bravado. This bearing (W223 in Benz code) is below boastful than its predecessor, defective the old car’s bizarre account and accumulation smaller, added bashful headlights and taillights. The abridgement of adornment disguises an aerial access in admeasurement over the approachable version, with the W223 accepting 1.3 inches in breadth and sitting on a wheelbase continued by aloof 2.0 inches. Mercedes is decidedly appreciative of the ultra-low annoyance coefficient—as little as 0.22—boosting ability and convalescent refinement. Tesla-like aperture handles sit alike aural the body, bustling out back the car is apart or they faculty the attendance of an abutting acute key.
There’s added Tesla-fication aural the cabin, with a all-inclusive 12.8-inch touch-sensitive OLED awning assertive the dashboard. At aboriginal glance it absolutely looks like an accessible laptop has been larboard on the centermost console, and this awning is the primary interface for about all functions aloft basal driving. Alike the altitude controls are now rendered digitally. This agency that Mercedes’s berth designers accept surrendered abundant of the prime absolute acreage area they ahead approved their ability so well. The aftermost S-class had four machined air vents and a automated alarm in the amplitude now taken over by the bottle interface. But the blow of the berth showcases affluence of the old craftsmanship, with carpeting adumbrate and some admirable board trim, additional color-configurable LED lighting about all autogenous panels. There is additionally a fingerprint sensor to acquiesce for accelerated alteration of disciplinarian profiles or alike affidavit for purchases fabricated through onboard apps.
Two versions will initially be offered in the United States market. The S500 gets a 429-hp supercharged and turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and the S580 upgrades to a 496-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, with both engines accumulation 48-volt amalgam assistance. We collection the S580 first, on a avenue from Stuttgart to Mercedes’s proving arena at Immendingen via a amplitude of complete autobahn. In the accustomed advance of agent testing, this would advance to an actual attack to acquisition the dispatch limiter and break on it for as continued as possible, but with the S-class the adventitious for higher-than-normal velocities was added advantageous in demonstrating the car’s aberrant babble insulation. At 80 mph, added babble was advancing from added traffic—muted by the windows’ bifold panes—than the car itself. Alone aloft 140 mph did the admission of wind babble from the acme of the doors afflict the serenity. And yes, we did affirm the attendance of a 155-mph governor. U.S versions will be belted to a added comfortable 130 mph, says.
The V-8 rarely raises its voice, alike as it creates bull acceleration. In the best advancing Sport Additional activating ambience (a approach that feels at allowance with the S-class’s appearance and purpose), the agent backward hushed below all but stamped-throttle progress. And alike then, the V-8 articulate abroad and muted. Abeyance settings are analogously comfort-orientated, with both adaptive dampers and air abeyance standard. The big Benz sits 0.7 inch lower in Sport Additional mode, yet the ride charcoal impressively pliant, if defective the compactness commonly associated with sports sedans.
We additionally got to sample the alternative E-Active Anatomy Ascendancy system, which adds both a road-scanning camera and an alive anti-roll system. The closing employs a hydraulic arrangement pressurized by a 48-volt pump. This can abrogate anatomy roll—which it does effectively—and will additionally action Curve mode, aptitude into turns like an colossal motorbike. Grip levels are high, and on dry tarmac, the accepted 4Matic all-wheel drive delivered adamantine traction.
At lower speeds, the S580 additionally showed off addition of its innovations: a new rear-axle beacon arrangement that can about-face the rear auto up to 10 degrees. Mercedes says this reduces the axis amphitheater of the approved wheelbase S-class to aloof 35.1 feet, which is one bottom abate than the axis amphitheater of an A-class sedan. The awareness of the arrangement alive is initially odd, as the rear arbor can be acquainted affective out as the advanced turns in. But the access in maneuverability is accessible and impressive. The 10-degree rear-axle arrangement will alone be offered on the S580 with the Executive Line pack. The AMG Line trim (available with both engines) brings a below advancing 4.5-degree adaptation that delivers a 38.1-foot axis circle. Aloft 40 mph, both systems action abundant abate degrees of in-phase council to addition stability.
This S-class is advised to eventually bear hands-off autonomy. We got to acquaintance a Level 3 demonstrator—although on a analysis clue and alone from the commuter seat—but Mercedes’s absolute Drive Pilot acute cruise ascendancy is still able to adapt ambit and chase lanes. One of the affectation options on the reconfigurable agenda dashboard now relays what this arrangement can “see” in agreement of lane arrangement and added alley users—distinguishing amid cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Drive Pilot handled artery speeds well, but it struggled to bear bland stops back ambidextrous with abundant traffic. It additionally includes automated dispatch adjustment based on acquaint limits, although we begin that the car absent absolute changes several times.
While badly absorbing as a car, abundant of the mission for the S-class is as a advertise for new technology. Debuts accommodate an added adaptation of the augmented-reality aeronautics that we accept already apparent on the GLE and revised E-class, now able of bulging directional arrows assimilate the windscreen’s head-up display. The cloud-based “Hey, Mercedes” articulation abettor has added adequacy actuality than in some added Benzes, artlessly because there are added toys for it to control. Saying “I’m stressed” will activate the car to action you a beating program. The huge axial touchscreen is active a new adaptation of Mercedes’s MBUX infotainment system, which looks nicer and is backed by a claimed 50-percent access in processing power, but some bottom functions are still active below several layers of menus.
The 12.3-inch dashboard apparatus awning additionally gets a beat feature. It has 3D affectation capability, which presents hardly altered images to anniversary eye to accord a faculty of depth. The aftereffect is striking, abnormally back the birr is switched to aeronautics and you acquisition yourself attractive at what seems to be a abatement map. But aloft ornament, it doesn’t add annihilation to the alive experience, and Mercedes admits it may accomplish some drivers feel queasy. Fortunately, it can calmly be switched to accepted 2D.
A drive in the entry-level S500 accepted that U.S. buyers won’t be giving up abundant in agreement of either achievement or acquaintance by selecting the abate engine. Low-down responses feel actual about as agog as those of the V-8 acknowledgment to the adjacency of the electrically apprenticed supercharger and the chip electric motor-generator, which can accord up to 22 application and 184 pound-feet of torque. The six’s high-rev rasp, although subdued, is at atomic as aurally absorbing as the V-8’s aerial roar. A quiet amplitude of autobahn appear that alone aloft 120 mph does the S500 alpha to feel acutely slower than the S580, demography appreciably best to appointment its 155-mph governor.