- New 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class reaches dealers in September
- Center screen is now more than a foot wide
- Standard twin-turbo V8 makes 455 horsepower
The most obvious changes are on the outside. The previous S-Class's large wheel arches are gone. Instead, the sedan's styling is revised to more closely match the rest of the Mercedes lineup. But it's still visibly larger than other Mercedes models, thanks to sizable proportions and a broad grille.
Revisions to the S-Class are just as dramatic inside. Possibly the most unusual change is the new 2-spoke steering wheel, a rare feature in modern cars. Another big update is the round air vents that replace last year's rectangular vents. The center stack boasts few buttons, just like the outgoing model. Instead, most functions will be integrated into the sedan's center-mounted dashboard screen.
Unlike many rivals that have switched to touchscreen systems, the 2014 S-Class's screen is still controlled with a wheel mounted in the center console. But operating the system is easier than ever, thanks to 12 memory settings that allow drivers and passengers to easily pull up frequently used functions. Seeing the screen is also easier than before, as it's now more than a foot wide. That makes it a focal point on the dashboard.
Beyond the screen, there's also a long list of gadgets in the 2014 S-Class. For one, the navigation system now uses Google Maps. A new "active perfuming system" actively adds a fragrance to the cabin. And the sedan's Pre-Safe collision system can now stop impacts at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
Under the hood, the S550 swaps last year's 4.6-liter V8 for a new twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8. The new engine makes 455 hp -- up 26 hp from last year -- and propels the sedan to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is a fuel-saving start-stop system. Although Mercedes hasn't given details, the brand says AMG models and other variants are still to come.
Rear-wheel-drive versions of the all-new S550 will reach dealerships in September. The sedan's S550 4Matic all-wheel-drive model will follow closely behind in November. After that, Mercedes will debut the next high-performance S-Class from the brand's AMG division. Mercedes has not yet announced pricing for the S550, but we expect a healthy increase over last year's $96,000 base price with shipping.
What it means to you: The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will likely continue delivering one of the most luxurious driving experiences available.