Next-gen 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class bows with lavish appointments, high-tech features

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

A new, tech-filled S-Class is on its way.

The just-debuted 2021 S-Class is the epitome of high-tech luxury in the Mercedes-Benz lineup – at least until the Maybach version arrives. The fresh, seventh-generation S-Class was designed to enhance a driver and passengers senses – seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling – and it does just that, going beyond what a traditional car offers.

“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.

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The car’s wheelbase has been extended by two inches.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The design of the car features a short front overhand, long wheelbase, and balanced rear overhang. It has classic sedan proportions with a wide track and sculpted surfaces. Three-point daytime driving lights are flatter than before and sit on either side of the high-status grille.

Mercedes has made the door handles seamless. They extend when the driver approaches or when the outer surface of the handle is touched. Keyless access is provided.

The new version of the car is longer and wider than the previous version. The wheelbase is also longer but when inside mirrors are considered, the model is narrower than the last-gen. There’s a slightly wider track and its height remains the same. Nine out of 10 customers worldwide purchase the long wheelbase version of the S-Class sedan.

Mercedes has increased the model’s passenger space. Driver elbow room is up 1.5 inches and rear passengers have up to one inch more elbow room. Rear seat headroom is up 0.6 inches while other interior dimensions remain mostly the same.

The trunk capacity has increased to 19 cubic feet of space.

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At speed these handles seamlessly integrate into the body of the car.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has sourced 216 pounds of components in the model from resource-conserving materials. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Around 88 pounds more of the components are made from renewable raw materials.

The new S500 is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that delivers 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Paired with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, the S-Class’s powertrain is completed adding 21 horsepower and reaching an additional 184 pound-feet of torque.

The S580 gets its power from a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 that makes 426 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It too has mild-hybrid technology that adds 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

The car has an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph, no matter which engine is chosen.

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There are two engine options in the new S-Class.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes will offer the S-Class with available rear-axle steering to make it more maneuverable in city driving conditions. Mercedes has significantly reduced the turning circle of the car – even long wheelbase models with all-wheel drive have their circle reduced by six feet to under 36 feet.

The car rides on wheels available in sizes from 19 to 21 inches.

The sculptured look of the dashboard, center console and armrests was designed to appear to float above an “expansive interior landscape”. One interior option features open-pore wood veneer that is set within real aluminum inlays. Vents are rectangular and slim.

The front passenger seat of the S-Class has up to 19 motors (8 for adjustments, 4 for massage and 5 for ventilation, one for the lumbar support and one to move the monitor when in reverse). There are 10 different massage programs available, each taking between eight and 18 minutes, with two stages of intensity.

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The car is nearly the same proportions as before, a little longer and wider, but inside passengers gain more space.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Models with the Executive Line are able to reconfigured in a variety of seat variations and can include a heatable head restraint cushion.

The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) debuts in the S-Class. It features up to five screens worth of interactivity including some with OLED technology and can process at speeds 50 percent faster than the first-gen system. At the touch of a button, the new 3D driver display allows the driver to enjoy spatial perception of the surroundings with a real 3D effect thanks to eye tracking software.

There’s a head-up display with augmented reality content that equals the display size of a 77-inch diagonal monitor. The fully-digital driver information display is 12.3 inches and the infotainment screen measures 12.8 inches diagonally.

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Quilted leather seats add to the luxeness of the model.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The driver information display can be configured in four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).

The “Hey Mercedes” command now supports 27 languages with Natural Language Understanding.

Opt for the Burmeister high-end 4D surround sound system and Mercedes will install 30 loudspeakers and eight resonators, two fo which are integrated into the backrest of each seat. A nine-speaker sound system is standard and a mid-grade 15-speaker system is available.

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The tablet-like infotainment screen is new for the automaker.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car features 17-step motors that control the temperature and air distribution in the climate control system. The quad-zone climate control has 20-step motors. These electric motors operate the air flaps . Seven personal climate profiles can be stored, plus a guest profile.

More than 50 electronic components of the S-Class can be updated via over-the-air updates.

Mercedes has installed 250 LEDs around the vehicle as ambient lighting that are linked to the driver assistance system and able to visually reinforce warnings.

The German automaker is selling the car with two Energizing options packages that are designed to provide a future customizable experience for the senses. The programs are available for from and rear seats and provide seven suites of treatments to choose from that initiate massage, climate, scent, sound, entertainment and lighting functionalities within the cabin.

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Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car’s Driving Assistance Package allows for predictive compliance of speed limits, taking the choice to speed out of the driver’s hands.

A rear airbag is available and adds an additional level of protection in the event of a severe collision where it works to protect the head and neck area of seatbelt-wearing occupants in the outboard rear seats. Additionally, the car has E-Active Body Control, which can raise the body fo the car to reduce the impact of a collision when the car’s safety systems detect that a collision is imminent. It processes information at the rate of 1,000 times per second.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class goes on sale soon. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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