2018 Mercedes S-Class Facelift Takes On 2017 Model In Visual Battle

At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled what should be the best S-Class the world has ever seen.

There’s no shortage of superlatives to describe this big boy. In fact, many people have called the S-Class the “best car in the world”, and surely from a few standpoints, it is.

It’s always jam-packed with groundbreaking technology, it’s usually the most comfortable and elegant car in its class, and always seems to keep BMW and Audi on their heels, scrambling to come up with better and better 7-Series and A8 models, every other eight years or so.

The current generation S-Class, the W222, was introduced back in mid 2013, which means this recently launched facelifted model is a car we’ll all have no choice but to get used to for the next four or so years. This is it, and as always, it’s a big deal in the luxury segment.

Now, even though we’ll be focusing mainly on how the facelifted W222 compares to the original version, we will mention that what Mercedes managed to do with this car feels like, at least on paper, a proper response to the ultra-modern BMW 7-Series and all of its fancy tech. Keep in mind, however, that Audi is going to make their move next, and the semi-autonomous tech inside the all-new A8 is expected to edge out the systems in both the Merc as well as the BMW.

Having said that, let’s take a closer look at what’s new on this W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

You Say Minor Facelift, We Say “Yeah, But Just Look At It…”

Mercedes were never going to alter the exterior of the W222 in any significant fashion. The car has a certain timeless beauty to it and, if you ask 100 people, chances are that only a few, if any, will come out and straight up say they hate it. The same probably goes for the W221 as well.

With the 2018MY, you will find small tweaks both at the front as well as the rear. With the latter, aside from the slightly darkened taillights (with new LED lamps), we can’t really see any other changes – whereas at the front, we’re looking at new headlights, radiator grille and a new and more aggressive bumper.

Changes to the radiator grille are really tough to spot, but the revised bumper and headlights however do stand out. If you look carefully, you’ll see how the overall shape of the headlight is almost the same as before, except that with a slightly flatter bottom, so as to appear less elongated.

The technology and graphics inside the headlights is different as well, as unlike before, you’ve not got three distinctive torches of light used as an exclusive design element. You can also get it with the new (and optional) Multibeam LED lamps, because why not?

Step Inside Sir, Forget Our Rivals And Just Relax

Well, this is awkward, because the last thing BMW or Audi needed from Mercedes was an improved interior on its flagship model. Since we’ll get into the gadgets later on, we’re going to talk cabin aesthetics first, as the updated S-Class now features new open-pore woods, new leather trim, as well as new color tones and available combos.

Perhaps the most obvious change compared to the non-facelifted model is the new flat bottom, three-spoke steering wheel, which is definitely more sporty. However, we do feel that some people could easily make a case for the older model’s steering wheel. Not only is the older car’s steering wheel more simple, but it’s also way more elegant and unique, and since this is a luxury car, perhaps Mercedes should have just updated the older design.

Comfy, Safe, Tech-Savvy? Check. Check. And Check.

Let’s face it, before BMW came out with their new 7-Series, we pretty much thought it didn’t get much better than what the pre-facelifted S-Class brought to the table in terms of features. But then we saw BMW’s  7-Series and 5-Series, Merc’s own new E-Class and suddenly, the W222 wasn’t the most advanced premium saloon on the market.

Safe to say, that is no longer the case. Mercedes stuffed this updated S-Class with all sorts of cool and functional features, such as touch-sensitive controls for the steering wheel, updated sound system, wireless charging function, new displays that blend together under one sheet of glass, or the standard Keyless start. Compared to the previous car, the display layout does appear to be more streamlined, but does it make a huge difference? Probably not.

Another highlight is the ENERGIZING Comfort feature, which Mercedes says is a first in the industry. This system works by linking various comfort features (such as climate control, heating, lighting etc) in order to create a bespoke “wellness” setup, tailored to whatever mood the driver happens to be in. You even get suitable music for the ten minutes in which these programs run.

Of course, an update to the S-Class wouldn’t be complete without new semi-autonomous functions. Those lucky enough to afford one, will finally be able to park it using the Remote Parking Assist function, just like you would with a BMW 7-Series. Among its several new active safety systems, we’ll single out the Active Proximity Assist, Active Steer Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist and Active Activity Activation. OK, that last one we made up – but this car is anything if not active in trying to keep you safe.

Drive Or Be Driven? The New S-Class Should Excel At Both

While we can’t really tell you how the facelifted W222 drives compared to the older car (you’ll have to wait until the first batch of test drives comes in), Mercedes says that you’ll now experience a smoother ride thanks to its new curve-tilting function. This system works by tilting the body to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees, thus reducing the centrifugal forces perceived by the passengers. Will it make a big difference? Hard to say, especially with the S-Class already being so darn comfortable.

What really stands out, if you like performance that is, is the new 4.0-liter biturbo V8, pumping out 612 PS through the S63 4MATIC+’s veins. That’s an extra 27 horses compared to the old/current S63, and it results in a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of just 3.5 seconds. In case you like math, that means it’s faster than the BMW M760Li xDrive by 0.2 seconds, and that bad boy is packing a massive 6.6-liter V12.

You also get a AMG SpeedShift MCT 9-speed sports transmission that should make your already-fast S-Class, even faster. The variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system will help with that as well.

So there you have it. Is the facelifted S-Class worth trading in your current model and going with the upgrade? That’s up to you to decide. Sound off below.

PHOTO GALLERY

  • donald seymour

    This is pure comedy gold. How is the previous model going to look like an updated facelift version of the new model? Head lights are way too busy and the front fascia looks to generic. Issa no for me. The head lights looks cheap in comparison to the previous gen.

    • WG

      I agree with you. RIP the eyebrow DRL. I liked the “busy” taillights on the pre-facelift model too. Somehow Benz switched the theme for the head and taillights, not in a good way, for the facelift model.

    • Cobrajet

      It was a perfect looking car from the start, so of course changing it will make it look worse. They don’t look more cheap, but they look like what cheaper brands would do to get attention.

  • Six_Tymes

    meh

  • Bash

    Am I the only one who see the previous/current version better looking?!

    • WG

      The new E-class looks better too.

    • seems every one does… But Germans don’t know how to facelift. Each facelift at Mercedes, BMW, VW, Audi… makes the car just different or often ugly, never better looking.

      • tanner

        They used to to it properly, but yeah. Recently I’d agree.

    • thunder bolt

      The older version looks better because it’s slimmer, the new version looks too fat, it’s Schnitzel and Bratwurst overloaded.

    • Vassilis

      I prefer the new one to be honest.

  • Dansk

    The only thing I don’t like about this facelift is the steering wheel. I don’t mind the overall design, I feel like the controls are way too bulky for this car it doesn’t match the rest of the interior. I also feel the circular design in the middle protrudes out too much.

  • Craig

    I give up! Which one’s the new one?

    • George Kaplan

      @Craig – Couldn’t agree with you more. This article is useless, cos the photos aren’t labelled. Don’t really want to have to guess which is what as I read the article. Obviously, the author/editor never went to journalism school.

  • Toss

    Actually, curent base model looks like this. You can see the front lights without LED. Looks hideous.

    Glad that they filled the gap under the number plate.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a582ba2c30f2c6c044d652e4fc997ae4d23a194705058295bc0baa63a5d11784.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e9ddf37b64a57586989af05810498f00ceac8804da76128304f65aafc13fc7f.jpg

  • eb110americana

    “…touch-sensitive controls for the steering wheel…”

    That sounds like a terrible idea. Now every time you accidentally brush the steering wheel spoke while driving, the volume will change or something. Buttons are nice because you can touch them, and so long as you don’t push them, nothing happens accidentally. You even have a chance to feel for their location without looking. What is wrong with buttons?!

    • donald seymour

      You know eb110, I don’t understand why they don’t understand this principle. It’s mind boggling.

    • fd21

      No. The volume isn’t controlled using the touch buttons. Volume has a rotating wheel type thing. The touch buttons are to navigate menus.

  • Ermal Morina

    this new steering wheel looks like something you’d put on an art museum.
    overall,still looking sexy,and still the best on it’s class,atleast for me

  • SteersUright

    I understand the S Class is probably a wonderful car. But, damn! Its gotten so utterly dull and generic in its design. You could slap any brand label on any current mainstream MB sedan and who’d be the wiser? Im noticing the Germans have now learned from Toyota/Honda to make all mainstream models entirely inoffensive and save the great design for your limited production exotic stuff. Shame, once upon a time MB produced only beautiful cars.

  • disqus_83g6mJmr6l

    either way it’s perfect

  • Matthijs

    Stop comparing AMG-Line exteriors with normal trim exteriors! It really doesn’t make any sense. I prefer the current AMG-Line and AMG btw, the new ones are way too bling bling and overdone

  • ToniCipriani ✓pǝᴉɟᴉɹǝʌ

    Is that new flat steering wheel across the board? I have a feeling it’s just when you get an appearance package or something, some earlier spyshots showed a round version of the same wheel.

  • Hrvoje Belajec

    All other luxury sedans parked beside this car look like the brunette from ABBA.

  • BlackPegasus

    The DRLs (DayTime Running Lights) just joined the new E-class in the gimmicky department. So unnecessarily busy. The 2017 S-class and C-class both shared conservative well executed DRLs which served their purpose as being functional while stylish. This new design borders on gaudy garishness that should always be antithetical to Mercedes Benz.

    • Kash

      I don’t think it’s the DRL’s giving it that gaudy look, i think it’s the 3 LED bulbs on the side where the 2nd traditional one used to be. Otherwise the LED strips don’t look any busier now than the old one.

  • They need to stop to think that addiing stupid plastic and bottons makes something new or better.

  • Dennis Scipio

    I’m glad they got changed the Steering Wheel, the previous one looked like a Smiley Face.

    • no25

      thought I was the only one that hated that steering wheel

  • no25

    I must say: the new steering wheel is way better, but that’s about it. I like the pre-facelift better (even though the changes are subtle).

  • Tumbi Mtika

    WHICH IS NEW?

    I can’t tell!

  • Enter Ranting

    Bring back the “laughing clown” steering wheel.

  • Howstar

    Steering wheel emojis
    Before 😀
    After 😮

  • U8INIT

    When yall see the new one on the road it WON’T be denied…

  • Joshua Laryea

    If i had the resources i would definately go in for the old. The new is trash honestly!

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