The ‘new’ S-Class launched by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) last week is a facelift, so why the big hoo-ha, you ask? For one, it is the sheer gravitas of the nameplate; the S-Class is the flagship passenger car for Mercedes and where their latest technology is (usually) first introduced. Second, MBM launched not just one or two variants, but four. And the two most expensive ones each cater for a) keen drivers, b) sheer opulence.
The first is the S-Class 450L, powered by a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 that makes 367hp and 500Nm. It’s priced at RM699,888 and locally-assembled – too bad it’s not a hybrid then as the price would’ve been irresistible as the now-discontinued S400h was.
Mercedes-Benz S 450 L
It’s a quite extensive facelift, with a Mercedes claim of up to 6,500 new components used. The radiator grille is new, for instance, that sports three twin louvres in chrome. This grille is housed within a new sporty front bumper (AMG Line) with pronounced air intakes. Naturally, LEDs are used for the lights; the headlamps come with Multibeam LED that gives a brighter illumination with three distinctive torches of lights for the DRL.
The large cabin does not make the two 12.3 inch high-resolution display any less smaller. It is in fact huge that seamlessly look like a single piece of display. This all-digital cockpit (save for the analogue clock) has three different display styles of ‘Classic, ‘Sporty’, and ‘Progressive’. The new S-Class has touch-sensitive Touch Control buttons in the steering wheel. They respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. They enable the driver to control the entire infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
The V222 Mercedes-Benz S 450 L can go from 0-100kph in 5.4 seconds and with a top speed of 250kph. With MBM’s EaseCare Financing tenure (that includes a 22.39 per cent downpayment ) a buyer will have to pay RM8,888 monthly that includes Service Package, first year Comprehensive Motor Insurance and Agility Financing.
Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet
The next variant is quite a jump in terms of price – the S 560 Cabriolet at RM1.3 million. Yes, ouch! But in its defence it is fully imported from Germany. We’ve driven this cabrio, in fact, which you can read here. Underneath the bonnet is a bi-turbo 4-litre V8 that makes 469hp and 700Nm which goes to a 9-speed gearbox.
Like the S 450 L, there is a while list of technology that brings it closer to autonomous driving, including Active Steering Assist, and Active Distance Control DISTRONIC.
The top two variants are equal with a starting price of RM1.4 million, although the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 has a little room to play with the options list. In any case, the Maybach and Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe are different beasts altogether; in the case of the latter, ‘beast’ is the proper way to describe its power.
Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe
There’s 612hp and 900Nm that goes to all four wheels. That makes the AMG go from standstill to the century in 4.2 seconds before maxing at 250kph. Get the AMG Driver’s Package and you can see 300kph.
It comes with the more aggressive Panamericana grille and new jet wing design for the front apron and air intakes. Side skirts with three-dimensional inlays give the coupe shape an even lower stance. The rear features an updated rear apron with diffuser insert and a redesigned twin tailpipes of the AMG exhaust system. The rear lights are also new comprising of 33 OLEDs at each flank that produces an unmistakable signature.
Efficiency is a big part of the S 63 Coupe’s performance as well thanks to cylinder deactivation. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which significantly lowers the fuel consumption.
The Coupe is fitted with the AMG speed-sensitive steering to provide variable steering ratio. Power assist varies between the stages "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+". Another specification that is specific to the S 63 Coupe is the AMG high-performance compound braking system consisting of composite brake discs and 6-piston aluminium callipers at the front and single-piston at the rear. Need more performance? Sure, tick the optional ceramic brakes that also reduce unsprung mass by 20 per cent.
Mercedes-Maybach S 560
Not everyone needs that much performance, not when the Mercedes-Maybach can offer stately presence. There’s much more room here – the wheelbase and overall length is 20.7cm longer than in the long-wheelbase S 450 L. Add to that the Executive seats with 12 motors each to offer optimum adjustability.
The real magic comes from, well, Magic Body Control technology. This is made up of active suspension and Road Surface Scan. As the name suggests, the system scans the road ahead using a stereo camera where the image is then processed to determine the level of damping for each wheel. The suspension is also able to compensate for roll and pitch during cornering, braking or accelerating.
The Mercedes-Maybach S 560 is powered by the same turbocharged 4-litre V8 used in the S 63 Coupe; there is a change in the output though and makes 345hp and 700Nm. There’s still quite a bit of pace to it, though, with 0-100kph achieved in 4.9 seconds.