2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class revealed | What’s new, tech, engines

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It’s finally time for the S-Class again, everyone. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has just premiered to the world with as much pomp as can be had during a global pandemic. Like every S-Class that has preceded this new model, the new one will serve as the brand’s flagship and house a number of new technologies / innovations never seen before in Mercedes. Over the years, some of these are likely to transition to lesser Mercedes models, but the 2021 S-Class is second to none for now. So let’s take a look at what’s new.

Mercedes does not turn the script around with the new S-Class when it comes to exterior design. It still looks like a big, traditional sedan, and it doesn’t stray too far from what the previous S-Class looks like. That said, it’s clearly a new design when you look at the two side by side. The new S-Class has a new grille shape, different headlamps, revised air intakes and a number of other minor changes that all contribute to making it look new at the front. The most notable design change on the sides is new recessed door handles that appear when an owner walks up to the car. It is Mercedes’ first application of electric door handles in this style, so we are curious how they will work in practice compared to many other electric door handles already used in other vehicles.

The design of the back has changed even more than the front. Mercedes changed the orientation of the taillights from vertical to horizontal, which allowed the new LEDs to bleed around the edge of the rear bumper. The silver strip of chrome has been moved up to line the edge of the rear lights and now extends from one side of the car to the other. In addition, the rear marker lights have been moved further into the bumper, giving the subtle, wide exhaust tips more room to breathe. It is a very nice car. Mercedes played it safe with such a traditional design, but it fits the S-Class persona perfectly, and it has the potential to be timeless.

Only the sedan will be unveiled today, and we’re just learning about two different engine options. The standard S-Class from 2021 is the S500 4Matic and the upgrade is the S580 4Matic. With the S500 you get the impressive 3.0-liter six-cylinder in-line engine from Mercedes. It delivers 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque in this guise, aided by Mercedes’ EQ Boost system. Like any other Mercedes with this powertrain, the S-Class runs on a 48-volt electrical architecture that powers a number of key functions. The upgrade S580 also benefits from the 48-volt architecture, but is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. Output is up to 496 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque for this model. Both use Mercedes’s nine-speed automatic transmission for shifting. Unfortunately, 0-60mph times are not yet available. Both models are more powerful than their predecessors, but not terribly big. We expect the V12 to return in a future Maybach model, and an AMG variant can’t be far behind either.

The press release claims that “floating alone is better” when it comes to the ride of the new S-Class. An air suspension comes as standard, but the optional E-Active Body Control suspension is the real catch. It works like the system on the GLE and GLS crossovers and individually controls the damping and spring forces on each wheel. The body doesn’t squat or stomp with this suspension – Mercedes says the level of adjustability allows the car to be comfortable on poor road surfaces, yet stiff enough to drive like a sports car if you want to. We’ve already written about the four-wheel steering system that Mercedes has already implemented on the new S-Class, but this also makes it more agile on a winding road and reduces the turning circle to a compact car.

Now to the most important part of an S-Class: the interior. Mercedes has completely redesigned it to look like a lounge, plus a luxurious lounge. The number of physical buttons has decreased drastically. A new massive 12.8-inch screen dominates the entire central area – running a new and improved version of MBUX that’s more powerful than ever before. A row of buttons is at the bottom of the screen, but Mercedes has decided it’s time to put the HVAC controls on the touchscreen. Subtle yet stylish horizontal air vents are visible in the center, while long, vertical air vents can be seen on the outer edges of the dashboard.

Mercedes is quite proud of its new climate control system in the new S-Class. It will heat up much faster than before on winter days thanks to a booster heater powered by the car’s 48-volt system. It heats up the interior quickly, and most importantly, you can feel the warm air when you start the car. There is also a new fragrance system in this S-Class, with “Bamboo Mood” and “Cotton Mood” fragrances. The previous smells were questionable, so we’re curious if Mercedes has improved on this weird feature.

Returning to the screens, the digital instrument cluster is another revolutionary piece of technology for Mercedes. It has a 3D effect that makes the screen jump to the driver without the need for 3D glasses. The effect can be turned off, but this is a first in any new car. For even more fun, the head-up display can now project augmented reality content onto the road ahead. For example, the direction “turn left” is displayed as an arrow 10 meters ahead of you on the road where you should turn. Sounds a bit exaggerated? Sure, but it also sounds pretty freakin ‘cool.

The rear seat can have up to three screens when fully decked out. Each rear passenger (in four-seater configuration) gets an 11.6-inch touchscreen plastered to the rear of the front headrests that allows them to operate a number of vehicle controls. Plus, a 7-inch tablet in the center can do the same. “Hey Mercedes” functionality has even been added for rear seat passengers in the 2021 car. Mercedes says its (sometimes overbearing) voice assistant has improved for this model. You can use it for some tasks without the wake-up phrase, give sequential instructions without breaking, and even have a more normal conversation with it. Mercedes says it will give you answers to more general questions and even make animal sounds. Decently.

More luxury than before is of course also on the table. More seat motors and fans (for ventilation) are used than ever before, and Mercedes’ Energizing seat kinetics program is also available in an S-Class for the first time. A range of massage programs can be selected and the back seat is a lovely place to spend time again. New this year is a heated cushion on the headrest in the outer rear seat that keeps the head and neck of the occupant warm. There’s a tiny bit more legroom than on the previous S-Class, and you can recline a hair more, too. Rear seat passengers are even better protected with the new front airbag in the rear seat that we described earlier.

For those audiophiles, Mercedes has got you covered with a new (and optional) Burmester “4-D” surround sound system. It uses 30 speakers and eight resonators to produce the sound experience. What are the resonators for, you ask. Mercedes places two in the back of each seat and they reproduce the ‘sound resonance’ for even more ‘tangible’ listening. The intensity of the resonators can be individually adjusted for each seat, in case your passengers don’t feel like experiencing sound in the fourth dimension. Loudspeakers at the driver’s ear can further enhance the audio experience, so that only the driver can hear infotainment sounds or navigation cues. Mercedes says it has managed to make the cabin even quieter and better insulated than before, so you can float in silence or be completely immersed in music

The last bit we’ll discuss for the new S-Class is the driver assistance systems. Driving yourself is getting closer, but we are not there yet. Mercedes uses the same touch-sensitive steering wheel that we saw on the E-Class in the new S-Class. There’s also a new animated view that lets you see a real-time 3D view of what’s going on around you. This is here so drivers can get a sense of what the car is seeing with its numerous radar sensors and cameras.

Mercedes says lane centering works much better than before, even on twisty country roads. It is also able to track when there is no center line and instead just follow the edge of the road. This active steering assistant works at speeds up to 210 km / h. The adaptive cruise control is now able to perform an emergency braking maneuver at speeds up to 80 mph (from 35 mph), and it also features predictive speed control before the speed limit changes. Ambient lighting has found its way into the driver assistance system. You can see in all the photos how crucial the lighting is to interior design, but it lights up in warning colors if you stray too close to a line. Mercedes has also greatly improved the ambient lighting in the new S-Class, greatly increasing the number and quality of LEDs.

And we leave you behind for now. Mercedes says the new S-Class will be available in the US in the first half of 2021. Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but it should be around $ 100,000 for the base sedan.

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