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Mercedes-Benz S-Class lines up six

New range of in-line six-cylinder engines.

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The facelifted Mercedes-Benz S-Class is debuting at the Shanghai Auto Show with the major headline a new range of engines.

Mercedes says that several new engines are planned for the new S-Class when it is launched throughout Europe from July. They include petrol and diesel in-line six cylinder units, a new V-8 bi-turbo petrol engine and a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 31 miles (50km).

Change of direction

The use of in-line six cylinder units is a switch in direction for Mercedes-Benz which has been using V6 units since 1997. The new units are evolved from the latest four-cylinder engine range and are expected to be expanded into other Mercedes models.

What is not known yet is how many of the new engines will be available in S-Class models on sale in the UK market.

Diesel variants are expected on sale first and will include the in-line six available in the S 350 d4Matic model with 286hp and 600Nm of torque, and the S 400 d4Matic with 340hp and 700Nm – the most powerful diesel car yet built by Mercedes-Benz.

Despite the significant power increase, the new units use seven per cent less fuel than the previous equivalents, quoted at 51.4mpg and 145g/km and 50.4mpg and 147g/km respectively.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cockpit
New digital displays dominate the cockpit.

Changes to the S-Class include subtle exterior modifications including a new radiator grille, along with a new front and rear bumper with bolder air intakes. Cars bought with the optional multibeam LED headlamps include a ‘three torches of light’ styling element.

The interior is now fully digital with two-new high-resolution screens, each of 12.3 inches, creating an impression of a wide-screen cockpit. Like rival Audi it includes virtual displays ahead of the driver, who can choose from three formats and individually configure them.

Smartphone-style swiping motions will activate touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, allowing complete control of the infotainment system without taking hands off the wheel.

Other advances include further technology progressing towards fully-autonomous driving. The ‘Intelligent Drive’ systems on range-topping models now includes Distornic Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist now further raid keeping a safe distance from the car in front and staying in lane.

Mercedes is also debuting what it describes as ‘Energizing’ comfort control. Offered as an option, it links various comfort systems in the car together, such as climate control, ambience lighting, massage and fragrancing functions, to allow occupants to set all aspects to their personal preference.

The facelifted S-Class is expected in UK showrooms in October.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 02

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.