2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Clean diesel and Hybrid availability; world-class performance, comfort and safety; amazing available technology
Once again, Mercedes revised their engine options on the S-Class. A new 3.0L BlueTEC V6 becomes available and the S550 receives a smaller-displacement, but more powerful twin-turbo 4.6L V8 over last year's 5.5L V8.
The new kid on the block is the S350 BlueTEC turbodiesel, a 3.0L V6 that makes 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. The S400 hybrid continues with a mild hybrid using a 3.5L V6 with 295 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque and a mild hybrid system to assist the gasoline engine for 30 percent better fuel economy than the S550.
The S550 gets a new 4.6L twin-turbo V8 engine, which makes 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, it's still capable of 25 mpg on the highway. The V12-powered S600 keeps its 5.5L V8, which makes 510 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque.
At the top end, the S63 AMG gets a twin-turbo 5.5L V8 that makes 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It utilizes stop-start technology and a 7-speed transmission to keep fuel use relatively reasonable. The S65 AMG continues to utilize its 6.0L V12 engine, which this year makes 624 hp and an astonishing 738 lb-ft of torque.
Across the board, the S-Class carries some amazing technology. All S-Class features Airmatic active suspension with adaptive damping. Also standard are bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive corning lights and rain-sensing wipers with heated washers. High-tech options include a SPLITVIEW entertainment system allows both front seat occupants to watch different programs on the same LCD display, a night-vision system includes a pedestrian protection system and an innovative automatic 4-zone climate control uses dust and pollen filters as well as dew point and seatbelt sensors.
Other safety-oriented options include Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, both of which can trigger automatic brake intervention. Attention Assist detects drowsy drivers and is standard on all but the hybrid, and the standard Adaptive High Beam Assist monitors approaching headlights and dims its own to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.
The big news for 2012 is that a S350 BlueTEC diesel model becomes available. The S550 gets a 4.6L twin-turbo V8 engine that makes 429 horsepower and 516 lb-feet of torque. A rear-seat entertainment system is newly optional on the S400 hybrid and on the S63.
The S-Class has set the standard for luxury and performance in a sedan. Now, Mercedes-Benz is setting its sights on making its flagship vehicle a standard in fuel economy and reduced emissions as well by adding the diesel engine this year to the hybrid system it introduced last year. Sport-driving fans need not worry, though, as the AMG-tuned models continue to deliver high horsepower in a luxury wrapper.
* EPA mileage estimates and EPA fuel economy methods based on models beginning with
the indicated model year. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models
before the indicated model year. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how
you drive and maintain your vehicle.