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Already the benchmark for flagship luxury sedans, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class aims even farther upmarket with a host of new variants.
Wide variety of impressive, powerful engines; world-class craftsmanship; magnetic levitation-like ride quality; a showcase of convenience and safety technology; whisper-quiet.
Not for the faint of wallet; overwhelming tech and interior features.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is fully redesigned.
Mercedes is swinging for the fences this year with the redesigned S-Class. The German automaker has even said as much and plans to introduce no fewer than six new S-Class models through this year and into next. Whether all of them come to the North American market is another question, but the house that Karl and Gottlieb built is nothing if not ambitious.
The introductions begin with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan in standard and long-wheelbase versions. A decadent stretched-wheelbase "Pullman" model (or two) will arrive to fill the void left by the departed Maybach marque, and there may also be a four-door "coupe" similar to the CLS. Next year, the S-Class coupe arrives, effectively replacing the CL-Class nameplate, while a follow-up four-seat convertible should give Mercedes a formidable pair of Bentley Continental GT challengers.
Even under its black shapeless camo wraps seen in spy photos, the new sedan shows a revised front fascia with the new upright grille seen on the newest Mercedes models. The shape and profile remain largely untouched, but the S-Class' softer, rolling curves give way to tighter, sharper lines.
Interior spy shots reveal a revised COMAND interface, with an expansive screen in the center stack and additional buttons arrayed horseshoe-like around the dial controller and nifty hand rest near the center console. Round vents replace the horizontal design for a classic, semi-retro look, and in the dash is a display nearly as big as the COMAND monitor that shows digital "analog-look" gauges with a large information center display in between.
Engine options shouldn't vary much from the tried and true. Expect a twin-turbo 4.8-liter V8 in the base model, a 6.0-liter V12 upgrade, and about 650 horsepower from the top S65 AMG model, all joined to an eight- or possibly even nine-speed transmission. Diesel, hybrid and all-wheel-drive variants are also likely.
Of course, the S-Class would not be a Mercedes-Benz flagship without a tour de tech. One safety system, designed for use in Germany but adaptable to other markets, recognizes traffic signs and can alert wrong-way drivers of their error. An available adaptive suspension will read the road ahead and adjust the damping to suit the surface. The Distronic Plus steering system, along with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and multiple sensors and radar systems almost make the S-Class an autonomous driving car. There's even an inflatable rear seatbelt system, and Mercedes is touting that the new S-Class uses all-LED lighting throughout.
Look for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class to arrive later this year and begin to serve a wide swath between the well-heeled and golden-slippered. Pricing hasn't been announced, but expect the starting $92,350 sticker to climb slightly. Check back for a full review of the new S-Class, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice, as more information becomes available.
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