It has been a while coming, but the facelifted W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has finally made its Malaysian debut, the car being launched today as part of an extended S-Class family introduction that also saw the debut of the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 and S 650, C217 Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe and A217 Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet.

The refreshed Sonderklasse makes its way here a year after it was introduced in Europe, but it was mentioned last year that its arrival into the country would be pushed back to sometime in the middle of 2018.

As expected, the launch variant for the updated sixth-gen luxury sedan is the S 450, in its long-wheelbase form and in AMG Line trim. Hint of the S 450 L being the jump-in model for the facelift had already been intimated back in May, when the variant inadvertently popped up on an MBM price list that briefly appeared on the company’s website. It takes over from the pre-facelift S 400 h, of which the last example of its type was the AMG Line version introduced in August last year.

The locally-assembled S 450 is powered by a 3.0 litre bi-turbo V6 petrol engine, which was first seen on the W213 E 400 4Matic. The unit is from the same M276 family as the 3.5 litre V6 CGI on the S 400 h, but offers more in the way of output.

On the S 450 application, the mill delivers 362 hp (or 367 PS, as listed) at 5,500 to 6,000 rpm and 500 Nm from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm. Comparatively, that’s 56 hp and 130 Nm more than the base output of the S 400 h’s 3.5 litre unit, which offered 306 hp and 370 Nm.

While the S 400 h’s electric assist motor did provide an additional 27 hp and 250 Nm of output, bringing the numbers closer to that on the S 450, the new car is much faster in the century sprint.

Paired with a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, which replaces the 7G-Tronic unit on the pre-facelift, the new 3.0 litre mill is able to haul the 1,955 kg mass from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, much faster than the 6.8 seconds taken by the S 400 h. Top speed is identical to that of the older car, which is 250 km/h.

Incidentally, the output figures on the V6 is identical to that of the automaker’s new 3.0 litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder, which features a 48-volt lithium-ion on-board power network as well as an integral starter generator system. The M256 is seen in the S 450 in European markets, but we’ll have to wait for it a little while longer -its local premiere will come at a later point, likely through the new CLS.

An Airmatic suspension is present, as is the brand’s Dynamic Select driving programme, which offers a range of selectable driving modes (Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual).

Externally, changes brought about by the refresh are subtle – in front, there’s a new radiator grille, which now features three louvres (previously, four) as well as a new bumper design. In all, there are four styles for this, and we of course get the AMG Line unit as part of the styling package being specified for the local car.

The headlights are now Multibeam LED units with Ultra Range high beam, and these sport a different internal configuration, with a three-bar DRL array replacing the single bar seen previously. The performance of the main beam has also been improved with regards to throw distance, now able to project to a length of 650 metres.

The rear, meanwhile, sees a restyled bumper with a new diffuser and a reworked design for the twin tailpipes. The tail light design itself remains unchanged, but the graphics have been updated, the three-bar cluster now featuring the crystal-look presentation that made its debut on the W213 E-Class.

The wheel selection for the S-Class has also been updated, and the S 450 L rides on AMG 10-spoke units of the 20-inch variety, wrapped with 245/40 front and 275/35 rear run-flat tyres.

Changes in the interior are likewise minimal from a design point of view, with new trim and upholstery choices making for a lot of difference in the surface work. Save for a three-spoke Nappa leather steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls that is new to the car, it’s all familiar ground.

There are smaller, less obvious changes – the presentation of the dual 12.3-inch digital screen layout has been refined, now seamlessly integrated by being encased under one glass cover in the same vein as seen on the E-Class, with the buttons located between the screens in the pre-facelift now relocated. Other minor revisions include a new look for the seat controls and a new push-start button.

In terms of infotainment, COMAND Online continues on, as does the COMAND touchpad controller, and the S 450 comes with a rear-seat entertainment system linked to a 13-speaker Burmester surround system, the same configuration as on the pre-facelift.

New to the S-Class are things such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support and smartphone integration via MB Mirror Link as well as wireless charging for mobile devices, the latter available in both front and back sections of the vehicle. The SplitView function for the COMAND screen on the S 400 h is no longer on, the system having been dropped, in line with its retirement in other markets.

Standard fit items for the S 450 include a surround view camera, an Air Balance package, illuminated door sills as well as Keyless-Go. New to the car is a premium LED ambient lighting, which now offers 64 colour variations to pick from, up from six previously. The local car however doesn’t come equipped with the Energising comfort control feature.

In terms of driving assistance and safety systems, there’s Distronic Plus proximity control, Active Braking Assist, Crosswind Assist and Attention Assist in the mix, as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.

For safety kit, it’s the usual suite, the list including 10 airbags (with side rear and rear beltbags), autonomous emergency assist and semi-autonomous driving capabilities – the Distronic adaptive cruise control is now able to slow down for curves and junctions, and is operable at speeds of up to 210 km/h.

Seven exterior colours are available for the S 450, and these are Selenite Grey, Obsidian Black, Iridium Silver, Magnetite Black, Diamond Silver, Cavansite Blue and a designo shade called Diamond White Bright, which is the colour seen here in the photos.

As for interior colour combinations, there are three, black (available for all exterior shades), nut brown/black (all except Diamond Silver) and a silk beige/espresso brown mix, which is only available in combination with the two black exterior colours. All the uphlostery choices are paired with a high-gloss brown eucalyptus wood trim.

The Mercedes-Benz S 450 L AMG LIne is priced at RM699,888 on-the-road without insurance, 0% GST. Opting for the designo Diamond White Bright bumps the price up to RM705,888. That’s over RM100k more than the tax-free S 400 h hybrid, but it’s worth noting that the prev-gen W221 S 350 went for RM840,888.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia also announced that the S 450 L AMG Line can be financed at just RM8,888 per month with a three-year EaseCare Financing tenure that comes with value added benefits such as service package, first year comprehensive motor insurance and Agility Financing (flexible financing). By comparison, a conventional three-year financing without any added value amounts to a monthly instalment of RM16,198 per month.

Check out the complete specifications of the S 450 L AMG Line at CarBase.my.