The flagship of the Mercedes-Benz brand since 1972 – the S-Class – is not only the world’s best-selling luxury sedan, but the release of every new generation of the S-Class is a highly anticipated affair, as much by the brand’s loyal customers as by the industry experts.
“With the latest generation,” scheduled to arrive in the Middle East market in January 2021, “we want to offer our customers innovation, safety, comfort and quality as never before,” says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz.
The list of technological innovations debuting in the new S-Class is seemingly endless, as has been the case with every new generation of the model since its inception. However, there is one that stands out above the rest – the MBUX or Mercedes-Benz User Experience. No other innovation in recent years has so radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX. The second generation of this learn-capable system debuts in the new S-Class.
As a result, the vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent. Brilliant displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology, make the control of vehicle and comfort functions easier. The possibilities for personalisation and intuitive operation have become far more extensive.
One of the highlights is the new 3D driver display, which presents a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. The 3D effect is achieved without having to wear 3D glasses. Instead, two different head-up displays (HUDs) are offered. The larger HUD provides augmented reality content – such as animated turn-off arrows, or Active Distance Assist information – are virtually and precisely projected onto the view ahead, which appears to be at the appropriate depth. The display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal.
The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” has become even more learn- and dialogue-capable. It can now activate online services via the Mercedes-me App, explain vehicle functions and answers general knowledge questions. In the new S-Class, it 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. It can also notify the driver if, for example, a child seat on the front passenger seat is not fastened by the seat belt before the journey begins.
Using WLAN and sensors, the MBUX Smart Home enables the new S-Class to remotely monitored and control home automation functions such as the temperature, lighting, electrical appliances, motion detectors, window contact sensors and many more.
The interior of the new S-Class is designed to be “a refuge between the home and workplace” by way of the Energizing Comfort programmes. At the touch of a button or by voice command, it combines different comfort systems into a holistic experience which includes a suitable atmosphere in the interior.
This employs innovations such as a massage based on vibrating motors in the seat cushion and resonance transmission by the Burmester high-end 4D surround sound system. This makes bass tones feelable. Direct reproduction of the sound resonance in the seats adds another level to the three-dimensional listening experience – 4D sound inspired by the acoustic massage. The perceived intensity of the sound can be individually adjusted for each seat. The music becomes even more emotional thanks to this feelable component. Two exciters are integrated into the backrest of each seat for this purpose. The Energising Coach even suggests an appropriate vitalisation or wellness programme based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm.
The holistic approach also inspired the sculptured look of the dashboard, centre console and armrests, which appears to float above an expansive interior landscape. The systematic reduction in the number of controls underscores the minimalist appearance of the interior. A subtle divide between the upper section of the dashboard and the large trim element structures the area and creates horizontal breadth.
On the performance front, the new S-Class comes with an optional E-Active Body Control suspension that not only offers a synthesis of comfort and agility but also provides additional protection in the event of a lateral collision. The Airmatic air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+ is standard equipment. The optional rear-axle steering, with a steering angle of up to 10°, reduces the turning circle is by 1.9 metres, to less than 10.9 metres. That’s comparable to a compact car.
The new S-Class will be launched with the six-cylinder in-line petrol engines in various output classes. A V8 engine with an integrated starter-generator (ISG) and 48-volt onboard electrical system will be available soon after.