Mercedes-Benz redifines luxury in the new S-Class
The new 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sets a new standard in luxury automotive. In keeping with its reputation for legendary and traditional engineering expertise, the new S-Class can be experienced with all senses – seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling – while offering cutting-edge innovations in the areas of driver assistance, protection and interaction. The new S-Class uses digitisation for a car that responds empathetically to the needs and wishes of its driver and passengers. With the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz is truly shaping the next generation of individual mobility with innovations that place the focus on people.
We presented a sneak peak a few weeks before its launch and saw how modern luxury attains the next level in the interior of the S-Class. The designers have created a feel-good ambience with lounge character marked by elegance, high quality and lightness. Powered by a six-cylinder in-line petrol engines in various output classes the new S-Class promises power, performance and confort. A V8 engine with an integrated starter-generator (ISG) and 48-volt onboard electrical system will be available soon after.
The dashboard with its new architecture, modern surface design and ergonomic display arrangement is a particular highlight. But the feel-good aspect goes even deeper: with high ride quality and low noise levels as well as an extensive range of ENERGIZING Comfort programmes, the S-Class looks after the well-being of its passengers.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is intelligent in many areas taking the driving experience to the next level. Digital innovations such as in MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) are joined by innovations that increase driving enjoyment while making driving even safer: among them are rear-axle steering with a large steering angle and safety innovations such as the rear airbag. As a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, the active E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension can raise the vehicle body (on both sides) just before an impending side impact.
The innovative suspension systems ensure an impressive travel experience in the new S-Class. Rear-axle steering (optional) with a steering angle of up to 10° improves manoeuvrability in urban areas to the level of a compact car. Even for the S-Class with a long wheelbase and all-wheel drive, the turning circle is reduced by 1.9 metres to less than 10.9 metres.
Intelligent bodyshell design and innovations in restraint systems confirm the leading role of the S-Class when it comes to passive safety. The new aluminium hybrid bodyshell with an aluminium content exceeding 50 percent meets numerous requirements: A high level of crash safety, lower weight and a highly rigid bodyshell ensure outstanding handling characteristics accompanied by excellent noise and vibration comfort.
In the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz comes another big step closer to its vision of accident-free driving. The driver is supported by numerous new or extended driving assistance systems. When danger threatens, the assistance systems are able to respond to impending collisions as the situation demands. The operating principle of the systems is made visible by a new display concept in the driver display.
With a Cd figure from 0.22, the S-Class is one of the world’s most aerodynamic cars, and especially so in the luxury sedan segment. Although the frontal area (A) of the new S-Class has increased slightly to 2.5 sq. m., the drag coefficient has been reduced even further compared to the preceding model. The product of Cd and A is 0.56 sq. m., which is 200 sq. cm less than for the previous model after its last facelift. Aerodynamic measures affecting the body, underbody and detachable parts allow a good showing in the wind tunnel and in real operation. Extensive airflow simulations were already carried out using high-performance computer clusters during an early development phase.
MBUX: a new dimension in personalisation and interaction
No other innovation in recent years has so radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The second generation of this learn-capable system now debuts in the new S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: brilliant displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology, make the control of vehicle and comfort functions even easier. The possibilities for personalisation and intuitive operation have become far more extensive. This certainly applies in the rear, but also to the driver: For example, the new 3D driver display allows a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. A real three-dimensional effect is achieved without having to wear 3D glasses.
The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” is even more learn- and dialogue-capable by activation of online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword “Hey Mercedes”. These include accepting a telephone call. “Hey Mercedes” now also explains vehicle functions and answers general knowledge questions. In the S-Class the voice assistant can also be controlled from the rear.
Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognises and anticipates the wishes and intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions. As well as enhancing operating convenience, MBUX Interior Assist improves safety. Even before the journey begins, it notifies the driver if the camera has detected a child seat on the front passenger seat but seat belt is not fastened, for example.
With the MBUX Smart Home function, the S-Class now also becomes a control centre for the home, because the homes of many people are increasingly intelligent: mobile intelligence ensures maximum operating convenience from afar. WLAN and sensors make the home capable of communication: temperature and lighting, roller blinds and electrical appliances can be remotely monitored and controlled. Motion detectors and window contacts inform the user of welcome or unwelcome visitors.
Dimensional concept and interior design: generous ambience with a lounge-like nature
The S-Class has always been a place for comfortable travel and relaxed working. With the new generation, the interior has fully evolved into a “third place”, a refuge between the home and workplace. Nearly all comfort-related dimensions of both variants, the S-Class with short and long wheelbase, have been improved in the front as well as on the rear seats. The sense of space is accordingly generous.
The desired harmony between digital and analogue luxury results in a revolutionary interior design, including associations with interior architecture and yacht design elements. The sculptured look of the dashboard, centre console and armrests appears to float above an expansive interior landscape. The systematic reduction in the number of controls underscores the minimalist appearance of the interior. A fine divide between the upper section of the dashboard and the large trim element structures the area and creates horizontal breadth.
Alongside up to five screens, the highlights include the large areas of trim in the dashboard and in the rear (in the Comfort Seat variant). These flow around the passengers and are a systematic further development of the wrap-around effect. One particularly attractive version of the trim is an open-pored wood veneer shot through with inlays of real aluminium that follow the contours. New design elements include the flat, four-square centre vents with horizontal nacelles. Two slim, vertical side vents on each side round off the ends of the dashboard.
The driver display and media display offer a comprehensive aesthetic experience. The appearance of the screens can be individualised with a choice of four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).
The seats literally invite the occupants to sit down and relax. The flowing, three-dimensional layer design theme gives an impression of lightness. Different finishes give the seats different characters. For example, the flowing longitudinal piping of Lugano leather lends them a noble, avantgarde look, while the progressive diamond pattern of nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather is more classical and expressive.
Up to 19 motors in the front seats make for comfortable seating – a number that indicates the complexity of the technology installed in the seats. Yet comfort is not enough: the seats also play a major part where safety is concerned. And of course, when it comes to luxurious wellbeing, all the seats available for the S-Class carry the seal of approval by the Healthy Seating campaign.
Ten different massage programmes are available in the new S-Class. These use the vibration motors and can enhance the effect of a relaxing massage with warmth on the hot-stone principle. To this end, the seat heating is combined with the inflatable air chambers in the active multicontour seats. The air chambers are now closer to the seat surface and are therefore even easier to control and feel.
Five different rear seat variants make it possible to configure the rear of the S-Class as a working or rest area. One new feature is the heated additional cushion for the head restraint, which is available for the two electrically adjustable rear seats. The adjustment range and angle of the front passenger seat in the chauffeur configuration and the reclining seat behind it have been improved as well.
Automated driving and driving assistance systems: even more support for the driver
Thanks to improved environmental sensors, the parking systems give the driver even better support when manoeuvring at low speed. Operation is faster and more intuitive thanks to integration into MBUX. The optional rear-axle steering is integrated into the parking assistants, with the calculation of trajectories adapted accordingly. Emergency braking functions serve to protect other road users, too.
Suspension systems: more manoeuvrable and dynamic with rear axle steering
The optional, fully active E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension on a 48 V basis offers a unique synthesis of comfort and agility, plus additional protection in the event of a lateral collision. The AIRMATIC air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+ is standard equipment. Close networking between all the suspension and control systems ensures maximum stability and safety. Mercedes-Benz has now added a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side to its measures in the pre-accident phase: When a side impact threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by up to 80 millimetres by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension within a few tenths of a second. This reduces the loads on the door structures, as the door sill can absorb more of the energy thanks to its higher position. As a result, deformation of the passenger cell and the loads acting on the occupants can be reduced. Radar sensors are used to recognise a potential side crash.
Exterior design: perfect proportions for a classical appearance
With a short front overhang, a long wheelbase and a balanced rear overhang, the S-Class is designed as a classical sedan with perfect proportions. The wide track and flush-mounted wheels with modern designs give the vehicle a muscular look. The so-called character lines have been greatly reduced along the sides. Cleverly contoured surfaces with a sculptured look create special light effects. The front section impresses with its high-status radiator grille.
The headlamps characterise the front aspect of the car. They have the three-point daytime driving light signature that is typical of the S-Class, but this is flatter and somewhat smaller overall. The flush-mounted door handles are a completely new development. They are electrically extended when the driver approaches, or the outer surface of the door handle is stroked. Keyless access is provided by KEYLESS-GO.
Thanks to LED technology, the new S-Class has also taken a leap forward in its interior lighting: Mercedes-Benz has now realised interactive interior lighting for the first time. The active ambient lighting (optional) is now integrated into the driving assistance systems, and is able to reinforce alerts visually. This also makes corresponding feedback possible for the comfort systems. This applies to the climate control system or the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant.
The S-Class has also achieved further improvements in aeroacoustics. The previous generation already excelled with a very high level of interior noise comfort. The new model is even quieter. The high rigidity of the bodyshell provides the basis for outstanding noise and vibration comfort, and this is enhanced with fine-tuning. For example, the apertures for the cable grommets in the firewall have double seals. To achieve an engine sound that is perceived as refined and unobtrusive in the interior, the firewall insulation has been extended into the side areas of the A-pillars and the floor area. Mercedes-Benz is also using acoustic foam in certain bodyshell sections for the first time.
The model range at the launch of the S-Class.
|S 450 4MATIC||S 500 4MATIC|
|Engine (series, no. of cylinders, arrangement)||M 256, 6 in-line|
|Add. output with EQ Boost||kW/hp||16/22||16/22|
|Add. torque with EQ Boost||Nm||250||250|
|Combined fuel consumption NEDC||l/100 km||8.4-7.8 (8.3-7.8)||8.4-7.8 (8.4-7.8)|
|Combined CO2 emissions1 NEDC||g/km||191-178 (191-178)||192-179 (192-178)|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||s||5.1||4.9|
In 2019, in the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, Mercedes-Benz presented the ideas the company’s safety specialists are working on. Among the more than 20 innovations were near-series developments such as the rear airbag, which now becomes available as optional equipment in the S-Class. The frontal airbag for the rear seat deploys particularly gently thanks to its innovative construction using a tubular structure. During severe frontal collisions, the rear airbag can considerably reduce the loads acting on the heads and necks of seat belt wearing occupants on the outer rear seats.
During a severe side impact, depending on the direction of impact, impact severity and front seat occupancy, the new centre airbag positions itself between the driver and front passenger seat, reducing the risk of their heads making contact. It is integrated into the driver’s seatback in the middle of the vehicle.
“The S-Class is the world’s best-selling luxury sedan. With the latest generation we want to offer our customers innovation, safety, comfort and quality as never before,” says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “The new S-Class underpins our claim to produce the best automobile in the world”, states Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. “This is where covetable luxury meets the greatest possible safety and highest level of comfort.” The market launch in the Middle East will commence in January 2021.