Mercedes Concept A Sedan bows in at Shanghai motor show

"With a whole series of new features and functions the S-Class remains the technological pioneer", says Ola Källenius, responsible on the Board of Daimler AG for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. S450 and S560 are the new S-class designations boasting new V-6 and V-8 engines.

The vehicle, launched at the Shanghai motor show this week, has a 48-volt power system which allows Mercedes to convert the alternator into a supplementary electric motor to boost acceleration and to provide wireless charging for mobile phones, Daimler said. A number of recent Benzes share this new engine; in the S-class it makes 463 horsepower (14 more than the old 4.7) and 516 lb-ft of torque (same as before). A mild AMG version powered by a 476 hp variant of this gasoline engine is also in the works for a future Mercedes-AMG E55, but more on that in the next months.

Among a wide range of driver aids, the upmarket saloon can also be optioned the most advanced autonomous driving technology offered by Mercedes-Benz, the so-called Distronic Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist system. In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometres. The 2018 S-Class will be launched in European markets in July.

The autonomous lane change system has also been tweaked and can now be operated by simply tapping the indicator stalk rather than holding it for three seconds as before. Dubbed Distronic Active Proximity Control, it can automatically accelerate and brake the auto within a speed limit, plus provide its own steering for up to 30 seconds at a time. There's even an ENERGIZING Comfort system for the first time, which pulls together the climate control, seat heating/ventilation and massage, console heating, lighting, and even the cabin fragrancing. It includes six programs: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort, and Training (which includes exercises that can be performed while seated).

Since the Concept A is a mere design study as this point, Mercedes has not released any detailed technical specs. Its exterior looks have been tweaked only slightly, but there are big changes elsewhere.

On the inside, the S-Class continues to use a pair of display screens behind one piece of glass, measuring a combined 12.3 inches diagonally.

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