Competes with: Jaguar XJ, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8
Looks like: The redesigned S-Class with V-12 badges
Drivetrain: 523-hp, 6.0-liter V-12 engine; seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive only
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014
Joining the S-Class lineup for 2015 is the all-new S600, which is back after a year off. Mercedes introduced the redesigned S-Class and S550 first and is now showing off a bigger, more-powerful signature V-12 engine in the S600. The S-Class had six variants when the 2013 model exited to make way for the 2014, and the new version is catching up quickly. The new S600 joins the redesigned V-8-powered S550 and S63, and the also-V-12-powered S65.
Since 1991 the S600 got power from an engine with three times the cylinders of your typical four-banger economy car. For 2015, the 6.0-liter V-12 and its 523-horsepower and 612 pounds-feet of torque make up the most significant difference between it and the S550. The numbers are also up half a liter and 13 hp from the 2013 version, and horsepower is up 74 hp from the S550.
The S600 doesn't leave much on the table as far as included equipment. Mercedes-Benz's Magic Body Control, which isn't something you pay extra for in Las Vegas, is the standard suspension. It monitors road conditions via cameras to adjust the suspension and react in real-time to upcoming obstacles. A standard driving assistance package features lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and an adaptive cruise control, plus a pedestrian recognition system with automatic braking.
New technology inside the S-Class includes a touchpad for written inputs of letters, numbers and special characters for control of the multimedia system. Also standard is a head-up display showing the vehicle's speed on the windshield along with the speed limit and navigation directions. Not included standard, however, is an electrically heated windshield.
The S600 goes on sale in spring; expect pricing closer to the on-sale date.