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Mercedes-Benz is secretly working away on an all-new flagship S-Class, not to mention several models that will evolve from it. In total, the 2012 S-Class is expected to be offered in at least four different versions, including both a coupe and a convertible.
An S-Class Coupe is really no surprise, as Mercedes has offered the CL for years based on the S-Class platform. For 2012 it will follow a similar plan to the CLK (integrating it into the E-Class lineup as the E-Class Coupe), with Mercedes deciding to axe the CL badge in favor of the S-Class Coupe name. This will help give it a more up-market vibe (not that it doesn’t already have one), so that high-powered and ultra expensive AMG versions can compete more squarely with the likes of the Bentley Continental GT.
As for a convertible S-Class, Mercedes has been toying with the idea since it debuted the Ocean Drive Concept in 2007.
The final two models will both be sedans, with a short wheelbase and long wheelbase option, although the long wheelbase S-Class may only be offered in North America.
For the 2012 model year, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class are both getting a new, more powerful and efficient engine choices.
Starting with the E-Class, the new base powerplant will be a direct-injection version of the 3.5-liter V6 engine, now making 302-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 38-hp. As for the more potent, E550 models, they will trade their old 5.5-liter V8 for a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter motor with 402-hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 20-hp and 52 lb-ft. Both engines will come mated to a more fuel-efficient 7-speed transmission.
Also officially confirmed is a new engine for the E63 AMG model, trading the old naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 for a twin-turbo direct-injection 5.5-liter making 518-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, a jump of 1-hp and 51 lb-ft. Plus, an AMG performance package will up those numbers to 550-hp and 590 lb-ft.
As for the flagship S-Class, the S550 models gains the same twin-turbo 4.6-liter engine with slightly more power at 429-hp and 516 lb-ft, while the S63 retains the biturbo 5.5L V8 with 536-hp and 590 lb-ft, which can be upped to 563-hp and 664 lb-ft.
The R350 model also gains the new, more powerful 302-hp V6 engine, although unfortunately the GLK-Class will carry on with its old 268-hp engine for now.
While some models are already on sale, the E-Class sedan and wagon won’t hit dealers until the Fall, with the revised 2012 S-Class available in July.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes E63 AMG
The next generation S-Class models will be offered exclusively as hybrids in North America, according to a report by Autoblog. Exempt, however, will be the high-performance AMG models. Mercedes will deliver the new model in 2012.
Currently Mercedes offers three non-AMG models, including two gasoline models – the 382-hp 5.5-liter V8-powered S550 and the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V12-powered S600. There’s also the brand’s first hybrid, the S400 (reviewed here) with a lithium-ion battery, 3.5-liter V6 and a rating of 26 mpg on the highway. Apparently, the popularity of that model is part of the reason behind the decision at Mercedes.
It’s not clear if Mercedes will offer just one hybrid S-Class or perhaps two different options, one with more power and lower fuel economy and one with less power and increased fuel economy.