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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class to offer upgraded PHEV, new 48V mild hybrid models; advances in autonomy

Mercedes-Benz chose Auto Shanghai 2017 as the venue for the world première of the new S-Class. Among the highlights is new efficient engine range and a series of new technologies for electrification of the powertrain. Several new engines are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six cylinder diesel and gasoline engines as well as a new V-8 biturbo gasoline engine.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometers (31 miles). Technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première in the lineup as well. The market launch of the new S-Class starts in the European markets in July.


48V system. The in-line six-cylinder gasoline engine (M 256) in the powertrain range incorporates a 48-volt on-board power supply. New intelligent forced induction that includes an electric booster compressor, as well as an Integrated Starter Alternator provide outstanding power delivery without turbo lag.

The Integrated Starter Alternator is responsible for hybrid functions, such as boost or energy recovery, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. The new R-6 engine will deliver the performance of an eight-cylinder with significantly lower consumption.

Systematic electrification dispenses with the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for near-engine exhaust aftertreatment.

The 48-volt on-board power supply serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the Integrated Starter Alternator, which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recovery. The new in-line six-cylinder comes to the starting line in two output levels.

Upgraded plug-in hybrid powertrain. With significantly increased battery capacity of 13.3 kWh, the range for all-electric driving in the PHEV model will increase to about 50 km. In conjunction with the new Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, the on-board 7.2-kW charger allows much faster charging of the battery.

New engines with landmark technology. Other engines for the new S-Class include:

  • Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 8.5 l/100 km [28 mpg US]; CO2 emissions combined: 195 g/km) and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 9.3 l/100 km [25 mpg US]; CO2 emissions combined: 209 g/km): The new V-8 comes to the starting line with 345 kW (469 hp) and 700 N·m.

    The new biturbo engine is among the most economical V-8 gasoline engines in the world, and consumes about 10% less fuel than the predecessor. To lower the fuel consumption, four cylinders of the new V-8 are deactivated simultaneously under partial load with the help of the CAMTRONIC valve-lift adjustment system. This reduces gas-cycle losses and enhances the overall efficiency of the four firing cylinders by shifting the operating point towards higher loads. The turbochargers positioned in the V of the cylinder banks represent another special feature.

  • Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ (fuel consumption combined: 8.9 l/100 km [26 mpg US]; CO2 emissions combined: 203 g/km): For superior performance with significantly reduced fuel consumption, the AMG 4.0-liter V-8 Biturbo engine with cylinder deactivation replaces the previous 5.5-liter V-8 Biturbo. Despite less displacement, the new engine produces 450 kW (612 hp).

  • Most powerful diesel car in Mercedes-Benz history: In the Mercedes-Benz S 350 d 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 5.5 l/100 km [43 mpg US], CO2 emissions combined: 145 g/km) and S 400 d 4MATIC models (fuel consumption combined: 5.6 l/100 km [42 mpg US], CO2 emissions combined: 147 g/km), the new in-line six-cylinder diesel engine makes its début.

    It comes in two output levels with 210 kW (286 hp) and 600 N·m as well as 250 kW (340 hp) and 700 N·m. Even though it has noticeably more power than its predecessor, the new engine consumes more than 7% less fuel. The special traits of the top-of-the-line engine in the diesel family include the stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage turbocharging and the first use of CAMTRONIC variable valve-lift control. Its design features a combination of aluminium engine block and steel pistons as well as further improved NANOSLIDE coating of the cylinder walls.

    The new six-cylinder diesel engine is designed to comply with future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions). All the components of relevance for efficient emissions reduction are installed directly on the engine. The integrated technology approach combining the new stepped-bowl combustion process, dynamic multi-way exhaust-gas recirculation and near-engine exhaust-gas aftertreatment, for the first time combined with variable valve-lift control, makes further reduced consumption with low emissions possible. Due to the near-engine insulated configuration, exhaust-gas aftertreatment has low heat loss and extremely favorable operating conditions.

Intelligent Drive: the next step in driving assistance systems. The new S-Class takes another step towards autonomous driving, elevating Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of curves or junctions. This is complemented by an improved Active Lane Change Assist and additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist.

With enhanced camera and radar systems, the new S-Class has a better view of the surrounding traffic: In addition, for the first time it makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Assist is thus able to assist the driver in many situations based on the route, and conveniently adjust the vehicle speed.

The “Assistance Graphics” menu of the instrument panel shows the driver at one glance which assistance functions are selected and to what situations the systems are currently responding. Unmistakable icons provide information on the screen as well in the head-up display. All functions are now controlled from the steering wheel. The new Driving Assistance package includes but is not limited to the following functions:

  • DISTRONIC Active Proximity Assist uses substantially more map and navigation data, can support the driver based on the route, and conveniently adjusts the vehicle speed. Active Steer Assist has been noticeably improved across its entire performance range, resulting in markedly enhanced customer benefits.

  • Active Lane Change Assist was considerably upgraded. Now tapping the indicator stalk is all it takes to initiate a lane change. This lane change is executed within the next ten seconds and indicated in the instrument cluster with the appropriate visual display, if the vehicle sensor system does not detect any vehicles in the relevant safety zone the driver might have missed.

  • Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a stop when Active Steer Assist is engaged and the system recognizes that the driver is not intervening in the driving process on a sustained basis.

  • Following vehicles in a tailback: In stop & go traffic on motorways and similar roads, stops of up to 30 seconds are now possible, during which time the S-Class starts moving again automatically and follows the traffic ahead (in conjunction Active Parking Assist).

  • Traffic Sign Assist: Posted speed limits and any potential no-overtaking signs are displayed for the current section of the route through image recognition and information from the digital road map of the navigation system. The vehicle speed is compared with the speed limit. When the driver selects the appropriate settings, a visual/visual-audible warning signal is issued any time the speed limit is exceeded. No-entry restrictions are also recognized. Furthermore, the system warns of detected persons in the area of pedestrian crossings.

  • Depending on the respective applicable national road traffic regulations, Remote Parking Assist enables the driver to maneuver the vehicle into tight parking spaces or garages by smartphone, so as to facilitate getting in and out. The vehicle can be maneuvered into parallel and end-on parking spaces in both forward and reverse direction. Maneuvering out of end-on parking spaces is also possible, e.g. if the driver returns to their vehicle to find that it has been blocked in. In Explore mode, the vehicle can be maneuvered forward and back for up to 15 meters and can avoid detected obstacles with small steering corrections in the process.

MAGIC BODY CONTROL improved and now with CURVE function. The S-Class’ 2013 ROAD SURFACE SCAN detected bumps ahead of the vehicle and adjusted the ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension accordingly. In the new S-Class this suspension control is further improved: The stereo camera of the system now scans the road even more thoroughly, even in dusk and at speeds up to 180 km/h (112 mph). Another comfort enhancement is the CURVE curve-tilting function, available in the S-Class for the first time. The body tilts to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees and thereby reduces the centrifugal forces perceived by the passengers.


Juan Valdez

While I applaud MB for their driver automation, this is marketing fluff. After hundreds of millions invested in automation, this is the best MB can deliver? Obviously run by their marketing department.

Look, I'm a software engineer. I know that a $10 dollar camera and some software can stop cars from killing pedestrians and running into other cars. Come on MB, turn on the full suite now. If you can't make it work, I have some advice... call Tesla.


It is amazing how complex our engines have become, yet how good they are. Still, when I list all of the "stuff" we have added to engines to make them clean, efficient and drivable, it suggests we may be approaching at tipping point in favor of electric propulsion for our daily driving needs:

Positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valves
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves
Vacuum amplifiers
Electronic ignition
Lead-free gas
Oxidizing catalytic converters
Air injection systems
Electronic Engine Controls
Fuel injection
Barometric Pressure Sensor
Reducing catalytic converters
Sealed fuel tanks
Vapor recovery systems
Vapor recovery fuelers
Cam and crank timing sensors
Knock sensors
Mass airflow sensors
Manifold Absolute Air Pressure Sensors
Free oxygen sensors
Electronic throttle control - pedal and throttle position sensors
Variable valve timing
Low sulfur fuels
Diesel particulate traps
Cylinder Deactivation
Hybrid ICE/battery electric vehicles
High Multi-Speed transmissions
Continuously variable transmissions
Multi-Clutch transmissions
Urea injection and selective reduction catalysts
Direct fuel injection

...and most recently:
48V mild hybrids with start/gen units
LiIon batteries plus electric turbochargers
Continuously variable compression ratio crankshafts
Quad turbocharging

...and, soon:
Electric turbochargers
Opposed piston engines?
Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition?
Camless valve systems?

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