When Mercedes-Benz released the current-generation of S-Class a few years ago, it was the best luxury sedan the world had ever seen. It had better technology comfort and interior style than nearly anything else on the road and was nearly universally praised. Was it perfect? Of course not, no car is perfect. Its exterior styling was a bit too bland and it didn’t handle as well as the Audi A8 at the time. However, it was superb.

Now, though, more modern competitors have debuted to really give the S-Class some fright. The new BMW 7 Series is a superb car in its own right and better than the S-Class in many ways. The Merc might still have the popularity but the new 7er is a damn fine machine. Jaguar’s new XJ isn’t as luxurious or technologically impressive but by god is it pretty and it handles better than anything in the class. Hell, even Cadillac’s CT6 is an impressive luxury car that acts as a more affordable alternative to the Merc. So to combat these new competitors, Mercedes-Benz has given the S-Class a makeover and it puts the old dog right back in the fold.

From the outside, Mercedes mostly fixed the problem of its bland styling. From the front, the refreshed S-Class sports a new grille, new LED headlights and more aggressive front air intakes. It gives the front end some more presence, more muscularity and more character, something the S-Class sorely needed. It still isn’t perfect but it’s better. There’s also new LED taillights that look a bit better than before.

On the inside, the folks in Stuttgart had a difficult task of making the already brilliant cabin of the S-Class somehow better. It seems as though they’ve succeeded. Rich diamond-stitched leather adorns the dashboard trim and leather trims the upper part of the doors as well. It looks extremely expensive and very classy. I also love how Merc switched the steering wheel from a sort of derpy two-spoke wheel to a much nicer three-spoke wheel.

The Mercedes-AMG S63 differentiates itself with more aggressive body work and a sportier looking interior. The steering wheel of the S63 is almost jewel-like and looks as expensive as something you’d see in a Bugatti. It’s a stunning cabin.

Inside, there’s a new ENERGIZING Comfort system that basically turns the S-Class into a gigantic rolling mood ring. It has several different settings (such as Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Comfort and Joy) and will adjust different aspects of the interior to match the setting. So if you set it to Freshness, it will adjust the climate control system, fragrance system, the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), console heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres to match accordingly. Fancy.

It also comes with an improved Magic Body Control, which now scans the road ahead further and better than before to pre-load the suspension for upcoming bumps or road imperfections. There’s also new LED lighting, wireless mobile phone charging and more active safety functions.

Under the hood of the new S-Class is a 3.0 liter V6 biturbo engine that makes 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in the S450 and a 4.0 liter V8 with 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque in the S560. In S63 AMG-spec, there’s a twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V8 making 603 hp. The latter will compete well with the 600 hp BMW M760Li and 605 hp Audi S8 Plus. But the biggest news of all is actually from a six-cylinder diesel. In Europe, the S-Class will be available with a new 3.0 liter straight-six diesel engine, bringing the I6 back to Mercedes-Benz. The new 3.0 liter turbo I6 diesel will make a healthy 286 hp a 442 lb-ft of torque. It’s nice to see another brand develop some inline-six engines.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was already an excellent car and one that is typically the first car to come to mind when thinking of luxury limos. However, now it’s gotten even better and looks even better as well. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against its other new competition.