Mercedes S-class (W222)


Debut: 2013
Maker: Mercedes-Benz
Predecessor: S-class (W221)



 Published on 22 Aug 2013
All rights reserved. 

Its exterior design combines the prominent, graceful radiator grille of traditional Mercedes with a sleeker, sportier and more sculpted shape that we have seen on CLA.


No other cars could dominate its class for so long. In the past 50 years, Mercedes S-class has been the best selling large luxury car in the world. It is the standard that every rival has to be judged against (and most failed to match). Although more rivals emerged and got stronger in recent years, the S-class has never lost its crown once. The outgoing generation, W221 series, sold well in the past 8 years, with 515,000 units delivered. This was the best sales performance since the legendary W126 (which still holds the record of 892.000 units in 12 long years). Even near the end of its lifecycle it still registered 65,128 units of sales last year, beating BMW 7-Series (59,184 units) and Audi A8 (35,932 units). However, to keep the top spot in the coming years it definitely needs a bigger push. The new W222 series faces new challenges in a few areas. Firstly, it needs to answer the call for green motoring, reducing carbon footprint in a scale never seen before. Secondly, it shall take on the increasing demand from China, whose buyers are usually chauffeured thus strongly focus on back-seat comfort. Thirdly, it has to stop its market share from stealing by new rivals as diverse as Rolls-Royce Ghost / Bentley Flying Spur and Porsche Panamera / Maserati Quattroporte. This mean it needs to be more luxurious and sportier simultaneously. A very difficult task I would say.

Fortunately, the new S-class is very well designed and engineered. Its exterior design combines the prominent, graceful radiator grille of traditional Mercedes with a sleeker, sportier and more sculpted shape that we have seen on CLA. Both headlights and taillights are made entirely of LEDs and they contribute to the stylish lamp graphics. (By the way, in addition to LED interior lighting, W222 is the first production car in the world abandoning light bulbs completely.) The exterior design also sets new class standard for aerodynamics – its drag coefficient is lowered from 0.26 of the old car to merely 0.24 on base models, or even as low as 0.23 for the sleekest S300 Bluetec Hybrid model. That is way better than Audi A8 (0.26), Lexus LS (0.27) and BMW 7-Series (0.28). In fact, it is just shy of the world record of 0.22 set by CLA180 BlueEfficiency Edition.


Drag coefficient is merely 0.23 for the sleekest S300 Bluetec Hybrid.


The new S-class keeps the same wheelbase as the old car, i.e. 3035 mm and 3165 mm for standard car and LWB version respectively. It is 40 mm longer overall, 28 mm wider and 23 mm taller. Track widths have increased by 24 mm up front and 31 mm at the rear. While the dimensions are not significantly different, the chassis is a different story. Its front chassis is constructed entirely of aluminum alloy, including the crash structure, side members, suspension tower brackets and diagonal reinforcement beams. From firewall rearward the chassis is constructed in steel – mostly hot-formed high-strength steel, as it ensures the passenger cell to be more rigid than what aluminum can achieve. Outside, all the skins are pressed aluminum sheets, including the bonnet, boot lid, fenders, door shells (as before) and now also the roof panel.

Thanks to the new chassis construction, its torsional rigidity is lifted significantly from 27500 to a class-leading 40500 Nm/degree. As I know only Rolls-Royce Phantom (also 40500 Nm/degree) and a few carbon-fiber supercars can match or exceed it. It goes without saying that a rigid chassis benefits NVH suppression as well as handling and ride. Simultaneously, the new car is able to undercut the old car slightly on scale. For example, the new S500 is 15 kg lighter than before at 1920 kg DIN, while S350 Bluetec is 40 kg lighter at 1880 kg. You can see more weight saving measures from the diagram below. Theoretically, these measures would have cut the kerb weight by 95 kg if not the added luxury features offset most of the saving.



Aluminum-intensive chassis  would have cut the kerb weight by 95 kg if not the added luxury features offset most of the saving.


The all-aluminum suspensions are similar to the old car but there are some refinements. Up front, the 4-link suspension still consists of an upper wishbone, two lower individual links and a track rod. At the back, the 5-link suspension is now mounted on an aluminum subframe. The standard setup employs Airmatic adjustable air springs with continuous adaptive damping like before, but it has been modified to provide a softer ride on high-frequency small irregularities (read better ride over pavements), while the spring travel has also been increased to take on larger bumps.

On the road, the S-class is really refined. The chassis feels rock-solid and very little road and wind noise can be heard inside. The engine (at least the petrol V8) is whispering quiet. Overall refinement seems to be on a par with Rolls-Royce Ghost. The standard Airmatic suspension offers exceptional ride comfort, more so than the old car. Nevertheless, Mercedes is not content. It offers an even more advanced suspension technology called "Magic Body Control". This combines the existing Active Body Control – which uses adjustable hydraulic struts to alter spring and damping rates on individual wheels – and a new feature called Road Surface Scan. The latter employs a stereo camera mounted near the rearview mirror to scan the road ahead (within 15 meters), detecting any bumps and adjusting the damping stiffness on individual wheels in advance. For example, when the car is coming to a speed bump, the camera detects its distance and size, calculates when the encounter will occur and the compression of suspension needed, then signals the hydraulic strut to compress with the right amount and at the right moment, and similarly to release with the right amount and at the right moment when the bump is getting over. This predictive function takes the active suspension to a new era. The ABC is also improved compared with the last generation. Now the spring strut gets more responsive and the damping becomes continuously variable. Its data processing power is also doubled.

With MBC equipped, the new S-class' ride is nothing short of magic. It keeps the body control unflappable while filtering out larger bumps that would have unsettled other luxury cars. The low-speed ride comfort and composure is really amazing. There is room for improvement though. At the moment the system doesn't work with higher speed, smaller bumps or when the visibility is poor. I expect Mercedes will keep developing it and expand its scope in the next generation.


With MBC equipped, the new S-class' ride is nothing short of magic.


Regarding handling, the S-class is also remarkably easy to control for its size. While the term "agile" is probably overstated, it is by no means as bulky as its size suggested. The advanced suspension keeps its body well controlled. In Sport mode – yes, it offers a Sport mode! – the car resists understeer and roll very well, while the transmission and engine feel adequately swift. The steering is nicely weighted, but there is an artificial feel in its response, in particular the self-centering. There are a number of autonomous driving aids that can intervene the electrical power steering. Maybe they ruin the natural feel.

Following the traditional approach of Stuttgart, the new S-class has its engines mostly carried over from the last generation (after all, they were renewed just 2 years ago). Initially, there will be 4 models: S300 Bluetec Hybrid (2.2 turbo diesel + small electric motor),  S350 Bluetec (3.0 V6 turbo diesel), S400 Hybrid (3.5 V6 petrol + small electric motor) and S500 (4.7 twin-turbo V8). The only notable mention is the V8 has its output pumped up by 20 hp to 455 hp. This gives it a remarkable 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. Next year, the range will be added with S500 Plug-in Hybrid, which will combine the new 333 hp 3.0 twin-turbo V6 with a 109 hp electric motor. Also certain to arrive at later dates are the S400, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG.

Initially, all cars still relies on the long-serving 7-speed automatic, although it has been renamed to 7G-Tronic Plus to represent a new torque converter with reduced slip and an Eco mode with wider ratio spread. However, starting from next year it will be replaced with the new 9G-Tronic.

The S500's twin-turbo V8 matches the car very well. It is very smooth and quiet, lag-free and torquey at any rev. It provides effortless performance. Push harder on highway and it will produce a sonorous soundtrack to delight your ears. Comparatively, Mercedes diesel engines are less remarkable, sounding coarser and more reluctant to rev than the best examples elsewhere. That said, their NVH is well insulated from the cabin of S-class.


The build quality and luxury have been elevated to a whole different league.


The cabin is a little bit larger than the old car's. Up front, there is 12 mm more headroom and 14 mm more shoulder room. At the rear, legroom and shoulder room are stretched by 14 mm and 9 mm respectively. However, what really revolutionized is the design and packaging. At the first glance, it appeared rather odd to me, as it combines British conservatism and high-tech gadgets. The former can be seen in its Bentley-style dashboard and air vents. The design details, materials and craftsmanship have been vastly upgraded to the extent that now the S-class is a worthy alternative to the small Bentley and Rolls-Royce. The high-tech theme is obvious in the full LCD instrument panel, which inevitably looks out of place amongst the surrounding wood trim. Unusually, Mercedes joins the main instrument and infotainment screens together and houses them under the same huge, rectangular pod. Frankly, its shape has little aethestic to speak of. But as soon as you press on the start button, your attention will be drawn to the pair of huge, 12.3-inch TFT screens, amazed by their size and clarity.

Following the demise of Maybach, the S-class needs to take care of the richest buyers who usually occupy the back seat. Therefore the W222 can be optioned with countless of really cool features. One of them is tycoon seats. Unlike typical German seats, they are made of soft leather like British luxury. They can recline to wide angles and offer leg rests for the boss to take a sleep. They are also heated and cooled, and even provide hot-stone massaging! A pair of aluminum folding tables can be unflipped from the rear center console like what you see on airliner. Want to relax before giving an important speech? There is a 24-speaker 3D surround sound system, active perfuming system and LED ambient lighting that can be adjusted to 7 colors and 5 levels of brightness. In terms of luxury features and interior finishing, the new S-class is clearly a class above BMW 7-Series and Audi A8 etc. It moves closer to the territory of Rolls-Royce and Bentley.


While the term "agile" is probably overstated, it is by no means as bulky as its size suggested.


And then there are more high-tech safety equipment and driving aids than you can find on any other cars in the world. For example, it uses two cameras and 3 different types of radar to scan the objects in different range. Its computer vision can read the white lines on the road and keep the car on track. It can detect human and animals in front, brake or even steer the car to avoid collision. It can guide the car through traffic, following the car in front at up to 37 mph. It can foresee rear collision, tighten the seat belts and lock the brake to reduce injury. This is the closest thing to the self-driving car that Google is developing.

The weaknesses? Apart from the aforementioned artificial steering feel and average diesel motors, the W222 is hard to fault. It is slightly faster and better to drive than before, a lot more refined and comfortable to travel in. The build quality and luxury have been elevated to a whole different league. Moreover, it continues to lead the world in technology. Not only this is still the best mass production luxury car in the world, but now it feels truly special. While the 7-Series is a supersized 5-Series and A8 is a luxury interpretation of A6, the S-class feels totally irrelevant to the E-class. It is a standalone development and undoubtedly more costly than its rivals. From this view point, the slight price premium it asks for is by no means unreasonable.
Verdict: 
 Published on 25 Sep 2013
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S63 AMG

The S63 is fast and luxurious, but never feels involving to drive.


The regular Mercedes S500 is already good for 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. In practical terms there is really no need for a faster version. However, in the world of luxury motoring there is always a strong desire to pursue for more – let it be power, performance, luxury or technology – just to show that the new car is superior to others. As long as the S-class exists, there will be a faster AMG version to delight the very richest.

The latest S63 AMG is the first S-class AMG model integrated into the S-class program from the beginning. Because of this, it does not need to make heavy modifications, thus it can be launched just a couple of months after the mass production model. Outside, the S63 is barely subtly differed from the regular model by new bumpers and quad-exhaust. It doesn't shout about performance as loud as lesser AMG models, but that is exactly what the high-end customers would be pleased to see. The new car is not only benefited from the donor car's aluminum-intensive chassis and body, but it also introduces extra weight saving measures. For example, the lead-acid starter and backup batteries have been replaced with a lithium-ion battery to save 20 kg. The spare wheel well at the boot has been converted from steel to carbon-fiber to shave another 4 kg. The new forged alloy wheels and composite (alloy-hub) brakes also cut weight. Overall, the new car is 75 kg lighter than the old car in rear-drive short-wheelbase form, while LWB version is 100 kg lighter. Now both cars tip the scale just under 2 tons. It might not sound remarkable, but remember, a Bentley Flying Spur weighs some 2.4 tons!

More predictable is the twin-turbo 5.5-liter direct-injected V8. Its specifications are close to that fitted to the recent E63 AMG S, with the same maximum output of 585 horsepower delivered at 5500 rpm, but peak torque has been boosted from 590 to 664 pound-foot to match the outgoing S63. Also like its smaller brother, 4matic all-wheel-drive system is available for the first time. It normally delivers two-third of torque to the rear axle. Benefited with extra traction, its 0-60 mph sprint is shortened to an eye-popping 3.9 seconds, which is incredible for a car so big. The RWD version takes four-tenths longer to do 0-62 mph. Top speed is normally governed at 155 mph, but it is possible to raise the speed limit to 186 mph. As before, AMG's 7-speed MCT gearbox distinguishes it from the torque-converter automatic on lesser S-class models.

Strangely, 4matic is only available on LWB model. Even stranger, the RWD model and 4matic model employ different suspension technologies – the former comes with the new S-class' Magic Body Control, which combines the existing Active Body Control (variable hydraulic struts) with road-scanning camera to provide an excellent ride. Instead, the 4matic model is mandatory with Airmatic air suspensions and ADS-plus continuous adaptive damping, which is simpler and lighter. This explains why the LWB 4matic model is only 25 kg heavier than the SWB RWD model (remark: theoretically, the 4matic and LWB option should add 55 kg and 20 kg respectively).
In the suspension hardware, AMG has barely increased the negative camber and rear anti-roll bar stiffness a bit. Regardless of suspensions, all S63 offer a cosseting ride not far away from the regular S-class. If you leave it in Comfort mode, you will find it the smoothest and quietest car to ride in the world of high-performance limousines.

Switch to Sport mode, the variable exhaust opens its flaps and you will enjoy more the V8 burble and sonorous howl on full throttle. The torque and performance it delivers is phenomenal. It has its mass overcome with ease, punching from regular cruising speed to 150 mph in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, you feel safe and well insulated from the outside world, thanks to the rigid construction and superb NVH insulation. The S63 also corners with remarkable agility and composure so that you will forget about its size. It grips well, resists roll and understeer better than it has any right to be. The braking from the huge ceramic discs is strong. High-speed stability is superb, as you would expect for an Autobahn rocket. On dry tarmac, the RWD model shows no signs of inferior grip, but it is not keen to power slide either – its long wheelbase and compulsory stability control prevent it to do so. The big AMG is by no means the last word of driver's car. In fact, it never feels involving to drive, blame to that artificially-weighted steering (like the regular S-class) as well as the general feeling of isolated from the outside world. It goes without saying that you can't have both the highest level of involvement and refinement. If you prefer the former, you had better to get a Maserati Quattroporte or Jaguar XJR. If you bias towards comfort, then nothing could quite match the S63 AMG. Just make sure you have driven the S500 first.
Verdict:
 Published on 5 Oct 2014
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S500 Plug-in Hybrid

The third incarnation of S-class hybrid is finally a plug-in.


This is the third hybrid model of the S-class range. The last two, S300 Bluetec Hybrid and S400 Hybrid, were actually stop-gap models based on outdated mild hybrid technology. The new one, as its name suggested, is not only a full hybrid but also a plug-in hybrid. It can be recharged at home socket for less than 3 hours, and then propel the car with battery power alone for up to 33 km (20 miles). The electric motor is again integrated into the housing of 7G-Tronic transmission for ease of installation. It is good for 116 horsepower, compare to merely 27 hp on the mild hybrids, and a maximum torque of 251 lbft. This allows the EV mode to work up to 87 mph. When battery runs low, the petrol engine joins. It is a stock M276 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 as used on many Mercedes "400" models, rated at 333 hp and 354 lbft. Combined maximum output is 442 hp and 479 lbft, high enough for Mercedes to use the "S500" badge. All out, 0-60 mph can be achieved in 5 seconds flat, while the regulated top speed of 155 mph is achieved with petrol engine alone.

The 8.7 kWh lithium battery pack is located right above the rear axle thus it creates a step in the boot and reduces luggage capacity from 510 to 395 liters. The on-board charger and conventional 12V battery are also placed under the boot. Theoretically, this should improve weight distribution, but considering the car weighs some 2140 kg, it is not going to be a sports sedan anyway. The hybrid integration is seamless. You can hardly detect the transition between power sources, except that the EV mode running is even quieter than the standard S-class. On EU combined cycle, the S500 Plug-in Hybrid is good for 101 mpg and emits only 65 grams of CO2 each kilometer. Although we all know it is impossible to replicate these figures in real-world driving, it is undoubtedly a lot greener than the V8-powered S500.
Verdict:
 Published on 26 Jan 2015
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Mercedes-Maybach S600

Not just a name change, the Mercedes-Maybach S-class could be a game changer in a class previously reserved for Bentley and Rolls-Royce.


Up until now there aren’t many choices for the daily transport of billionaires. Basically, they are limited to two British marques, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Although German premium marques have been dominating the mass production luxury class for long, they are considered not exclusive enough to earn the favour of super-rich. A dozen years ago, Mercedes attempted to break the British domination with Maybach, a heavyweight, lavishly equipped and conservatively styled Bentley/Rolls-Royce beater. Somehow, it turned out to be a commercial failure, with only 3200 sales recorded in its 10-years lifespan, then the division was closed. A lesson was learned: you need heritage to succeed in this class. That’s also why BMW and Volkswagen had to acquire the British marques.

However, there is more than one way to succeed. If it is not possible to fight with the British marques head-on, why not take a different route? Mercedes has the best mass production luxury car in the world, the widely acclaimed W222 S-class. Why not simply upgrade it to a “super S-class” with more space and luxury features? This would be far more cost effective than the late Maybach, yet the car can be benefitted from the superior driving dynamics, safety and luxury technology of the S-class. It could be priced
at £165,000, much lower than the £200,000 of Rolls-Royce Ghost or £230,000 of Bentley Mulsanne, so it should achieve higher sales volume. The only question is how to name the car to reflect its superior status. How about Mercedes-Maybach S-class?

The Mercedes-Maybach S-class does not hide its relationship with the S-class. It is marketed as an extension of the S-class rather than a standalone line. It can be available in various models depending on engines, like S500 or S600. By the way, in the future the Maybach treatment may be applicable to E-class and other lines, too, so it will represent the luxury facet of Mercedes in the same way as AMG representing the sporting side.


The wheelbase is 200 mm longer than even the long-wheelbase version S-class.


Viewing from the front, the Maybach is indistinguishable from other S-class models. It differs only from the B-pillars rearward. The B-pillars are now chromed instead of black to appear classier. The rear side windows are stretched, while the reshaped rear quarter windows have lost the fast angle of the standard car. Note that those quarter windows are now fixed to the body and separated from the doors. This allows thicker seals to be used thus improves sound insulation. Besides, you can find a Maybach logo at each C-pillar.

The wheelbase of Maybach is stretched to 3365 mm, 200 mm longer than even the long-wheelbase version S-class. This liberates 159 mm more legroom for the boss sitting at the back. It also gives him/her 12 mm extra headroom. Predictably, Mercedes applied extra reinforcement to the chassis and more sound insulation throughout the cabin. The car tips the scale at 2260 kg, 150 kg more than the equivalent S-class. That is still 100 kg less than RR Ghost and 325 kg lighter than Bentley Mulsanne.

The cabin shares the same high-tech TFT dashboard with lesser S-class. Like S-class Coupe, you can have bespoke wood and stitched leather trim covering the dash and door panels. It appears classy, if lacking the handcrafted feel of its British rivals. However, its modern and high-tech theme is a sharp contrast to the traditional approach of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Younger customers should prefer it. Needless to say, the rear passengers are served with enormous space and endless comfort. The standard car is fitted with bench seats, but many will choose the optional first-class airliner seats. They can recline to 43.5 degrees and provide a calf support for the boss to take a sleep. They are heated and cooled and may even offer hot-stone massaging. The rear center console is the home of infotainment and climate control, a pair of folding tables, heated/cooled cup holders and refrigerator. The climate control blows ionized air, and the powerful 24-speaker audio system produces wonderful 3D surround sound. Look up the sky, you will see the Magic Sky Control panoramic roof, whose translucent level can be altered. So it trades classic flavours for modernity.


First-class airliner seats is a must-have option.


Mercedes claims this is the quietest cabin in any production cars. I wonder if the claim has taken Rolls-Royce Phantom into account, but on the road it is at least a match to Ghost and quieter than any Bentleys. A similar story can be told for its ride quality. Mercedes’ Magic Body Control might not be as soft as Rolls-Royce in any road conditions, but it controls the body movement far more satisfyingly. This means it feels just marginally bulkier to steer than the regular S-class. For a big limousine it is amazingly athletic. The S600’s twin-turbo V12 is strong yet silky smooth and whispering quiet. 530 horsepower is sufficient to register 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. Overall, the car has no weakness.

Ultimately, some super-rich insist to have a more exclusive car than one based on the mass production S-class. Some prefer the conservative design and traditional craftsmanship offered by the British marques. Some simply won't consider the Mercedes-Maybach S-class because it is not the most expensive. Forget these people. When Mercedes decided to realign the Maybach brand, it had accepted to abandon the previous target customers and look for wider audiences. Think about it, to sell 2,000 bespoke Rolls-Royce Ghosts a year at £200,000 apiece or 4,000 S-class-based-Maybachs at £165,000 apiece, which one is more profitable? Sometimes to be the second-best is the best business strategy.
Verdict:
 Published on 5 Aug 2017
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S-class facelift 2017 and new straight-6


The focus of this facelift is not cosmetic, but the new generation engines.


The W222 S-class has spent the past 4 years on the top of the luxury limousine segment yet without any signs of fatigue. However, it is receiving a mid-life facelift and, following the practices of Mercedes facelifts, introducing a new range of engines, so to make sure its leading position will last through it entire life. Even without counting the new engines, there are 6500 new components introduced, so it is probably the most comprehensive facelift the S-class has ever received.

Outside, there are some refinement to the front bumper profile and intakes as well as new graphics on the LED headlights. Inside, the trims and quality of materials have been improved slightly. As for electronic driving aids, it shares the semi-autonomous driving technology of the new E-class. This means the car will cruise automatically up to 130 mph, reading the roads ahead, lane markings, fences and cars surrounding to keep it on track, reading road signs to avoid speeding. More so than that of the E-class, the system has learned to slow down at junctions and roundabouts. The car will slip into tight parking space automatically, too. The only thing it won’t do is fully self-driving on the road, as you will need to keep your hands on the steering wheel. The new Audi A8 is slightly more advanced in this respect, as it is capable of full autonomous driving during traffic jam at speeds under 37 mph. That said, I suppose the Mercedes system will learn that soon.

Changes to the chassis is modest. It keeps the Airmatic air suspension without adopting the E-class' more advanced 3-chamber version. Magic Body Control with Road Surface Scan is still available as option for V8 models. The only change is that it has added the curve tilting function of S-class Coupe, which tilts the body to the opposite side during cornering to counter the g-force.

However, to car enthusiasts, the most interesting is definitely the return of straight-6 engines, a configuration Mercedes has abandoned for nearly 20 years. Straight-6 has always been a near-perfect configuration for smoothness, sound and efficiency, no wonder Mercedes has a long and glorious history of using straight-6. It might be slightly more difficult to be packaged than a V6, but there is always plenty of engine space in the company's rear-drive models (even C-class). The reason why Mercedes switched to V6 in the late 1990s was more about production costs - V6 and V8 can be combined into the same modular family and built on the same assembly line. The resultant V6 is compromised, of course, as it followed the V8 to adopt 90-degree angle, which needed the addition of a balancer shaft to cancel vibration. Now the world has changed. The trend of downsizing put more emphasis on 3 and 4 cylinders, so Mercedes found grouping the 6-cylinder engine into its next generation 3 and 4-cylinder engines as a modular family will make more business sense, i.e. a viewpoint shared with BMW. This leads to the return of both petrol and diesel straight-six.



Mercedes finally surrects its good old straight-six!


The new M256 petrol straight-6 displaces 2987cc. Its combustion chambers are undersquared, with 83mm bore and 92mm stroke, so the engine is not as long as imagined. Moreover, it uses an integrated starter generator (ISG) attached directly to the crankshaft, getting rid of belt drive thus reduces the engine length further. The turbocharger and catalytic converter are mounted just beside the engine, ditto an electric charger. Yes, Mercedes follows Audi to be the world's second car maker to use electric charger. It spins to 70,000 rpm in just 0.3 second, vastly improving the engine's low-end response. Again like Audi, the electric charger necessitates a more powerful 48V electrical system, so the M256 has a 1kWh lithium battery supplying 48Vdc (it keeps a conventional 12V battery, but has it downsized). It is also used to supply the water pump, air-con and ISG. The ISG can supply up to 22 hp and 184 lbft of torque on short burst to aid acceleration. In other words, it is a mild-hybrid system. With ISG and electric charger to take care of low-end response, the M256 can use a larger exhaust gas turbo to enhance power at higher revs without worrying of turbo lag. The result is a remarkable 435 horsepower released at 5900 to 6100 rpm, and 383 pound-foot of peak torque is available from 1800 to 5500 rpm. Those are the figures for the new S500, a nameplate traditionally reserved for V8, mind you. A detuned version powering S450 offers 367 hp and 369 lbft.

Admittedly, the new straight-six S500 is down on power and especially torque compared with the old, 4.7-liter V8 model wearing the same badge. However, its responsive manner and the combination of 9G-Tronic (replacing 7G-Tronic) transmission is able to offset the loss of power, resulting in an identical 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. When it comes to fuel consumption, it undercuts the V8 by 22 percent. Most important, you won't feel any loss of grace in the downsizing because the straight-six feels creamy smooth, hushed yet musical if you really listen to it. Congratulation to the return of a great engine!

Meanwhile, the new OM656 diesel engine is also a straight-6. It displaces 2925 c.c., employs aluminum block and head but special stepped-bowl pistons made of steel to improve combustion efficiency. The addition of Camtronic variable exhaust valve lift is believed to help emission, while Nanoslide coating on bores reduces friction. Two-stage turbocharging guarantees quick response and high output. On S400d, the engine produces a remarkable 340 hp and 516 lbft of torque, way more than the old diesel V6 (only 258 hp), even eclipsing its BMW and Audi rivals. On the lesser S350d, it produces 286 hp and 442 lbft. Both engines are remarkably smooth and quiet from idle to redline. In fact, in normal driving you are hard pressed to tell if it is a diesel.



These might be the last generation engines in automotive history...


V8 still lives on the S-class, but it is downsized as well. Having lost the cost sharing with V6, the new Mercedes production V8 is merged with AMG's 4.0-liter unit, although it gets milder tuning and a different codename, M176. On the new S560 - a nameplate ressurrected from the ultimate S-class in the late 1980s - the V8 delivers 469 hp, 14 more than its 4.7-liter predecessor, and the same 516 lbft of torque. Downsizing and the use of cylinder deactivation technology allows it to cut 10 percent fuel consumption. Disappointingly though, the S560 is just a tenth quicker than the six-cylinder S500 to 60 mph. Its advantage is mainly psychological, as many people still think a luxury car should be powered by V8.

Sitting atop the S560 is the V12-powered S600 and Maybach S650. The former is unchanged at 530hp, while the latter is upgraded to the S65-spec. with 630hp. The AMG S65 is unchanged, as it is always a slow seller. Meanwhile, S63 switches to the new 4-liter V8 like all other AMG '63 models. It produces 612 hp, the same as E63 S, but torque is silently lifted to 664 lbft to match its 5.5-liter predecessor. This means it is the most powerful version of the AMG 4-liter V8 at the moment. It is also the only member of the S-class employing the 9-speed MCT gearbox and 4matic+ rear-biased, variable-split 4WD system, both come from the E63. The new car takes only 3.4 seconds to go from rest to 60 mph, so much faster than the old car!

A couple of days ago, automotive component giant Continental predicted German car makers to stop developing new engines from 2023 as they are switching to electric propulsion. A few countries have already announced plans to ban petrol and diesel cars: Britain and France from 2040, Norway from 2025, while Sweden and Germany's federal council are pursuing to do the same from 2030. It seems the days of good old engines are numbered. If I were the head of Mercedes powertrain development, I would probably keep updating the existing straight-sixes and V8s until the extinction of combustion engines rather than developing another generation of new engines. This means, what you see here is probably the last generation of a technology that car lovers talked and enjoyed so much in the past 130 years, sadly.

By then, I think AutoZine will go together with engines, because electric motors are too boring to write about.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
S350 Bluetec
2013
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5116 / 1899 / 1496 mm
3035 mm
V6 diesel, 72-degree
2987 cc
DOHC 24 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
258 hp
457 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1880 kg
155 mph (limited)
6.5 (c)
-
S500L Plug-in Hybrid
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5246 / 1899 / 1494 mm
3165 mm
V6, 60-degree + electric motor
2996 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
333 hp + 116 hp = 442 hp
354 lbft + 251 lbft = 479 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
2140 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.0 (c) / 4.9*
12.4*
S500 (S500L)
2013
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5116 (5248) / 1899 / 1496 mm
3035 (3165) mm
V8, 90-degree
4663 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
455 hp
516 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
1920 (1940) kg
155 mph (limited)
4.6 (c) / 4.9*
11.5*




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
S63 AMG (4matic)
2013
Front-engined, RWD (4WD)
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5157 (5287) / 1915 / 1499 mm
3035 (3165) mm
V8, 90-degree
5461 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
585 hp / 5500 rpm
664 lbft / 2250-3750 rpm
7-speed MCT
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC (Ad. air spring+damping)
F: 255/40ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
1970 kg (1995 kg)
186 mph (limited)
4.2 (c) (3.9 (c) / 3.8*)
(8.8*)
S65 AMG
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5287 / 1915 / 1499 mm
3165 mm
V12, 60-degree
5980 cc
SOHC 36 valves
Twin-turbo
Twin-spark
630 hp / 4800-5400 rpm
738 lbft / 2300-4300 rpm
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC
F: 255/40ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
2175 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.1 (c)
-
Maybach S600
2015
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5453 / 1899 / 1498 mm
3365 mm
V12, 60-degree
5980 cc
SOHC 36 valves
Twin-turbo
Twin-spark
530 hp
612 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
2260 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.8 (c) / 4.7* / 4.8**
10.6* / 10.8**




Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
S400d
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5141 / 1905 / 1496 mm
3035 mm
Inline-6 diesel
2925 cc
DOHC 24 valves, VVL
Sequential twin-turbo
CDI
340 hp
516 lbft
9-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1930 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.1 (c)
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S500
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5141 / 1905 / 1496 mm
3035 mm
Inline-6, mild hybrid
2987 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Turbo + electric charger
DI
435 hp
383 lbft
9-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1930 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.6 (c)
-
S560 (4matic)
2017
Front-engined, RWD (4WD)
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5141 / 1905 / 1496 mm
3035 mm
V8, 90-degree
3982 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI, cylinder deactivation
469 hp
516 lbft
9-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC
F: 245/40ZR20
R: 275/35ZR20
1970 kg (2025 kg)
155 mph (limited)
4.5 (c) (4.4 (c))
-




Performance tested by: -





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
AMG S63L 4matic
2017
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5295 / 1905 / 1496 mm
3165 mm
V8, 90-degree
3982 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI, cylinder deactivation
612 hp / 5500-6000 rpm
664 lbft / 2750-4500 rpm
9-speed MCT
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping
F: 255/45ZR19
R: 285/40ZR19
1995 kg
186 mph (limited)
3.4 (c)
-
Maybach S650
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Steel + aluminum monocoque
Mainly aluminum
5462 / 1905 / 1496 mm
3365 mm
V12, 60-degree
5980 cc
SOHC 36 valves
Twin-turbo
Twin-spark
630 hp / 5000 rpm
737 lbft / 2300-4200 rpm
7-speed automatic
F: 4-link
R: multi-link
MBC, ABC
F: 245/45ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
2285 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.3 (est)
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Performance tested by: -





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