We’ve just driven the new S 450 – the six-cylinder petrol version of the Mercedes-Benz S-class flagship limousine, and it really impressed us with its smoothness, responsiveness and refinement. It serves as a good mid-point between the six-cylinder diesel and V8-powered Maybach. However, while the new S 350d diesel as well as the S 560 Maybach use new-generation engines, the S 450 sticks with the previous-generation V6 petrol (M276), albeit tuned for more power.
However, unlike the new in-line six diesel, the S-class’ V6 petrol is still a BS-IV engine, making it the only one in the S-class line-up that is not compatible with the BS-VI emissions standards that will be enforced in 2020. So why didn’t we get the new-generation straight-six petrol engine (M256) that is on sale in Europe? To put it simply, the diesel, which outsells the six-cylinder petrol by a huge margin in India, was a much higher priority. Mercedes chose to focus its resources on the considerable task of modifying the straight-six diesel (OM656) to run at BS-VI levels on BS-IV fuel.
However, we have now learnt that the V6 petrol motor introduced in the new S-class is only a stop-gap measure, and that the M256 straight-six petrol engines are indeed on their way to India. They should find its way into the S-class by the end of the year, and subsequently, it will roll out into other models like the GLE and GLS – although that may be only in the facelifts or next generation of these SUVs.
The question then is, should you buy an S 450 knowing that it will get a new engine within 12 months? Sure, this will affect your re-sale value and your decision, but as you’ll see in our review, it’s a refined motor with strong performance, and of course, there are all the other strengths of the S-class that still remain.
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In conversation with Roland Folger, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India video