Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled the S-Class for 2021 and before the day is up, we already have pictures of the sedan rolling off the assembly line in Germany. Unfortunately, these cars are not American bound. We’ll have to wait until 2021 to get our hands on the new S-Class this side of the world, and predictably Europe will get the first taste.
It is produced in a new production facility that Mercedes calls industrial Factory 56. The factory is new to the brand and designed to be much more durable than older car build sites. Another goal of the factory was efficiency. Mercedes claims that this next-generation S-Class will be produced 25 percent more efficiently than the previous generation thanks to a new mounting system. On just one floor, Mercedes produces the traditional gas-powered S-Class, an announced PHEV variant and the fully electric EQS. In short, the assembly line is much more flexible than before, with new autonomous transport systems and a new modular marriage process for body and drivetrain.
The sustainability aspect stems from the lower energy consumption of the factory itself – Mercedes says it is a CO2 neutral factory. It draws energy from a huge array of solar panels and can store this energy when not needed in recycled vehicle batteries. Much of the roof is covered with vegetation, and in some areas natural sunlight is used for lighting. This sustainable mantra is carried over to the S-Class vehicles that the factory builds.
Mercedes says it has doubled the number of parts in the car made from recycled material to 120. A total of 198 pounds of recycled material can be found in the new S-Class. The interior uses a new ‘natural fiber micro sandwich’. Sounds good right? This material is used in card pockets on the door panels, back upholstery and the parcel shelf. Mercedes says it weighs 40 percent less than previous materials and that its greater strength results in improved crash performance.
Recycled nylon is used for the floor coverings. Mercedes collects old fishing nets and dust scraps from mills and carpets destined for landfill and then transforms them into a new thread. Mercedes’ marketing name for this recycled material is ECONYL. Environmentally friendly nylon sounds fairly representative to us.
In addition, the cable ducts that run electrical lines through the vehicle are now made from recycled plastic. There are plenty of threads, so this accounts for six of the 198 pounds of recycled material. Obviously, this interior isn’t filled with sustainable materials like the Polestar 2 is, but it’s nice to see Mercedes making an effort to be more environmentally friendly when it comes to materials decision-making.
We are still waiting for official EPA fuel economy figures, but its low drag coefficient of 0.22 makes it one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world. That’s even better than the Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Prius, and the S-Class is huge compared to those vehicles. Of course, this also helps the cabin’s acoustics and the serenity of the interior, one of Mercedes’ goals for every S-Class. Read our full reveal story for a more in-depth look at what’s new in the 2021 S-Class.