For 2018, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class receives three new engines. The lone returning motor is the range-topping 12-cylinder found in the S 65. We haven't had a chance to sample that multi-cylinder extravagance, but considering the excellence of the lesser powertrains, we imagine it delivers all the torquey smoothness one would expect.
The 3.0-liter twin-turbo in the S 450 is the entry-level engine. Don't equate entry-level with mediocrity, though – this powerplant is smooth, refined, and powerful, belying any preconceived notions one might have when thinking about a six-cylinder in a car that weighs 4,600 pounds dry. With 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, it's powerful enough to move this bruiser to 60 miles per hour in just 5.4 seconds.
The two V8 options take the pleasing characteristics of the S 450 to new heights. If the V6 is a deftly-shot arrow, the 4.0-liter V8s are more akin to a bullet fired through a silencer – muted and deathly fast. In standard tune, this engine makes 463 hp in the S 560, and is absolutely capable for meeting the needs of sane and rational buyers. The silly 603-hp version that's in the S 63 goes from zero to 60 mph in only 3.5 seconds, and is available for those who eschew sanity and rationality.
No matter the engine, all S-Classes ride as expected, wafting over the harshest pavement and filtering out any road imperfections well before they reach the cabin. None of this is too surprising, considering the base suspension is a four-corner air design. An active-damper setup named Magic Body Control is available, and these trick shocks will anticipate the road ahead as well as tilt the big sedan up to 2.65 degrees into the turn so to mitigate body roll. It helps, but this is still a full-size nautilus for the road, so don't expect to carve corners like a Miata.