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New 2017 Mercedes S-Class: UK prices and specs revealed

The latest Mercedes S-Class has been unveiled, along with a new range of prices and specs

The Mercedes S-Class has always been the German brand’s technological tour de force - and the firm is maintaining that position with a new facelifted version of the car. UK prices and specifications have now been revealed ahead of first deliveries in October.

The price has risen ever so slightly, as the 2017 S-Class gains a minor trim level shake-up too. The ‘basic’ SE trim level has been dropped, leaving AMG Line, long-wheelbase cars and full fat AMG models as the only pickings. Fresh Maybach and Pullman badged cars will appear down the line.

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We caught our first glimpse of the refreshed S-Class at the Shanghai Motor Show in April. On the surface, the new S-Class gets only mild exterior tweaks, with revised front and rear bumpers, the V12 edition’s front grille rolled out across the full range, and different headlights that feature a three-striped LED daytime running light layout. ‘L’ badged cars add an extra 130mm to the big Merc’s wheelbase length.

However, there are extensive revisions to the engine line-up - including new straight-six diesel motors, with a choice of power outputs - and 48-volt technology that aims to boost efficiency on a straight-six petrol that’s also likely to make it to the UK. The S-Class also gets Mercedes’ latest autonomous technology, rolled into the most sophisticated Distronic cruise control ever seen on one of the firm’s models.

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The main change to Distronic is the inclusion of mapping data into the system; it helps the car to anticipate corners and junctions, and adjust its speed accordingly. There are also improvements to the Active Lane Change Assist, which now switches lanes by flicking the indicator stalk, and tailback assistance, which can hold the car for longer during pauses in traffic flow.

The S-Class’s Magic Body Control is revised, too; its stereo cameras scan the road more thoroughly, and at speeds of up to 130mph, and it can also lean the car into corners to help reduce the amount of lateral force felt by the occupants.

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The new diesel engine, called OM656, will supply power for the S350 d that traditionally accounts for most S-Class sales in the UK. It produces 282bhp and 600Nm, and returns a claimed 52.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

However, the range could also expand to include a new S400 d in the future, which offers 335bhp and 700Nm, and only a modest increase in fuel consumption and emissions. Merc is said to be considering selling this version with four-wheel drive in the UK.

We do know at least least one six-cylinder petrol edition of the car is coming in the form of the S 500. It uses a new powerunit called M256, and the new engine makes use of 48-volt electrics to power an electric compressor and an integrated starter alternator, in an attempt to maximise fuel efficiency. Power is rated at 429bhp.

By early 2018 there will also be a new plug-in petrol hybrid version, called S 560 e and featuring a 13.3kWh battery that’s enough to take the S-Class around 30 miles on pure-electric power alone.

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Inside, the S-Class gets updated materials and colour options, and the instrument panel features an updated display layout with two 12.3-inch screens that are higher resolution than before, and positioned behind a glass screen to give the impression of them being a single unit.

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There’s also a new steering wheel that incorporates swipe-touch controls, and which can also include operate the Distronic functions, replacing the traditional column stalk.

At the top of the range, the S 63 AMG gets a a new nine-speed transmission and a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 to replace then old 5.5-litre unit; the motor produces 604bhp and can take the S-Class from 0-62mph in less than four seconds. The S 65 AMG, meanwhile, retains its 6.0-litre V12 biturbo, which produces 621bhp and 1000Nm. Unlike the rest of the range, it still uses a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The entry-level S 350 d is priced from £72,705, making use of the new 282bhp diesel and sending drive to the rear wheels via a nine-speed Mercedes 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox. Merc’s Airmatic air suspension and adaptive damping is fitted as standard, while other highlights include Active Parking Assist with a reversing camera, and that new dual 12.3-inch widescreen cockpit display. The same car can be had as an ‘L’ long wheelbase version, priced from £75,505.

Sitting above the diesel S 350 d is the 429bhp, six-cylinder petrol S 500. It’s also only available in AMG Line trim, but comes with the longer wheelbase as standard and is priced from £85,215. A healthy options list exists for both models.

At launch, the two strong Mercedes-AMG line-up kicks off from £125,690 for the new S 63. Nappa leather upholstery is thrown in as standard, alongside a sportier look thanks to a different AMG bodykit with jet black exterior detailing. Airmatic sports suspension is included, plus sports steering, an active exhaust system, and AMG sports seats.

The range topping S 65 gets V12 specific additions including its own bodykit, sports seats, exhaust system and sports suspension with Merc’s Magic Body Control setup. A 360-degree camera system is included as standard, while comfort equipment such as electrified and ventilated rear seats with heating and cooling functions, plus front and rear armrest heating make the cut. For the driver, Night View Assist Plus for early detection of pedestrians and animals in the dark is included alongside a head-up display, while the whole cabin receives exclusive Nappa leather.

The final touch is the inclusion of a Burmester 26 speaker audio setup. The S 65 is priced from £187,240.

What do you think of the updated Mercedes S-Class? Let us know below...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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