Welcome the face-lifted W222 S-Class

June 17, 2017

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift has finally made its global premiere in Shanghai, bringing with it a plethora of improvements including an updated engine range, new technologies and additional features. According to Mercedes-Benz, its flagship was the best-selling luxury sedan in the world in 2016, and it will certainly want to keep that momentum going.

As before, the S-Class is available with a short wheelbase (W222), long wheelbase (V222) and the even longer wheelbase (X222) Mercedes-Maybach. Mercedes-AMG versions are also offered in the form of the S 63 4Matic+ and S 65, both of which are long-wheelbase versions only.

On the S 63 4Matic+, a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine (shared with the AMG GT, C 63 and E 63) provides 612 hp at 5,500-6,000 rpm and 900 Nm of torque at 2,750-4,500 rpm. The mill replaces the previous 5.5 litre biturbo V8, and sends its power to all four wheels via a new nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT automatic transmission and an AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system.

The more powerful of the two AMG S-Class models – the S 65 – comes with a much, much larger 6.0 litre biturbo V12, which is carried over. Despite its larger capacity, the mill only churns out 630 hp at 4,800-5,400 rpm and 1,000 Nm of torque at 2,300-4,300 rpm, which is just a smidge more than the V8 offering. However, the S 65 is rear-wheel drive only, and employs the older seven-speed AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission instead.

Both the S 63 4Matic+ and S 65 will hit an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h, but with the optional AMG Driver’s Package, that figure climbs to the 300 km/h mark. On its way there, the S 63 4Matic+ will find 100 km/h from a standstill quicker at just 3.5 seconds, while the S 65 makes the same sprint in 4.3 seconds.

Moving away from the high-performance AMG models, the rest of range gets a pair of diesel engines as well as a single petrol option. The latter is a new M176 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine which provides 469 hp and 700 Nm of torque on the S 560 4Matic (a classic badge making a comeback, replacing the current S 500 and S550, as it’s called in America), while the oil burning route features the OM656 3.0 litre inline six-cylinder engine that offers 286 hp/600 Nm on the S 350 d 4Matic and 340 hp/700 Nm on the S 400 d 4Matic.

Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system is standard on all S-Class models, offering a range of selectable driving modes depending on the situation. Cylinder deactivation is also a function on V8-powered models, which deactivates cylinders two, three, five and eight during partial loads and within engine speeds of between 1,000-3,250 rpm.

In the future, more engines will be offered for the S-Class, including a brand new M256 3.0 litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine. The mill, which was announced in October last year, uses a 48V electrical system and features an auxiliary compressor and Integrated Starter-Generator (ISG) for a mild-hybrid setup. The M256 is rated at up to 408 hp and over 500 Nm of torque, with Mercedes saying there will be two output levels offered when it makes its debut on upcoming S-Class variants (rumoured to be the S 400 and S 450).