2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class revealed, debuts new inline six

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been shown before its Auto Shanghai debut, with new technology, styling tweaks and the first inline-six for Mercedes-Benz since the beginning of last decade.

Introduced for the first time, a new 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline six produces 210kW/600Nm in the case of the S 350 d, while a tuned version develops 250kW/700Nm for the S 400 d. Even with all-wheel drive, these models offer a combined cycle fuel consumption of 5.5L/100km and 5.5L/100km, respectively.

Also debuting in the new S-Class is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo non-AMG V8 that belts out 345kW and 700Nm, in the form of the S 560. It offers an average consumption of 8.5L/100km. A step above into the S 63 AMG sees these outputs rise to 450kW and 900Nm, with an average consumption of 8.9L/100km. The all-wheel drive S 63 AMG covers 0-100km/h in just 3.5 seconds. At the top of the range is the S 65, featuring a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 producing 463kW and 1000Nm, offering a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.3 seconds with rear-wheel drive only.

Along with these variants, a plug-in hybrid is planned, offering a 50km electric-only range, while the new ‘M256’ inline six turbo is also promised. Outputs haven’t been mentioned, but Mercedes has previously confirmed the M256 develops 300kW and 500Nm.

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In other areas, the car’s autonomous software now allows driverless control of steering and accelerator/braking for sweeping bends and intersections. The driving modes ( Sport, Sport + or Comfort) will determine how enthusiastically it approaches these. Other revisions include autonomous lane change that now only requires a tap of the indicator stalk instead of three seconds.

Styling is revised with new headlamps at the front and a new steering wheel inside. The new ‘Energising Comfort’ system can control ambient lighting, music, climate control and seat functions to suit the driver’s preferences, while 10-minute programs include Freshness, Warmth and Training.

The new S-Class should land in Australia by the end of this year. Specific models and finer details for the local market are yet to be confirmed.

Mitchell is a contributing journalist at PerformanceDrive. He has been a passionate petrol-head from a very young age. He is excited by the future of the industry, and considers himself as a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the technical aspects of cars. He is also fascinated by new cars that are popping up in developing markets.