The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class

September 2nd, 2020 by

Automotive luxury experienced in a completely new way

 

 

Contents

The main points at a glance
Added value for customers: the ten most important innovations

Key facts at a glance
Interesting facts & figures

Short version: the overall vehicle concept
Automotive luxury experienced in a completely new way

Mercedes-Benz management on the new S-Class
“The S-Class is an innovation driver and guarantee of success”

The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system
A new dimension in personalization and interaction

Under the microscope: the MBUX Smart Home function
“Hey Mercedes, is everything ok back home?”

Under the microscope: MBUX Interior Assist
Always at your service

Under the microscope: the voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”
Listens even more carefully, and understands all the passengers

Driving assistance systems
The next steps on the way to accident-free driving

Under the microscope: active ambient lighting
Animated ambient lighting with intelligent comfort and safety functions

The parking assistants
Easy entry into confined spaces and narrow entrances

Suspension
Light and comfortable travel

Under the microscope: rear-axle steering
More manoeuvrable and dynamic thanks to steerable rear wheels

Under the microscope: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
Only floating is better

Exterior design
Modern luxury in its most desirable form

Aerodynamics
Much ado for a low drag coefficient

Under the microscope: the door handle
You see that you see nothing

Interior design
Digital-analogue revolution in the interior

Under the microscope: resource-conserving materials
Light, recycled or renewable

The front seats
High-tech for maximum comfort

The rear seats
More concentration when working, greater relaxation

Under the microscope: the sound systems
Multi-dimensional musical enjoyment

Climate control
Whether warm or cold: just feeling good

The ENERGIZING COMFORT programs
Comfortable travel while staying fit

The lighting
Bright, variable and innovative

Vehicle body and accident protection:
Stable, light and safe

Under the microscope: the rear airbag
Frontal airbags for both rear occupants for the first time

Under the microscope: protective measures in a side crash
Additional side impact protection

Under the microscope: GUARD 360
Intelligent interlinking of hardware and digital solutions for protection against crime

Powertrain
More electrification, more efficiency

History
Setting the standard in the luxury class for many decades

Glossary
The major innovations in detail

Some information in this press kit apply to the international model range of Mercedes-Benz. The descriptions and model offerings may vary from country to country. The product features and equipment described may be optional equipment. The description of the features gives no indication of availability time. More information about the vehicles on offer, including the WLTP figures, can be found for each country at www.mercedes-benz.com.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The main points at a glance

Added value for customers: the ten most important innovations

The S-Class stands for the fascination of Mercedes-Benz: legendary and traditional engineering expertise defines the luxury segment in the automobile industry. The new S-Class can be experienced with all the senses – seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling – while offering numerous innovations in the areas of driver assistance, protection and interaction. Mercedes-Benz is shaping the next generation of individual mobility for our times with innovations that place the focus on people. The new S-Class uses digitization for a car that responds empathetically to the needs and wishes of its driver and passengers. Here is an overview as a mindmap:

The most important new features:

The second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) debuts in the new S-Class. Another milestone as the interface between the driver, passengers and vehicle: there are up to five screens on board, some with OLED technology. At the touch of a button, the new 3D driver display for the first time allows spatial perception of the scene with a real 3D effect thanks to eye-tracking. A similarly impressive feature is the very large head-up display with augmented reality content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows “fishbones” virtually appear via the head-up display and are precisely projected onto the road lane.

Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognizes 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. For example, if the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind.

The active ambience lighting with around 250 LEDs is now integrated into the driving assistance systems, and is able to reinforce their warnings visually. In addition, feedback is possible when operating the climate control system or the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant, for instance.

The latest generation of the Driving Assistance Package has new and numerous improved functions. One example is predictive compliance with speed limits. The new assistance display in the driver display clearly shows the operating principle of the driving assistance systems as a full-screen view.

During severe frontal collisions, the rear airbag–standard equipment for the S-Class with long wheelbase– can considerably reduce the loads acting on the head and neck area of the seat-belt-wearing occupants in the outer rear seats. The frontal airbag for the rear seat deploys particularly gently thanks to its innovative construction using a tubular structure.

Thanks to optional rear-axle steering, the S-Class is as manoeuvrable as a compact car in the city. The steering angle at the rear axle is up to ten degrees. 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.

When a side impact with another vehicle threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional) within a few tenths of a second. This is a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side: It can reduce the loads acting on the occupants because it directs the impact forces towards particularly resistant structures in the lower area of the vehicle.

The revolutionary headlamp technology DIGITAL LIGHT (optional extra) allows completely new possibilities. In each headlamp, DIGITAL LIGHT has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs with light that is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is therefore more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Key facts at a glance

Interesting facts & figures

Sometimes numbers say more than a thousand words.

The turning circle is reduced by up to 1.9 metres with rear-axle steering compared to a model without it.

The maximum steering angle is 10°.

27 languages are supported by “Hey Mercedes” with Natural Language Understanding (NLU).

30 loudspeakers and eight exciters are included in the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system.

Comfort on the front passenger seat is assisted by 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 on the reverse).

10 different massage programs are available in the new S-Class.

The plug-in hybrid variant of the S-Class will have an estimated electric range of up to 100 kilometres.

The display area of the augmented reality head-up display corresponds to a monitor with a diagonal of 77 inches.

The trunk capacity has increased by 20 litres to up to 550 litres compared to the previous model.

With a Cd figure from 0.22,1 the S-Class is one of the world’s most aerodynamic cars. Its drag coefficient is therefore lower than before, despite a larger frontal area 200 sq. cm.

Compared to the preceding model, elbow-room for the driver has increased by 38 millimetres and by up to 23 millimetres for rear passengers. Headroom in the rear has increased by up to 16 millimetres.

The resolution of DIGITAL LIGHT per vehicle is over 2.6 million pixels.

The computing power of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) has increased by 50 percent compared to the system in the previous model. The memory bandwidth is 41,790 MB/s.

When a side impact threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by up to 8 centimetres by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional for MY22) within a few tenths of a second. This is a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side:

17 step motors control the temperature and air distribution in the Thermotronic system. The 4-zone climate control Thermotronic Rear even has 20 step motors. These electric motors operate the air flaps.

In the Active Ambience Lighting system, there is an LED in an optical fibre every 1.6 centimetres. There are around 250 in all.

The new OLED central display measures 239.06 mm x 218.8 mm, and has an active screen diagonal of 12.8 inches. The screen area is 64 percent larger than in the preceding model. The driver display measures 291.6 mm x 109.4 mm and has a diagonal of 12.3 inches.

The tubular structure of the innovative rear airbag is around 16 litres, while the total volume of the deployed bag is up to 70 litres.

The control units of E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL analyse the driving situation and adjust the suspension 1000 times per second.

The designation “S-Class” was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972.

More than 98 kg of components made from resource-conserving materials are used in the S-Class. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Another 40 kg or so are made from renewable raw materials.

223 is the internal designation of the new model series.

The new tool used to micro-perforate the seats operates with 16,000 needles.

The loyalty rate for the S-Class is especially high. Some 80 percent of S-Class customers in Western Europe go on to choose another vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. In the US, more than 70 percent do so.

More than one third of all sedans of the last generation of the S-Class (model series 222; début 2013) went to China. S-Class customers in China are the youngest with an average age of 40 years. Around the world the S-Class Sedan is predominantly sold in the long wheelbase version: around 9 out of 10 customers opt for the long version of the S-Class Sedan. All in all, since the launch of the generation that is now in its runout phase, more than
500,000 S-Class Sedans have been sold.

1 Best performance in SPORT+ driving mode

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Short version: the overall vehicle concept
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Automotive luxury experienced in a completely new way

“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 new S-Class can be ordered in Germany from mid-September 2020, and will be in the dealerships in December 2020. The market launch in the USA/Canada and China will commence in spring of 2021.

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. 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 programs, the S-Class looks after the well-being of its passengers. They also stay fit thanks to the effective air filtering system, which signals its newly gained capability with the new name ENERGIZING Air Control.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class has become more intelligent in many areas, and the driving experience is at 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. Following systematic further development, the driving assistance systems are a step closer to autonomous driving. Thanks to improved environmental sensors, for example, the parking systems give the driver even better support when manoeuvring at low speed. The integration into MBUX means that the level of visualization has now entered a whole new dimension.

For over 100 years: the luxury class as the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz brand

The S-Class is the centrepiece of the brand, and stands for the fascination of Mercedes-Benz: legendary engineering expertise and a heritage of craftsmanship meet progressive digital innovation. The S-Class combines artificial intelligence with the experience gained from 135 years of automobile engineering. Around 70 years ago, Mercedes-Benz laid the foundations for this model series with the model 220. Since its market launch in 1951, more than 4 million S-Class Sedans have been delivered to customers around the world. The designation “S-Class” was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972. In the last 10 years the S-Class Sedan has been particularly popular in China, the USA, South Korea and Germany. All in all, since the launch of the generation that is now in its runout phase, more than 500,000 S-Class Sedans have been sold.

The loyalty rate for this model series is especially high. For example, around 80% of customers in Western Europe who previously drove an S-Class once again opted for a Mercedes-Benz model. In the US, more than 70 percent do so. Around the world the S-Class Sedan is predominantly sold in the long wheelbase version: Around 9 out of 10 customers opt for the long version of the S-Class Sedan.

MBUX: a new dimension in personalization 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 personalization 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.

Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request. The larger HUD provides augmented reality (AR) content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows (“fishbones”) are virtually and precisely projected onto the road lane. For the assistance functions, information from e.g. Active Distance Assist is shown. The image appears virtually at a distance of 10 metres. The display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal.

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 recognizes 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.

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.

Here are the most important dimensions:

S-Class with … … short wheelbase

Preceding model

Diff.

… long wheelbase

Preceding model

Diff.

Exterior dimensions (mm)
Length 5179 5125 +54 5289 5255 +34
Width 1.954/1.9211 1899 +55/+221 1954/19211 1899 +55/+221
Width incl. exterior mirrors 2109 2130 -21 2109 2130 -21
Height 1503 1493 +10 1503 1491 +12
Wheelbase 3106 3035 +71 3216 3165 +51
Track, front 1660 1624 +36 1660 1624 +36
Track, rear 1688 1637 +51 1688 1637 +51
Interior dimensions (mm)
Max. headroom, front 1070 1069 +1 1070 1069 +1
Headroom, rear2 974/1.003 958/995 +16/+8 974/1.003 958/995 +16/+8
Legroom, front 1051 1051 0 1051 1051 0
Legroom, rear 1004 963 +41 1115 1091 +24
Elbow room, front 1592 1554 +38 1592 1554 +38
Elbow room, rear 1583 1560 +23 1572 1561 +11
Shoulder room, front 1516 1516 0 1516 1516 0
Shoulder room, rear 1469 1499 -30 1469 1501 -32
Trunk capacity3 VDA (l) 550 530 +20 550 530 +20

1With grip door handles/with flush door handles
2With/without panoramic glass roof
3The trunk capacity is reduced by optional equipment (e.g. refrigerator box, reclining seat) and in the plug-in hybrid.

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 four 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 aluminum 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)

Seats: Plenty of high-tech for outstanding long-distance comfort

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, avant-garde 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 campaign1.

Ten different massage programs 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 heatable 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.

1https://www.agr-ev.de/en/about-us/agr

The ENERGIZING Comfort programs: Comfortable travel while staying fit

At the touch of a button or by voice command, the holistic “Fit & Healthy” approach of ENERGIZING Comfort provides a tangible experience of the different comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programs that bundle them into worlds of experience. At the same time, the system creates a suitable atmosphere in the interior – for example, invigorating in case of monotonous stretches of road or relaxing in case of an elevated stress level. The ENERGIZING COACH even suggests an appropriate vitalization or wellness program based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a suitable wearable.

Mercedes-Benz has fundamentally improved ENERGIZING comfort control in the new S-Class. 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 are integrated. 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.

Automated driving and driving assistance systems: even more support for the driver

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. He/she thereby has a reduced workload in day-to-day situations, and is able to drive comfortably and safely. 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.

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.

If specified with preinstallation for the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT, the S-Class is prepared for Automated Valet Parking (AVP, SAE Level 4). In conjunction with the necessary optional equipment and the corresponding Connect service (depending on country), the new S-Class has the onboard technology to enter and leave multi-storey car parks equipped with an AVP infrastructure in highly automated mode and without a driver, provided that national legislation permits such operation.

Suspension systems: more manoeuvrable and dynamic with rear axle steering

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.

Optional for the MY22 S-Class, 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 characterize 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 standard 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.

The dynamic appearance of the car is continued at the rear. Thanks to precisely designed, highly detailed interior features and certain animated functions, the rear lights contribute to the impression of high quality. They make the new S-Class unmistakable in both their day and night design.

The lights: with innovative digital technology both inside and out

The optional DIGITAL LIGHT system enters series production for the first time at Mercedes-Benz.

In each headlamp, DIGITAL LIGHT has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs with light that is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is therefore more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle. This allows highly precise light distribution. It makes Highbeam Assist over 100 times more precise then 84-pixel light when excluding oncoming traffic or road signs from the light beam. Light/shadow graduations and the light distribution of all the other adaptive light functions are also realised with considerably more precision, optimising illumination by e.g. fog light, motorway light or city light.

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.

Aerodynamics: extensive airflow simulations in the early development phase

With a Cd figure from 0.22,1 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.

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.

1 Best performance in SPORT+ driving mode

Powertrain: more electrification, more efficiency

Six-cylinder in-line and V8 gasoline engines in various output classes are the first engine variants for the new S-Class in Canada. A plug-in hybrid with an estimated all-electric range of around 100 kilometres will follow.

The model range at the launch of the S-Class in Canada2

S 500 4MATIC Short Wheelbase S 580 4MATIC Long Wheelbase
Transmission automatic 9G-TRONIC 9G-TRONIC
Engine (Series, no. of cylinders, arrangement) M256, 6 in-line M176, V8
Displacement

cc

2,999 3,982
Output

hp

tbd tbd
Add. Output with EQ Boost

hp

tbd tbd
Peak torque

lb-ft

tbd tbd
Acceleration 0-100 km/h

s

4.9 tbd
Top speed

km/h

250 250

Vehicle body and accident protection: new frontal airbags for rear passengers

Intelligent bodyshell design and innovations in restraint systems confirm the leading role of the S-Class when it comes to passive safety. The new aluminum hybrid bodyshell with an aluminum 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 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.

Sustainability: environmentally compatible development

More than 98 kg of components made from resource-conserving materials are used in the S-Class. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Another 40 kg or so are made from renewable raw materials. The process of environmentally compatible development with specific targets is firmly embedded in the overall development process. Environmental aspects are already taken into account in the conceptual phase.

A new, recycled thread is now used for the floor coverings. This thread – brandname Econyl® – consists of regenerated Nylon. It is manufactured by recovering Nylon waste destined for the landfill, for example old fish nets and fabric remnants from mills and carpets. These are collected and transformed into a new thread having the same properties as nylon from new raw materials. The recycling process used to produce the thread saves CO2 in comparison with new production. It also enables Mercedes-Benz to keep materials in circulation.

History: setting the standard for the luxury class for many decades

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class follows a long tradition that extends back to the beginnings of the Mercedes brand in the early 20th Century. Each model has decisively influenced the automotive engineering of its era. Well before the official designation S-Class, the models in the executive and luxury class were the mainstay of the Stuttgart-based company’s portfolio and have always stood for luxury, comfort, safety and lifestyle. The continuous ancestry of the S-Class begins with the model 220 (W 187) of 1951. The designation “S-Class” was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972.

Contacts:

Steffen Schierholz, +49 160 863 8950, steffen.schierholz@daimler.com
Thilo Woitysak, +49 176 309 23170, thilo.woitysak@daimler.com
Koert Groeneveld, +49 160 861 4747, koert.groeneveld@daimler.com

Further information about Mercedes-Benz is available at www.mercedes-benz.com. Press releases and digital services for journalists and multipliers are available on our online platform Mercedes me media at media.mercedes-benz.com and on our Daimler Global Media Site at media.daimler.com. You can also find out about current Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans topics and events on our Twitter channel @MB_Press at www.twitter.com/MB_Press.

Mercedes-Benz AG at a glance
Mercedes-Benz AG is responsible for the global business of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans with over 173,000 employees worldwide. Ola Källenius is Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG. The company focuses on the development, production and sales of passenger cars, vans and services. Furthermore, with its pioneering innovations, the company aspires to be a leader in the fields of connectivity, automated driving and alternative powertrains. The product portfolio comprises the Mercedes-Benz brand with the sub-brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, as well as the smart brand and the EQ product and technology brand for electric mobility. Mercedes-Benz AG is one of the largest manufacturers of premium passenger cars. In 2019, it sold nearly 2.4 million passenger cars and more than 438,000 vans. In its two business segments, Mercedes-Benz AG is continually expanding its worldwide production network with over 40 production sites on four continents, while gearing itself to meet the requirements of electric mobility. At the same time, the company is constructing its global battery production network on three continents. Sustainable practice plays a decisive role in both business segments. To the company, sustainability means creating lasting value for all stakeholders: customers, employees, investors, business partners and society as a whole. The basis for this is Daimler’s sustainable business strategy. In this, the company takes responsibility for the economic, ecological and social effects of its business activities and looks at the entire value chain.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz management on the new S-Class

“The S-Class is an innovation driver and guarantee of success”

“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. The future of Daimler will continue to be fascinating, sustainably climate-neutral and not least sustainably profitable. We concentrate on producing the most desirable cars in the world. This is what we promise, and it is the best way towards more profitable growth.”
Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG

“For our customers, the S-Class has always stood for the ultimate in automotive luxury. This also encompasses innovations that make their life easier and safer, while also saving time. It is precisely in these areas where the new S-Class sets standards: for safety and comfort. We are confident that our customers will be excited by the intelligent beauty, the exceptional standards of safety and the intuitive operation and handling of the new S-Class. For there is one thing that our customers in the new S-Class will experience: the feeling of coming home.”
Britta Seeger, member of the Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG Boards of Management for Sales

“The new S-Class underpins our claim to produce the best automobile in the world.” This is where covetable luxury meets the best possible safety and highest level of comfort. Safety for vehicle occupants and all other road users has always been one of our core values – and this is exactly what the S-Class embodies like no other vehicle in the world. This includes the latest generation of driving assistance systems, which help to avoid accidents and lessen the consequences of an accident. Our new head-up display with augmented reality also helps out. It makes driving even more safe in line with the motto ‘hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road’. And I personally love the impressive graphics in the head-up display.”
Markus Schäfer, member of the Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG Boards of Management for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO

“Our overriding aim is to offer our customers maximum comfort, personalization and convenience. MBUX goes into even more detail in the S-Class, and is even more intelligent and individual than ever before. The advantage for our customers: Thanks to further improved user-friendliness, they save time and receive a high added value. This is about much more than just displays and voice control. It makes MBUX the mainstay or even the mastermind of the vehicle.”
Sajjad Khan, member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, CASE

The S-Class is the centrepiece of our brand, and shows what modern luxury means for Mercedes-Benz: The combination of timeless design and intelligent automotive innovations that make the lives of our customers safer and easier, and also give them more peace and time to concern themselves with the things they consider really important. Our mission is to make the luxury segment in the automobile industry tangible well beyond the individual product features.
Bettina Fetzer, Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz AG

“The essence of luxury is our aesthetic soul „Sensual Purity“. A long this Philosophy we created an S-Class that combined the desire for beauty and the extraordinary. With our new S-Class, we created the most progressive S-Class ever since, the luxury icon of the 20s.”
Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler Group

“The new S-Class does full justice to its innovative tradition. The new generation will once again set the pace in the automotive industry: The S-Class offers trailblazing innovations in all areas, from safety and comfort to efficiency. One common theme is systematic digitalization, both during the development process and in the vehicle itself. Intelligent networking of different systems gives our customers tangible added value.”
Prof. Dr. Uwe Ernstberger, Head of S-Class and C-Class model series product group

“With the new S-Class, we are proudly presenting the world’s first frontal airbag for passengers in the rear. The rear airbag with an innovative, tubular structure is unique. And as a result it deploys extremely gently. Naturally the passengers should continue to fasten their seat belts. Fastening the seat belt becomes even more intuitive thanks to the new, illuminated belt buckles.”
Dr. Thomas W. Hellmuth, Head of Body and Safety

“The rear-axle steering makes the S-Class as manoeuvrable as a compact car. Even for the S-Class with a long wheelbase, the turning circle is reduced to under 11 metres. And thanks to Active Parking Assist with 360° camera, the vehicle can slip into tight parking spaces while recognising whether anybody is moving within that space. And when leaving a parking space, the S-Class keeps an eye out for crossing traffic.”
Jürgen Weissinger, Chief Engineer S-Class

“Our S-Class customers are highly discerning. With the new S-Class, we invite them to a completely new luxury experience. It is underpinned by our design philosophy ‘Sensual Purity’ and by our absolute commitment to quality and attention to detail. The result is a revolutionary experience in the interior as a combination of digital and analogue luxury.”
Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design

“Tradition meets progression – for example, with regard to what many would regard as unexpectedly large wood surfaces. Special highlights include the trim elements in open-pore walnut wood: Their yacht design is characterized by form-following inlays of real aluminum. Exquisite materials and craftsmanship are also hallmarks of the new seat generation.”
Belinda Günther, Head of Colour & Trim

“Luxury today is defined by comprehensive refinement. A luxurious driving experience depends on a host of factors and must appeal to all the senses. Traditionally, this also includes almost silent travel. However, this also includes making life easier for the customer, for example because intuitive operation and comprehensive connectivity save a great deal of time.”
Dirk Fetzer, Head of S-Class product management

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Long version
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system

A new dimension in personalization 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 débuts 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 personalization 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 available on every seat, and 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 can e.g. help when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where the first-aid kit can be found. Thanks to the Smart Home function, domestic equipment and household appliances can also be networked with the vehicle, and voice-controlled remotely (see separate chapter for details). “Hey Mercedes” is now also able to recognise vehicle occupants by their voices. Once the individual characteristics of the voice have been learned, this can be used to access personal data and functions by activating a profile.

Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request. The larger HUD provides augmented reality (AR) content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows (“fishbones”) are virtually and precisely projected onto the road lane. For the assistance functions, information from e.g. Active Distance Assist is shown. The image appears virtually at a distance of 10 metres. This long distance allows a very large image: the display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal.

However, the unique feature of MBUX is its networking with a wide range of vehicle systems and sensor data. MBUX Interior Assist is able to recognise numerous operating requests. It recognizes eye-direction, hand gestures and the body language of the occupants, so as to assist with automatic vehicle functions as the situation requires (see separate chapter for details).

Up to five large screens with intuitive operation

The visual highlight in the interior is the standard equipment large central display in portrait format. It is ergonomically well positioned, as the screen is within easy touch and vision between the driver and front passenger. The portrait format also allows longer lists to be displayed. The large central display features haptic feedback and OLED technology. Haptic feedback means that minimal vibration during touch operation of a virtual button gives the impression of having operated a mechanical switch.

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Compared to LCD screens, the advantages of this technology are a better black level, even stronger contrasts and a lower energy consumption (see Glossary for details).

The user interface of the central display is divided into different areas. At the top is the entry area where the user can access the profiles by touch control. The content in the application band in the middle of the screen can be moved by horizontal and vertical swiping, depending on the chosen homescreen. Below this is the permanently displayed area for the climate controls.

On request the driver display is also available with a unique innovation: at the touch of a button, it is possible to switch to a 3D mode for a spatial view. A real three-dimensional effect is achieved with the help of eye-tracking, without having to wear 3D glasses. This optional version of the driver display has two integrated cameras. This stereo camera precisely determines the eye position of the user. Mercedes-Benz has developed appropriate distance adaptation methods for this, and the system has extremely low latency, i.e. there is almost no delay. The driver can therefore move freely. The image in the driver display is continuously adjusted. Cameras and face recognition are also used for a wide range of assistance and comfort functions. These include the new biometric authentication (see section on personalization), drowsiness detection by ATTENTION ASSIST, settings for the exterior mirrors and (expectedly from the second half of 2021, initially in Germany) also monitoring of the head and eyelids during automated driving.

The appearance of the driver display and central display screens can be individualised with a choice of four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service) For details see the chapter on interior design.

As a new element in the driver display, the ECO display (in the Classic style) takes the form of a ball rolling on a stylized road. The ECO display playfully helps the driver to adopt an efficient driving style.

Extensive range of infotainment functions for passengers in the rear

Take a quick look at the presentation on the way to the office, and discuss minor changes with your assistant by telephone conference? Or while away the long journey to your holiday home with the latest online films, while your brother next to you listens to his favourite audiobook? Whether managers or children – in an S-Class, and especially in the main markets of China and the USA, the boss often sits in the rear. Accordingly, Mercedes-Benz has systematically focussed on the rear for the new version of its flagship model. An example: passengers in the rear have the same extensive Infotainment and comfort features as the driver and front passenger, and can also watch films or surf the internet. They have access to up to three touchscreens and a variety of intuitive control options such as the voice control assistant “Hey Mercedes” – real multi-seat entertainment.

Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers Selection and amendment of navigation destinations is possible from the rear seats. MBUX high-end rear entertainmenthas two 11.6-inch displays with touch controls on the rear of the front seat backrests. The MBUX rear tablet is also optionally available. As a fully-fledged tablet, this can also be used outside the vehicle and (Android) apps can be installed. In the S-Class, the MBUX rear tablet is attached to a docking station located in the folding centre armrest or the business console, depending on the equipment level. This convenient remote control enables all the functions of the rear entertainment to be controlled from any seating position. As well as Mercedes-Benz Bluetooth headphones, a personal smartphone can be connected to the multi-seat entertainment by Wifi or HDMI.

Here are all screens at a glance:

Driver display Central display Rear displays MBUX rear tablet
Standard Optional Standard Optional Optional
Screen diagonal (inches) 12.3 12.8 11.6 7.0
Resolution (pixels) 2400 x 900 1888 x 1728 1920 x 1080 1280 x 800
Touch control no no yes yes yes
Other 3D representation, two integrated cameras for face recognition OLED technology, haptic feedback additional connection of cabled headphones possible USB charging in the docking station, WLAN and Bluetooth-capable

Music streaming: millions of songs to choose from

Mercedes-Benz has also integrated the music streaming service Spotify and Tuneln internet radio into the new S-Class.MBUX allows access to the usual songs and playlists as on a smartphone or other mobile device. Operation is intuitive, using the MBUX voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”.

Personalization is even more easy and convenient

A personal profile can be created directly in the S-Class and synchronized with the existing profile data of the Mercedes me account. By scanning a QR code with the Mercedes App, the vehicle is automatically connected to the Mercedes me account.

Personal preferences such as a favourite radio station and preselected settings can be transferred to any seat via the personal Mercedes me profile. Up to seven different profiles with around 800 parameters are possible in the vehicle. The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote configuration, e.g. from home. As the profiles are now stored in the Cloud as part of Mercedes me, they can also be used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the new MBUX generation.

Alongside the classic entry of a PIN, a new authentication method ensures a high level of security. Fingerprint, face and voice recognition are combined. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: the MBUX Smart Home function

“Hey Mercedes, is everything ok back home?”

The homes of many people are increasingly intelligent. Under the generic term “smart home”, 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. With the MBUX Smart Home function, the S-Class now also becomes a control centre for the home: mobile intelligence ensures maximum operating convenience from afar.

“Hey Mercedes, is there anybody in my home right now?” “I’ve had a look. The last movement detected was in the kitchen one hour ago.” This is how future dialogues between the driver or passenger and the user’s smart home might proceed using the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) voice assistant. The MBUX Smart Home function will support numerous devices offered by important smart home suppliers. Right from the start, Hey Mercedes understands queries and commands in four languages (German, Chinese, American and British English). These can be made for lamps, sockets, thermostats, shutters and blinds, motion detectors and door or window contacts, as well as temperature sensors. So the system can also answer this question: “Did I remember to turn the heating down?” Depending on the response and the thermostats installed in the home, it is possible to change the setting: “Set the temperature all around the house to 18 degrees!”

Smart Home integration into MBUX can therefore help to reduce energy consumption. It also makes for comfort, because the heating can also be remotely turned up again in good time. Security and the sense of safety are increased because the motion detector can be directly interrogated. And the convenience of being able to turn off the lights after a hasty departure is not without its advantages either.

Smart Home accounts are linked to the customer’s individual Mercedes me profile. Linking smart home appliances to MBUX is easy, and is initiated using a QR code in the central display of the S-Class. The QR code is scanned with a smartphone. Alternatively it can be done with the Mercedes me App. The sophisticated authentication mechanisms of the new S-Class ensure that only authorised customers obtain access to Smart Home appliances. Appliances by different providers can be connected and interrogated at the same time. A concerned “Hey Mercedes, is everything ok at home?” therefore causes all the installed equipment to be interrogated, prioritised by movement, windows/doors open, lights and heating. The answer might be: “All the windows are closed, and the light is still on in the bedroom.”

Though light can of course be very desirable: “Hey Mercedes, please switch the light on in the garage. I’ll be home in ten minutes.” “Will do, I’m switching the light on in the garage.”

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: MBUX Interior Assist

Always at your service

Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognizes numerous wishes. 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. For example, it checks whether a child seat detected on the front passenger seat is correctly attached.

MBUX Interior Assistant monitors the driver and front passenger via two laser cameras in the overhead control unit. Any movements of the hands, head or upper body are interpreted in relation to the specific context or at the explicit request of the occupants. The image data from the cameras are directly converted into metadata. The data are processed within the vehicle itself, and not stored or transmitted elsewhere.

Here is an overview of the functions (some require optional equipment):

Interaction levels Categories
Safety Comfort Infotainment
Intelligent: The system automatically recognizes occupants and objects, and activates functions. Even before driving off, it notifies the driver if the camera has detected a child seat on the front passenger seat but the seat belt is not fastened, for example. A corresponding notification appears in the central display.
The exit warning function now activates a warning as soon as the driver or front passenger reaches for the door. This is because the MBUX Interior Assistant recognizes when a hand approaches the door handle.
MBUX Interior Assist recognizes the size of the driver, and can preset the seat adjustments if required. A profile must be created for this purpose.
Reactive: The system recognizes the natural body language of an occupant, and automatically carries out functions according to the situation. MBUX Interior Assist assesses the alertness of the driver, and primes ATTENTION ASSIST to give a warning of microsleep. If the driver reaches over to the (unoccupied) front passenger seat in the dark, a searchlight is switched on. Withdrawing the hand switches the light off again. Moving a hand towards the touchscreen allows functions to be controlled, interactive elements to be enlarged and menus to be displayed.
If an exterior mirror is to be adjusted, the mirror in question can be automatically selected using Interior Assist. A head movement to the right or left is sufficient for this. The relevant exterior mirror is then adjusted using the key in the door control panel.
If the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind. This affords a clear view when reversing.
Touch-free: The occupant actively requests a function with a hand movement or gesture. If the driver or front passenger briefly moves a hand up or down below the rear-view mirror, the reading light is switched on or off. Individual links are possible with the help of a favourites gesture. For example a navigation destination, radio station or a
massage program for a seat.
The driver and front passenger can open the roller sunblind and sliding roof by holding their outstretched hand in front of the rear-view mirror and moving it to the rear below the overhead control panel. The first such movement opens the roller sunblind, a second the sliding roof as well. They are closed by a forward movement.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: the voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”

Listens even more carefully, and understands all the passengers

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. In the S-Class the voice assistant can also be controlled from the rear.

“Hey Mercedes” now supports 27 languages with natural language understanding (NLU). This makes natural interaction on a wide range of topics possible. As a new feature, a completed dialogue can be continued with further commands. Several consecutive instructions can be issued, for example activation of the seat heating and starting the route guidance in the navigation system.

The activation keyword “Hey Mercedes” is no longer necessary for certain applications. An incoming call can be taken directly with “Accept call”, for example.

In the S-Class, “Hey Mercedes” can also be controlled from the rear. Several microphones help to tell the system which seat the voice is coming from. The active ambient lighting flashes at this position and identifies the current speaker.

“Hey Mercedes” now also explains vehicle functions, and can e.g. help when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where the first-aid kit can be found. The new Chit-Chat and knowledge domain provides the right answers to many questions, and even questions about buildings in the immediate vicinity, animal noises or general knowledge are answered.

“Hey Mercedes” is now also able to recognise vehicle occupants by their voices. Once the individual characteristics of the voice have been learned, this can be used to activate a profile. This makes personal data and functions accessible to the user. Voice recognition is in real time, using a special authentication process.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Driving assistance systems

The next steps on the way to accident-free driving

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. He/she thereby has a reduced workload in day-to-day situations, and is able to drive comfortably and safely. 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.

In day-to-day driving, assistance systems relieve driver stress as the situation requires, by adapting the vehicle speed, controlling distance, steering and lane-changing. This enables the driver to stay alert for longer, and reach the destination more safely and comfortably. When danger threatens, i.e. if there is a risk of an accident owing to driver inattention or distraction, driving assistance systems can respond according to the situation and mitigate the severity of possible collisions, or even avoid them.

The S-Class has a new generation of steering wheels with capacitive hands-off recognition. There is a two-zone sensor pad in the steering wheel rim. The sensors on the front and reverse sides of the rim register whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel. No steering movement is now necessary to inform the driving assistance systems that the driver has control.

The new assistance display in the driver display clearly shows the operating principle of the driving assistance systems as a full-screen view. This is where the driver of an S-Class can see an abstract view of the car, driving lanes, lane markings and other road users such as cars, trucks and bikes. The system status and operation of the assistants are visualised in this depiction of the surroundings. The new, animated assistance display is based on a 3D scene generated in real time. This dynamic, high-quality representation makes the operation of the driving assistance systems transparent as a tangible augmented reality experience.

The vehicle needs eyes and ears to perform all these tasks – its sensors. The following are on board the new S-Class with the standard Driving Assistance package:

  • Front multi-mode radar: 2 radar sensors with an aperture angle of 130°
  • Front long-range radar: 1 radar sensor with an aperture angle of 90° and 9°
  • Front stereo multi-purpose camera: 1 camera with an aperture angle of 70°
  • Rear multi-mode radar: 2 radar sensors with an aperture angle of 130°
  • 360° camera (close range): 4 cameras with aperture angle of 180°
  • Ultrasonic (close range): 12 sensors with an aperture angle of 120°

The basic functions of the systems in the Driving Assistance package can be found here. The following are the key new features of the systems in the S-Class:

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC

On all types of roads – motorways, country roads or in town – this intelligent system can automatically maintain a preset distance from vehicles ahead. New features:

  • predictive speed regulation ahead of speed limits
  • collision-preventing response to stationary road users at up to 130 km/h (previously 60 km/h)
  • selection of DISTRONIC dynamics in MBUX, independently of DYNAMIC SELECT

Active Steering Assist

This helps the driver to follow the driving lane at speeds up to 210 km/h. New features:

  • additional lane recognition by a 360° camera
  • significantly improved availability and performance on bends on country roads
  • improved lane centering on motorways
  • situation-specific off-centred driving (e.g. forming an emergency lane, but also following the road edge on country roads with no centre marking)

Traffic Sign Assist

In addition to conventionally signposted speed limits, this recognizes overhead gantries and signs at roadworks. New features:

  • stop sign warning function – warning when about to pass a stop sign
  • red traffic light warning function – warning when about to cross a red traffic light.

Active Lane Keeping Assist

In a speed range of 60 to 250 km/h, Active Lane Keeping Assist uses a camera to detect when road markings or road edges are crossed, helping the driver to avoid leaving the driving lane unintentionally. The system also intervenes if there is a danger of collision with recognised road users in the adjacent lane, e.g. with overtaking or oncoming vehicles. New features:

  • reaction to road edges, e.g. a patch of turf
  • particularly intuitive steering intervention
  • adjustment of sensitivity via a menu (early, medium, late)
  • the danger warning is reinforced by the active ambient lighting and the augmented reality head-up display

Active Lane Changing Assist

Active Lane Changing Assist cooperatively assists the driver of the new S-Class when moving to an adjacent lane. A lane-change to the right or left is only assisted if the sensors detect that the adjacent lane is separated from the present lane by an interrupted lane marking, and no other vehicles are recognised in the relevant danger zone. New features:

  • the longer search phase (15 s instead of 10 s, depending on country) in which the lane-change can take place, and
  • higher lateral dynamics (depending on country)

Active Emergency Stop Assist

Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a standstill in its own lane if it recognizes that the driver is no longer responding to the traffic situation for a longer period. In the new S-Class this still works if Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with Steering Assist is not switched on. Other new features:

  • belt tensioning and braking impulse as a final signal of impending braking action
  • optional single lane change (at 80 km/h, no obstacles in adjacent lane)

ATTENTION ASSIST

This system included as standard is able to recognise typical signs of drowsiness and driver inattention, and displays a warning message prompting him/her to take a break. The additional microsleep warning is a new feature. This is based on monitoring of the driver’s eyelid movements by a camera in the driver display (only in conjunction with certain optional equipment). The microsleep warning function is already active from a speed of 20 km/h.

Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function

Active Brake Assist uses the onboard sensors to register whether there is a risk of collision with vehicles travelling ahead, crossing or oncoming. The system can give the driver a visual and acoustic warning if a collision appears imminent. If the driver’s braking response is too weak, the system can also assist by increasing the brake pressure as the situation demands, and also initiate autonomous emergency braking if the driver fails to respond. New features:

  • the cornering function (e.g. crossing pedestrians when turning off)
  • extension of the cross-traffic function to long-distance routes (up to 120 km/h instead of 72 km/h)
  • warning and braking if there is oncoming traffic

Active Blind Spot Assist and exit warning function

Active Blind Spot Assist can give a visual warning – and if the indicators are operated also an audible warning – of potential lateral collisions in a speed range from around 10 to 200 km/h. If the driver ignores the warnings and still initiates a lane-change, the system can take corrective action by one-sided braking intervention at the last moment if the speed exceeds 30 km/h. When the vehicle is stationary, the exit warning function can warn against exiting because a vehicle (also bicycles) is passing within the critical area. This function is available when the vehicle is stationary and for up to 3 minutes after the ignition has been switched off. New features:

  • reinforcement of the warning by the active ambient lighting (also the exit warning)
  • thanks to the cameras of MBUX Interior Assist, a danger warning can already be given if the driver or front passenger merely move a hand towards the door handle.

Evasive Steering Assist

Evasive Steering Assist can assist the driver when seeking to avoid another road user recognised by the system in a critical situation. In the new S-Class, the system not only recognizes stationary and crossing pedestrians, but also pedestrians and vehicles, including cyclists, travelling longitudinally. The speed range has been increased to 108 km/h (instead of 72 km/h), and assistance is also given on long-distance routes.

PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side

Together with the familiar PRE-SAFE® protection concepts for frontal and rear collisions, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side forms a kind of virtual crumple zone that extends all around the vehicle.

As only a limited crumple zone is available in the case of a side impact, and even before the crash, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side can move the affected driver or front passenger away from the acute danger zone as soon as the system detects that a side collision is immediately imminent. For this purpose, air chambers in the side bolsters of the front seat backrest are inflated in fractions of a second. In addition, when a side impact with another vehicle threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional) within a few tenths of a second. This directs the impact forces towards particularly resistant structures in the lower area of the vehicle

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: active ambient lighting

Animated ambient lighting with intelligent comfort and safety functions

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 number of LEDs has increased from the previous 40 to around 250 (247 in the W 223, 263 in the V 223). The optical fibres of the active ambient lighting are concealed behind a black panel facing, and are not visible when switched off. An LED is positioned inside every 1.6 centimetres. A strip of light appears when the active ambient lighting is switched on.

The individual LEDs are actuated by CAN-BUS in real time. This allows flowing light effects, a soft transition within the light band and now also colour transitions as well as individual colours. When entering the vehicle, the ambient light band is animated in finely granular form as a welcome feature.

At 200 candles per sq. m., the ambience lighting is ten times brighter than before. The system automatically switches between day and night mode depending on the ambient brightness. Colours (64) and brightness (20 levels) can be selected via MBUX or the voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”.

The result is not only a unique appearance by day or night. There are also new, intelligent functions. Integrated into the driving assistance systems, active ambient lighting can visually reinforce warnings. For example, Active Blind Spot Assist warns of an impending collision with a red light animation. Also with the exit warning function of Active Blind Spot Assist, a red visual warning is given in the area of the door where the risk of colliding with traffic approaching from behind, including cyclists, has been identified if exiting the vehicle.

Corresponding feedback is also possible when operating comfort systems. When the temperature is set to cooler or warmer in individual zones, a visible impulse is triggered. When the voice assist “Hey Mercedes” is active, the corresponding seating position is animated when voice input is expected. Furthermore, the ambience lighting and active ambient lighting are integrated into ENERGIZING COMFORT (optional equipment, see relevant chapter). Depending on the mode, the interior is bathed in corresponding colour scenarios.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The parking assistants

Easy entry into confined spaces and narrow entrances

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 primarily serve to protect other road users. Operation has been simplified considerably. In conjunction with the necessary optional equipment and the corresponding Connect service (depending on country), the new S-Class has the onboard technology to enter and leave multi-storey car parks equipped with an AVP infrastructure in highly automated mode and without a driver, provided that national legislation permits such operation.

As standard, the S-Class is equipped with Active Parking Assist with a reversing camera, and on request this can be combined with a 360° camera. In the S-Class, all the information from all sensors and cameras is fusioned. This enables more parking spaces to be recognized and offered. Parking spaces defined by lines (not by vehicles) can also be used for automated parking for the first time.

Here are the differences between the two parking packages in detail:

Active Parking Assist in the …
… Parking package with reversing camera (standard) … Parking package with 360° camera (optional equipment)
Sensors
  • 12 ultrasonic sensors at the front and rear
  • Reversing camera in the handle of the trunk lid
Three further cameras (in the exterior mirrors and at the front)
Parking and unparking1
  • Forwards and backwards in end-on parking spaces
  • Reverse parking and forward unparking in parallel parking spaces
  • At the left and right side of the road
  • Recognition of spaces defined by lines (and not by fixed obstacles)
  • Automatic control of acceleration, steering, braking, gear changes, indicators
  • Drive Away Assist: speed limitation if there is a risk of collision after gear-changing
Collision protection (audible and visual warnings, poss. braking intervention)
  • Passive side protection
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • AEB Rear (Autonomous Emergency Braking) – braking for pedestrians when reversing
  • All-round protection for pedestrians (if Active Parking Assist is active)
Visualization in the driver display
  • Active search for parking spaces and
  • indication of recognised parking spaces (small arrow on the P symbol)
Visualization in the central display
  • Recognised parking spaces in the immediate vicinity
  • Quick-Park function: Driving past and pressing an MBUX key is enough to start the parking procedure
  • Parking options (selection by touch control)
  • Side protection
  • New 3D display
  • Full-HD camera image
  • Live image with dynamic guidelines
  • During slow manoeuvring, the camera pivots to the direction of travel
  • The four individual camera images are combined into a three-dimensional image of the vehicle’s surroundings.
  • Seven different views and zooming are possible
  • Automatic camera (changes the perspective according to situation)
  • Model vehicle is rendered in real time
    • Shows status such as indicating or braking
    • Visualises obstructions in the field of vision, e.g. open doors

1Assisted unparking only if assisted parking was previously used

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Suspension

Light and comfortable travel

Innovative suspension systems ensure an impressive travel experience in the new S-Class. Rear-axle steering with a steering angle of up to 10° improves manoeuvrability in urban areas. Optional for MY22, 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. Redundant steering and braking systems are ready for conditionally automated driving acc. to SAE Level 3.

The aim of the developers was to exceed the high level of suspension and ride comfort of the preceding series, while achieving a very high level of vehicle dynamics. E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL (see separate chapter) replaces the previous MAGIC BODY CONTROL.

At the front the new S-Class has the well-proven four-link suspension. With the exception of the wheel bearings, all the wheel location components are of forged aluminum. The multi-link independent rear suspension has been completely redeveloped to accommodate rear-axle steering. To this end, the kinematics and elastokinematics were adapted, and the track rod at the lower steering arm level was moved from the front to the rear. The rear axle carrier is of welded sheet aluminum, and weighs no more than before thanks to computer-assisted structural improvements and despite greater strength. A newly developed metal/plastic hybrid cross-bar is bolted into this open-fronted section, and has significant weight advantages over the cast aluminum cross-bar of the preceding model. The suspension subframe carriers and the elastomer bearings of the rear axle struts were redeveloped in extensive simulations and driving trials, so as to improve them with respect to NVH and handling characteristics.

Constant level

The standard-fit AIRMATIC air suspension responds particularly sensitively. It combines air suspension bellows with adaptive ADS+ dampers whose characteristics can be fully automatically varied at each individual wheel, in both the compression and rebound stages. While driving, a sophisticated sensor system and algorithms set the dampers according to the quality of the road to ensure that, for example, driving over a bump with just one wheel is not transmitted to the entire axle and the interior. At the front axle the springs and dampers are housed in one suspension strut. This level control is part of AIRMATIC. It keeps the ground clearance constant irrespective of the vehicle load, but also makes changes. By way of example, in COMFORT mode the vehicle body is lowered by 10 mm at high speeds above 120 km/h and another 10 mm at over 160 km/h to reduce aerodynamic drag and increase driving stability. In SPORT driving mode the body is always 10 mm lower, and in SPORT+ 17 mm. At up to 60 km/h, the body can be raised by 30 mm at the touch of a button.

As manoeuvrable as a compact car: both axles can do the steering

The aim of the engineers at Mercedes-Benz was to make the new S-Class as manoeuvrable as a compact car. The impressive driving function has been realised using rear-axle steering that allows large steering angles of up to 10° and is integrated into the dynamic control systems of the steering, brakes and suspension (more about the rear-axle steering in the next chapter). The S-Class has an electro-mechanical direct steering system at the front. The suspension settings of the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes allow individual adaptation of the assistance characteristics. Whatever the vehicle weight, tyre size and friction, an innovative control concept ensures consistent and comfortable steering feedback. The steering is also the central actuator for implementing the movement trajectory from numerous driving assistance functions and handling safety systems. In models equipped with the optional rear-axle steering, the front axle has a steering variant with an approx. 15% more direct steering ratio which requires considerably less steering movement in conjunction with the rear-axle steering.

DYNAMIC SELECT: The S-Class drives as the driver wants it to

The driver can individually modify the characteristics of the powertrain, ESP®, suspension and steering. The selection is made using a control at the lower end of the central display. The default setting is COMFORT mode. Different characteristics are firmly assigned to each system. The driver has the choice of selecting fixed driving modes or individually combining sub-modes. The selection is acknowledged by acoustic and visual feedback. The desired driving mode is shown as the status and depicted in the central display.

The individual modes:

Program Character
ECO particularly fuel-efficient driving
COMFORT comfortable and fuel-efficient driving
SPORT sporty driving
SPORT+ very sporty driving
INDIVIDUAL individual settings

The CURVE mode is also available in combination with E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL. Plug-in hybrid models have the BATTERY LEVEL and ELECTRIC driving modes.

Electronic assistance: ESP® dynamic cornering assistance and Steering Assist

The steering assistant STEER CONTROL responds with commensurate steering force at the dynamic limits to support the driver in stabilising the vehicle. To do this, the electronics determine the direction in which the driver must steer to defuse a potentially critical situation, and ensure a corresponding steering movement to indicate the steering direction that will enable the vehicle to be stabilised. For example, ESP® dynamic cornering assistance brakes the inner rear wheel if the electronics detect understeer. Both high handling safety and high driving dynamics are the result.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: rear-axle steering

More manoeuvrable and dynamic thanks to steerable rear wheels

Thanks to rear-axle steering (optional), the S-Class feels as manoeuvrable as a compact car in the city. The steering angle at the rear axle is up to ten degrees. Even for the S-Class with a long wheelbase and all-wheel drive, the turning circle is reduced by 1.9 metres to under 10.9 metres.

The interaction between the front-axle and rear-axle steering is configured to ensure agile responsiveness in urban and country traffic together with a very high level of stability. This results in e.g. small side-slip angles and a high level of yaw suppression. At high speeds the focus is more on stability, though without compromising precision and responsiveness. This added value is achieved by integrated actuation of the steering and brakes (ESP®), and considerably improves handling safety as a result.

Customers have a choice of two variants of the optional rear-axle steering: 4.5° and 10° rear-axle steering. In the 10° variant the wheel size is limited to 255/40 R 20, allowing a larger wheel angle. These are the other differences:

Without rear-axle steering With rear-axle steering
Max. steering angle at the rear axle (°) 0 4.5 10
Turning circle (m)
S-Class with short wheelbase (W 223)
Rear-wheel drive 12.2 11.4 10.5
4MATIC 12.5 11.6 10.7
Turning circle (m)
S-Class with long wheelbase (V 223)
Rear-wheel drive 12.5 11.7 10.8
4MATIC 12.8 11.9 10.9

S-Class models with rear-axle steering have an approx. 15 percent more direct steering ratio at the front axle. This means that the driver needs to turn the steering wheel by much less. The respective rear-axle angles and trajectories are shown in the driving mode menu in the central display.

The operating principle of rear-axle steering in detail: An electric motor drives a spindle at the rear axle via a drive belt. This makes axial adjustments to the spindle. Depending on the speed and the steering angle, the rear wheels are turned in the same or the opposite direction as the front wheels (same-direction or counter-direction steering). In simplified terms, this produces more agility and a smaller turning circle by counter-steering and more stability with same-direction steering. In the S-Class, the full steering angle of ten degrees is especially used during parking manoeuvres. The environmental data of the vehicle sensors (radar, camera, ultrasonic) are used to adapt the maximum angle to the relevant situation. The system switches from counter-direction to same-direction steering at more than 60 km/h.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL

Only floating is better

Even better ride comfort and agility, as well as innovative functions such as raising the vehicle body in a lateral crash, are provided by the new developed E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension, which is combined with the standard AIRMATIC air suspension. This regulates the damping and spring forces individually at each wheel, and not only counters body roll, but also pitch and lift. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the CURVE function, E‑ACTIVE BODY CONTROL allows an extraordinarily high level of comfort and underpins the claim of Mercedes-Benz to produce the world’s most intelligent suspension. E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL will be made available as an option for the Model Year 2022 S-Class.

Active suspension systems have a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz. More than 40 years ago, research was already being conducted on spring and damper systems that would allow the power at each wheel to be individually controlled. The objective: to improve both ride comfort and vehicle dynamics. In 1999 ABC (Active Body Control) first entered series production in the S-Class Coupe. In subsequent years ABC was continuously developed further, with the ROAD SURFACE SCAN function added in 2013 to produce the first predictive suspension that already responds to surface undulations before they are reached.

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL continues this tradition in a unique way. Developed by Mercedes-Benz, it operates on 48 volts and is available in the S-Class as an optional extra. The system is based on the full AIRMATIC air suspension system, and therefore offers all-round level control which keeps the vehicle level constant irrespective of the load. The level can also be raised or lowered as required, to increase ground clearance.

Furthermore, the air suspension with active hydraulic damping generates dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body, e.g. during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads. The body no longer squats or pitches during braking and acceleration, and on poor road surfaces the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class.

The active suspension also allows a very wide spread of handling characteristics that can be set with the driving mode – from the comfort of a luxury sedan to the agility of a sports car. It is also closely networked with the rear-axle steering and the other suspension and control systems, and achieves a new level of stability and safety as a result. With five multi-core processors, more than 20 sensors and use of the stereo camera, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL responds predictively to any driving situation and ensures a completely new driving experience. The control units analyse the driving situation 1000 times per second, and adapt the suspension accordingly. ROAD SURFACE SCAN is a unique function: The stereo multi-purpose camera continuously registers the road surface ahead. The suspension struts are then activated so as to substantially reduce the body movements when driving over surface undulations, as the suspension responds even before the uneven stretch is reached.

The curve inclination function likewise improves ride comfort: in CURVE driving mode, the vehicle actively leans into bends by up to 3° in three stages, like a motorcycle. This reduces the lateral forces acting on the occupants. Cornering is therefore made much more pleasant, especially for the front and rear passengers.

The control function of E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL depends upon:

  • the driving style, e.g. dynamic
  • the road surface, e.g. surface undulations
  • the vehicle load
  • the selected driving mode: sporty (SPORT), comfortable (COMFORT), comfortable with dynamic curve inclination function (CURVE) or comfortable and particularly energy-efficient (ECO).

How it works: How E-ACTIVE Body Control works

E-ACTIVE Body Control adds semi-supporting hydraulics to the air suspension. The air springs bear the base load of the vehicle body and gradually regulate the level. The hydraulics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air spring forces, and actively support and dampen the vehicle body. They achieve up to 6 kN at the front wheels and 5 kN at the rear wheels. The actuating force is up to 20 kN/s, which also allows raising of the vehicle body when an impending side impact is recognised. More about this extension to PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side in the chapter “Protective measures in a side crash”.

At each wheel, a damper is installed within the axle with two working chambers that have an adjustable damping valve and a hydraulic pressure reservoir. The damper is connected to an intelligent motor/pump unit in the 48 V network by hydraulic lines. Actuation of the motor/pump unit enables the hydraulic fluid to be displaced to create a difference in pressure within the damper, allowing an active force to be generated.

The motor/pump units at all four wheels are coordinated by a central control unit which also actuates the valves and the compressor for the air springs, and therefore always controls the entire suspension system.
The transition from a belt-driven hydraulic pump to an electric 48-volt pump also takes into account the increasing electrification of the powertrain: the combustion engine is idle increasingly often – or not used at all.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Exterior design

Modern luxury in its most desirable form

The S-Class is seen as a trendsetter in its segment. Together with its model variants, the luxury sedan is a point of reference and an example for the automobile industry. The new generation continues this tradition. The interplay between emotion and intelligence becomes tangible, and arouses desire for the brand and for the

S-Class itself. Innovation in combination with the latest technology and traditional craftsmanship make the vehicle unique.

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. Other unmistakable exterior features include the stretched hood, the upright front end with the mounted star, the long passenger cell and the flowing C-pillar with its sculptured shoulder. The claim of the S-Class to high status is indicated by the excellent prestige measurement, i.e. the distance from the front axle to the windscreen. 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. At the same time they embody the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. Chrome elements stylishly positioned by the designers – e.g. as a decorative lower strip on the side sills – further embellish the S-Class and accentuate its length.

The front section impresses with its high-status radiator grille. The numerous sensors and cameras of the assistance systems are attractively and symmetrically integrated into the design, and deliberately accentuated as high-tech elements.

The headlamps characterize 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 new light system DIGITAL LIGHT (see separate chapter) is available as an optional alternative to the standard MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. This headlamp has a distinctive look, and is distinguished by e.g. the blue light of its floor facing.

Equipped as standard, flush-fitted door handles and sophisticated wheel designs (size 19 to 21 inches) accentuate the side aspect. The dynamic appearance of the car is continued at the rear. Details such as the two visible exhaust tailpipes contribute to an unmistakable appearance that is typical of a Mercedes-Benz. They are accompanied by the surprising design of the trunk lid in combination with the progressive, two-section rear lights. The chrome strip at the upper edge of the rear lights accentuate the width of the rear.

Thanks to precisely designed, highly detailed interior features and certain animated functions, the rear lights contribute to the impression of high quality. They make the new S-Class unmistakable in both their day and night design.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Aerodynamics

Much ado for a low drag coefficient

With a cd figure from 0.22,1 the S-Class is one of the world’s most aerodynamic cars, and especially so in the luxury sedan segment. 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. A great deal of fine-tuning also went into the aeroacoustics. The previous generation of the S-Class already excelled with a very high level of interior noise comfort. The new model is even quieter.

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.

One major focus of the aerodynamic measures was on the airflow in and around the front bumper. The space between the front wheel arch and the bumper is used as an air chamber. There are slits in the side walls of the recesses in the outer area of the bumper. These force air into the chambers and avoid interruption of the airflow ahead of the front wheels. At the same time some of the hot exhaust air from the engine compartment is directed into the air chamber. This is assisted by more effective sealing between the engine compartment and wheel arches. Each of the inlets ahead of the front wheels has a large exhaust air aperture preceded by a 3D suction spoiler. The mixture of cold and warm air is fed through these exhaust air apertures and ventilation slits to the insides of the front wheel arches. The resulting airflow ensures the best possible airflow along the underside of the vehicle and along the sides of the front wheel arches, and this also benefits thermal management in the engine compartment. In addition, the engine compartment panelling between the front wheels has been widened to reinforce this effect. Thanks to this improved thermal management, it has become possible to extend the rear engine compartment panelling even further and further reduce aerodynamic drag in comparison with a preceding model with a comparable engine.

Detailed improvements to the underbody and mounted parts such as the exterior mirrors and wheels also contribute to the very good aerodynamic performance of the vehicle.

  • The new S-Class has two-section rear light clusters. Owing to their lower height compared to the single-section version, it was necessary to dispense with spoiler lips in the lenses. This meant that particular attention was given to e.g. improving the airflow to the rear diffuser.
  • S-Class models with the panoramic glass sunroof have diagonal rear struts in the underbody to rigidify the bodyshell. To improve aerodynamic drag, these have been removed from the diffuser airflow and relocated above the exhaust system.
  • The position and airflow angles of the aerodynamically shaped cladding on the rear spring control arms and the fuel tank guard were reconfigured with further CFD-DOE improvements (see next section) and individual calculations, and later fine-tuned in the wind tunnel.
  • The exterior mirrors feature so-called aerostripes. These fine edges on the insides of the mirrors create turbulence and improve the airflow. The aerostripes also benefit the aeroacoustics.
  • Other measures include aero-wheels in almost every size, a cooling airflow control system behind the radiator grille and in the bumper, and improved sealing of the cooling airflow.

The three-dimensional airflow pattern around the vehicle was already calculated in high-performance simulation clusters using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) in an early development phase. Shortly after this project started, during the dimensional drawing phase, several extensive DOE (Design of Experiments) studies were carried out on the basis of the preceding model, with up to 250 calculations per body area. In this process the aerodynamic engineers specify the parameters for certain components, e.g. the possible height of the trunk lid.

Several hundred simulations were carried out over several days, fully covering the scope of the prescribed parameters. These simulations can be used to calculate a global or local optimum or, far more importantly in this phase, establish the influence of the individual parameters on the drag coefficient. Using the DOE method, specific aerodynamic requirements were reported to and discussed with personnel working on the dimensional concept and design in a very early phase.

In recent years such automated calculation processes including DOE have been intensively developed further by Mercedes-Benz aerodynamic engineers. As a result, digital development with DOE not only saves time, but is also cost-efficient: unlike for the preceding model, which required up to six hardware models, the new S-Class required only two 1:1 design models for wind tunnel improvements thanks to digital frontloading, i.e. advance selection of variants.

Aeroacoustics and NVH: even quieter interior than the previous model

The aim of sound insulation was to further improve the discreet noise level in the interior. 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 in series production. In this process a special foam is packed into the bodyshell while these areas are still accessible. These foam sections then expand in the oven during cathodic dip painting (CDP). This process has considerably improved sound insulation in the body structure – e.g. sound transmission through the C-pillar.

The S-Class was developed in the in-house aeroacoustic wind tunnel, which went into operation in 2013. To reduce wind noise, the bodyshell and sealing concept were improved as well as optimising the vehicle shape. Some of the aeroacoustic measures in detail:

  • The exterior mirrors feature so-called aerostripes. These fine edges on the insides of the mirrors create turbulence and ensure that the airflow is better able to follow the mirror contours, while reducing cutoff noise. The interior features were also fine-tuned: during the development phase, computer tomography was used for the mirror triangle. In this way the installed position of rails and multi-foam seals was verified.
  • The new, standard equipped flush-fitted door handles are better sealed on the inside than conventional designs.
  • The seals in the window areas were improved, and the gap reduced.
  • Extensive airflow measures for the panoramic sliding sunroof ensure a high level of noise comfort.

The S-Class has green-tinted thermal insulation glass as standard. The windscreen is made of laminated safety glass with an integral acoustic membrane, while the side windows and rear window are of single-pane safety glass. Laminated safety glass all-round is available as an option. This insulates against heat and noise, and reflects infrared radiation.

1 Best performance in SPORT+ driving mode

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: the door handle

You see that you see nothing

The standard equipped 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.

The door handles are retracted when not in use and when travelling, and are flush with the door. If the door is to be opened, the handle is extended to its operating position in a parallel movement. Compared to pivoting door handles, a handle extending in parallel offers a much larger area of purchase and can be gripped with the whole hand.

When developing this visually impressive handle, great attention was paid to close tolerances and little free-play. The control electronics dispense with classic end position switches and extend the handles with a wide load tolerance, and as a visually and acoustically attractive movement. The door handle makes an impression of high quality and solidity.

Additional operating convenience is provided by KEYLESS-GO functions integrated into the flush-fitting door handle. For example, the door handles are already extended as soon as a person with the key approaches the vehicle. Other operations of KEYLESS-GO are via capacitive sensor arrays on the handle for the main functions: unlocking the vehicle, locking and poss. comfort closing, and requesting a retracted door handle. To open the door it is sufficient to pull the handle slightly, which opens the door lock with electric motor assistance.

With the flush-fitted door handles, the central locking system and KEYLESS-GO blend into a single operation whenever the vehicle is accessed. The door handles are extended in special situations, e.g. after an accident or for a remote parking procedure.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Interior design

Digital-analogue revolution in the interior

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. The dashboard with its new architecture, modern surface design and ergonomic display arrangement is a particular highlight. The aim and ambition of the Mercedes-Benz interior designers was to harmonise digital and analogue luxury in the vehicle interior.

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 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. This interface is also where the active ambient lighting (see separate chapter) is located.

In addition to the up to five screens, highlights include the large trim elements in the dashboard and in the rear (with the First Class rear suite). 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 aluminum that follow the contours. The “Novum” trim variant consists of a mixed metallic weave which accentuates the elegant, sporty styling.

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 air volume is controlled by keys with LED displays. The avant-garde geometry of the vents and their decorative nature accentuate the modern look.

The seats (see separate chapter for features and configuration) 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, avant-garde look, while the progressive diamond pattern of nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather is more classical and expressive.

Mercedes-Benz introduced electric seat adjustment in 1980. Since then, many vehicle generations have featured the brand’s hallmark seat adjustment switch in the form of a stylized seat in the door. This control has been completely redesigned for the new S-Class. Visible joints have been reduced by combining the trim with the seat controls. The geometry and surround lighting of the control panel make the seat adjustment control appear to float in the door panel.

The newly developed pressure sensors for seat adjustment open up new design possibilities. Thanks to the practically fixed control buttons, minimal gaps between the individual controls can be realised. This also means that very small apertures in the black panel trim are possible. This allows a slim, filigree, floating design of the control buttons. The pressure sensors also allow a continuous coupling of operating pressure and speed.

Choice of four display styles and three modes

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) Examples of new features:

  • In “Discreet”, seven different colour schemes are available for the instrumentation, and the 64 colours of the ambience lighting are grouped accordingly.
  • “Sporty” is dominated by the colour red, with dynamic presentation of the central rev counter.
  • The new display scheme “Exclusive” in an attractive white mother-of-pearl look is reserved for the S-Class. In night mode and when passing through tunnels, the system automatically switches to a darker display.
  • In “Assistance” mode, important events, the infrastructure and other road users (cars, motorcycles, trucks) are shown.
  • The augmented reality head-up display (see separate chapter) is absolutely new, and projects important information into the real environment.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: resource-conserving materials

Light, recycled or renewable

More than 98 kg of components made from resource-conserving materials are used in the S-Class. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Another 40 kg or so are made from renewable raw materials. The process of environmentally compatible development with specific targets is firmly embedded in the overall development process. Environmental aspects are already taken into account in the conceptual phase.

Recycling plastic waste and using recycled plastics conserves primary raw materials, while saving energy and CO2 emissions compared to products based on crude oil. The challenge lies in developing plastic recyclates that meet all current technical requirements with respect to safety, quality and functionality.

This has now become possible for the cable ducts that route the electrical lines through the vehicle. This meant testing of various materials made from recycled plastics. One aspect of this testing and development was also testing and perfecting the recyclates with respect to emissions into the interior and odours. The new cable ducts add another 3 kg to the total weight of resource-conserving materials.

Lightweight construction with a natural fibre microsandwich

Lower weight not only reduces the amount of material used, but also the energy needed to move the vehicle. A microsandwich material was developed for the interior of the S-Class, and in most components this is reinforced with natural fibres. It not only weighs 40 percent less than a comparable, conventional component, but its thermal formability also allows use in complex applications and its strength improves crash behaviour compared to previously used materials. In the S-Class, the microsandwich is used in the map pockets in the door panels, in the seat backrest linings and for the parcel shelf. The use of this natural fibre based microsandwich and the resulting weight reduction lead to a lower primary energy requirement from production and use right up to the disposal phase.

Carpeting of recycled Nylon threads

A new, recycled thread is now used for the floor coverings. This thread – brandname Econyl® – consists of regenerated Nylon. It is manufactured by recovering Nylon waste destined for the landfill, for example old fish nets and fabric remnants from mills and carpets.  These are collected and transformed into a new thread having the same properties as nylon from new raw materials. The recycling process used to produce the thread saves CO2 in comparison with new production. It also enables Mercedes-Benz to keep materials in circulation.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The front seats

High-tech for maximum comfort

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. However, the seats not only play a major part for comfort, but also 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 campaign1.

The wealth of technology is accommodated in a new design whose weight has not increased despite the new content. The backrest is now isolated from the seat surface, which has advantages in terms of transmitted vibrations and crash behaviour. The seat cushion takes the form of a steel-sprung half shell of sheet steel with foam upholstery and a seat cover. The mouldings for attachment to the seat adjustment system are integrated into the half shells. The springs are pretensioned when the seat depth is enlarged. Seat adjustment therefore adapts the spring characteristics for larger and heavier occupants. An innovative microsandwich material is used in the seatback lining. More information: “Under the microscope: resource-conserving materials”.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics is available in the S-Class for the first time. Small changes in the angles of the seat surface and backrest tension and relax the muscles, benefiting the circulation. The list of drive motors and actuators in each seat for the following functions gives an impression of the complexity of the seat as a high-tech component:

  • Longitudinal adjustment
  • Height adjustment
  • Inclination adjustment
  • Seat cushion depth adjustment
  • Backrest angle
  • Head restraint height adjustment
  • Head restraint angle
  • Heel support (only front passenger seat)
  • Rear Seat Entertainment/displays for passengers in the rear. On the front passenger side, the inclination is automatically adjusted to the angle of the backrest to keep the same angle of vision. Naturally the rear passengers can also adjust the monitors individually. At the driver’s seat the monitor is always adjusted by hand.
  • 4 vibration motors for massage
  • 5 fan motors
  • a motor for the lumbar support pump in the basic seats. The pump for the inflatable side bolsters of the multicontour seat is centrally installed in the trunk.

But that’s not all: the seats also play an increasingly major part where safety is concerned. Up to four airbags (sidebag as a combined thorax-pelvis bag, the new rear airbag and, in the driver’s seat, also the centre airbag and the air chamber of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side) have to be accommodated. More about this in the chapters “The rear airbag” and “Protective measures in a side crash”.

Other new features in the seat if the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system is installed are two so-called exciters (resonance transmitters) in the backrests. These convert bass tones into vibrations, making music an even more intensive experience. Ear-level speakers integrated into the head restraints improve communication. For example, the driver can hear instructions from the navigation system without disturbing the other occupants. More about this in the chapter “The sound systems”

Ten different massage programs are available in the new S-Class. Two new programs specially designed for the S-Class use vibration motors. The effect of the relaxing massage along the lines of a hot stone massage is increased thanks to the warmth. 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. The massage programs take between eight and eighteen minutes. Their intensity can be chosen in two stages.

  • Hot Relaxing back massage
  • Hot Relaxing shoulder massage
  • Activating massage
  • Classic massage
  • Mobilizing massage
  • Wave massage
  • Active Workout backrest
  • Active Workout cushion
  • Depth massage
  • Depth workout.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The rear seats

More concentration when working, greater relaxation

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 heatable 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.

An overview of the five rear seat variants:

S-Class with … … short wheelbase … long wheelbase
Static bench seat Three-seater bench seat with centre armrest S S
Comfort seats with 19 to 37 degrees backrest angle Three-seater with electrically adjustable single seats and folding centre armrest O O
Two-seater with electrically adjustable single outer seats and Business centre console (First-Class rear) O
Executive seat (reclining seat) with 19 to (on front passenger side) 43.5° backrest angle Three-seater with electrically adjustable single outer seats and folding centre armrest
Two-seater with electrically adjustable single outer seats and Business centre console (First-Class rear) O

S = Standard, O = Optional, – = not available

An adjustable and heatable additional cushion on the head restraints is a new feature for the outer single seats. This uses an integrated heating membrane to give pleasant warmth in the occupant’s head and neck area. The heating function is activated via the seat heating. The power is conveniently and safely supplied via the push buttons of the removable cushion. The additional cushion is included in the Rear Seat Comfort package.

With the Chauffeur package (available for the S-Class with long wheelbase), the driver and front passenger can electrically move the front passenger seat to a chauffeur position. The adjustment range and angles of the front passenger seat and the reclining seat behind it have been improved in various respects: Thanks to a modified head restraint, the front passenger backrest can be folded further forward by 26°, the larger heel support has 10 millimetres more travel and, as in a train, can also be folded down as a footrest. The adjustment range of the calf rest on the Executive seat has been extended by around 50 mm compared to the previous version.

The active multicontour seats, additional warming cushions and the 8-way luxury head restraints go together to form the Rear Seat Comfort package. If single active multicontour seats are ordered, the side bolsters of the backrest and the contour in the lumbar area can be adjusted to suit the individual body shape of the occupant. A massage function is also available. The massage programs for the rear seats include: Classic Massage, Workout back and Wave massage. The massages are also available as part of ENERGIZING comfort.

If the First-Class Rear (rear centre console) is specified, the front console is visually continued on the propshaft tunnel. Two thermo-cupholders are integrated to warm or cool drinks as required. New features include a tray for the MBUX rear tablet, a black-panel surface ahead of the armrest and four USB-2 connections. The stowage tray below the armrest holds a wireless charging system for mobile phones and the receiver for car/business telephony. Similarly to an aircraft seat, the centre console optionally comes with two tables which can be easily folded in or out with one hand.

The Executive seats in the rear feature the seat cushion airbag. The airbag is located under the seat cushion upholstery, but on top of the plastic seat shell, which is moved by the seat mechanisms. This means that the airbag is always in the right position relative to the occupant. In an accident, with the occupant in a reclined position on a flat seat cushion, without additional measures there would be a danger of the pelvic area sliding beneath the belt strap (submarining). This can be prevented by the cushionbag, as it raises the front section of the seat cushion upholstery. The airbag is only activated if the seat is in the reclined position during a crash. It is not activated in the upright position, as there is then no danger of submarining.

If the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system is specified, two exciters are also integrated into each outer rear seat. With the optional seat climatization there are four radial fans in the cushion and two in the backrest of each seat. The air taken in through the perforated seat cover flows through the seat structure and is vented downwards and to the rear. This surrounds the occupants with a pleasant flow of air. In conjunction with electrically adjustable rear seats, as part of the Warmth Comfort package, surface heating for the armrests with three-stage adjustment is also available in the rear.

1 https://www.agr-ev.de/en/about-us/agr

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: the sound systems

Multi-dimensional musical enjoyment

There is a choice of two sound systems in the new S-Class. The two Burmester® systems provide multi-dimensional surround sound. 3D Surround Sound is created with the help of special Burmester® algorithms and two loudspeakers integrated into the headlining. Active actuation of each speaker by digital technologies produces an exceptionally expressive and natural sound. The Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system adds another dimension to the three-dimensional listening experience – 4D sound. This uses exciters to transfer resonance to the seats. In combination with the two Burmester® sound systems the S-Class has in-car communication. This comfort function assists communication between the occupants during a journey.

Here is an overview of the three sound systems:

Burmester® 3D surround sound system Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system
Total number of speakers 15 30
Of which
… woofers/subwoofers/tweeters
… 3D speakers
… centrefill speakers
… surround speakers
… subwoofers/mid-range
… ear-level speakers for driver/front passenger seats
2/4/4
2
1
2
2/4/7
6
1
2
4
4
Sound amplifiers 1 2
Subwoofers (litres) 18.5
Exciters 8
Total output (watts) 710 1750

30 speakers and eight exciters are included in the Burmester® high-end 430 D surround sound system. Two exciters are integrated into the backrest of each seat. Direct reproduction of the sound resonance in the seats adds another level to the three-dimensional listening experience – 4D sound. The perceived intensity of the sound can be individually adjusted for each seat. The music becomes even more emotional thanks to this feelable component. In addition to playing music, the 4D sound is used for an even more emotional function of ENERGIZING COMFORT (see corresponding chapter).

Speakers integrated into the front seats at ear level make an even further improved surround sound experience possible for all occupants. With the new drivertainment function, information from the infotainment system, e.g. navigation instructions and telephony, can be specifically directed to the driver’s seat. With sound personalization, the user can easily adapt the sound system to suit personal listening preferences. The result is saved to a personal sound set and stored in the user profile.

Two amplifiers with a total output of 1750 watts power 37 separately processed output channels. Hybrid amplifier technology with digital signal processing, analogue filters and separate power supply ensure precise and highly dynamic sound reproduction. Alongside the acoustic attributes, features such as the extending tweeters in the mirror triangle or the lighting are another highlight of the high-end sound system.

The S-Class has the in-car communication function in combination with the two Burmester® sound systems. This function makes communication between the occupants more comfortable by amplifying speech and transmitting it from the speakers. In the new S-Class Sedan, amplified speech is supported in two directions, from the driver/front passenger to the rear passengers and vice versa.

The intelligent signal processing separates voice signals from surrounding noises. The voice signals are amplified, the surrounding noises suppressed. This voice amplification takes the interior noise level into account, and dynamically adapts the amplification of the voice signals.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Climate control

Whether warm or cold: just feeling good

The climate control system is a completely new development. Improvements have been made to the acoustic properties, air quality in the interior and ease of operation and control in particular. Both the maximised cooling output and the heat output are highlights. For maximum comfort on cold days, all models with petrol engines have a 48 V PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) booster heater as standard. This heats the interior especially rapidly, and a warm outlet air temperature can be felt at once. Thermotronic with two climate zones is standard equipment, with 4-zone Thermotronic in the rear as optional equipment.

The two climate control systems share a number of other functions. For example:

  • 7 personal climate profiles can be stored, plus a guest profile.
  • Automatic switching to air recirculation when approaching a tunnel, and when the air quality sensor detects poor outside air quality. At the same time all windows and the sunroof are closed – then returned to their previous positions when switching back to fresh air. They are also closed if the air recirculation switch is pressed for longer than two seconds.
  • Residual engine heat utilization
  • 2 solar sensors (in the rain sensor and on the parcel shelf)
  • The window misting sensor in the stem of the rear-view mirror measures the window temperature and the interior humidity level. The humidity level of the intake air is also assessed. This enables the energy requirement of the compressor to be reduced in cool temperatures with dry ambient air. Energy is saved, and too dry interior air is avoided.
  • 5 sensors for the outlet air temperature (Thermotronic Rear: 4 plus 2 heat exchanger sensors)
  • 2 interior temperature sensors
  • 17 step adjustment motors to control the temperature and airflows (Thermotronic Rear: 20)
  • With ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL, Mercedes-Benz offers its customers a high-quality filter system that removes particles and pollutants from the air. This uses an innovative particle filter with activated charcoal to reduce fine dust, pollen and odours.
  • Electric refrigerant compressor (in combination with petrol engines)

AIR-BALANCE package: active fragrancing and ionization

The preceding series was the pioneer, and active fragrancing has now become a popular feature for the high-end Mercedes-Benz model series. As part of the AIR-BALANCE package, the intensity of the fragrancing can be set in three stages. Two special fragrances were created for the new S-Class: BAMBOO MOOD is an unobtrusive, light fragrance full of power and energy. Bamboo is rounded off with a hint of fresh water. COTTON MOOD is an atmospheric fragrance conveying purity and freshness. A touch of ozone conveys this first impression. A hint of green and jasmine accentuate this calming effect. Amber and musk form the basis for this fragrance.

An ioniser is integrated into the side vent in the dashboard. This ionises the air in the duct with a high voltage.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The ENERGIZING COMFORT programs

Comfortable travel while staying fit

At the touch of a button or by voice command, the holistic “Fit & Healthy” approach of ENERGIZING COMFORT provides a tangible experience of the in part significantly advanced comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programs that bundle them into worlds of experience. At the same time, the system creates a suitable atmosphere in the interior – for example, invigorating in case of fatigue or relaxing in case of an elevated stress level. The ENERGIZING COACH even suggests an appropriate fitness or wellness program based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a suitable wearable.

Mercedes-Benz has fundamentally improved ENERGIZING comfort control in the new S-Class. Innovations such as in-depth massage (see chapter on seats) and resonance transmission by the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system are integrated. 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.

Further major improvements to ENERGIZING COMFORT:

  • The character of the programs has been made more specific.
  • Some comfort systems are exclusively used by ENERGIZING comfort control. One example is a special massage procedure in the Vitality program.
  • The sequence of individual functions within a program is more flexible.
  • Visualization benefits from active ambience lighting and large screens with high-resolution animations.
  • Shared experience: other occupants can participate in an active program (Join mode), or suggest that others run this program for themselves (Share mode).
  • The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” is integrated. A statement such as “I am stressed”, for example, automatically triggers the ‘Joy’ program with regenerative character. If the driver says “I’m tired”, he/she is prompted to take a break and ENERGIZING COMFORT starts the Vitality program.
  • Each program has its own sound background composed in 7.1 surround sound by a sound agency.
  • Mercedes-Benz has developed a special ENERGIZING Comfort range in China for Chinese S-Class customers.

Two ENERGIZING packages are available for the S-Class. The package contents:

  • The ENERGIZING package Front has ENERGIZING COMFORT, ENERGIZING COACH, AIR-BALANCE package, ambience lighting, Warmth Comfort package, front seat climatization and Active Multicontour Seat package in the front.
  • The ENERGIZING package Rear extends the ENERGIZING comfort control to the rear seats. It includes seat climatization in the rear and the Seat Comfort package Rear. This package requires the optional electrically adjustable rear seats and MBUX high-end rear entertainment.

In plug-in hybrids the Power Nap program is available, a useful feature e.g. when taking a break at a service station or to charge the battery.

Here is an overview of the individual ENERGIZING COMFORT programs:

Program Purpose/Character Main components Sub-components
Freshness Refreshment on hot days or after physical effort Climate pulse (short blast of cool air), seat ventilation, deep wave massage (enlivening and stimulating vibrations in the seat cushion) Green-blue light, animation, sound, fragrancing & ionization, 4D sound setting (off)
Warmth Warmth and cosiness on cold days Seat, surface and steering wheel heating, heated neck cushion in the rear Orange-red light, animation, discreet sound, fragrancing & ionization, massage, 4D sound setting
Vitality Activation on long car journeys Stimulating sound and activating light, exclusive stimulating massage Animation, seat ventilation, fragrancing & ionization, ENERGIZING seat kinetics, 4D sound setting
Joy Creation of a positive mood, regeneration if stress level is high Mobilising massage, 4D sound with regenerating effect of low frequencies Positive sound, warm light, animation, fragrancing & ionization
Comfort Spa-character for relaxation and wellbeing Hot-stone massage (alternate shoulder and lower back massage) Violet light, animation, relaxing sound, fragrancing & ionization, 4D sound
Training Three times ten sequences for:
Muscle activation,
muscle relaxation,
alertness
Explanatory video,
voice instructions
Ambience lighting
ENERGIZING tips General notes on wellbeing Voice information about five body areas

ENERGIZING COACH: individual fitness recommendations

The ENERGIZING COACH is based on an intelligent algorithm. It recommends the Freshness, Warmth, Vitality or Joy program depending on the situation and individual. If the Mercedes-Benz vivoactive® 3 smartwatch, the Mercedes-Benz Venu® smartwatch or another compatible Garmin® wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality optimise the precision of the recommendation. Via the Mercedes me App, the smartwatch sends vital data of the wearer to the ENERGIZING COACH, e.g. pulse rate, stress level and sleep quality. The recommended comfort program can be directly started from the suggestion in the form of a notification in the MBUX system.

The aim is to ensure that the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys. In addition, the pulse rate recorded by the integrated Garmin® wearable is shown in the central display.
ENERGIZING seat kinetics: good for the back

ENERGIZING seat kinetics support orthopedically beneficial changes in the seating posture by means of minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest. The system is available for the front seats in conjunction with all-electric seat adjustment with memory function.
ENERGIZING seat kinetics uses the electric seat adjustment. If the driver selects this program, the inclination of the seat cushions and backrests is continuously adjusted minutely using the seat settings selected by the driver and the front passenger as the starting point. The changes are only minimal – a few degrees or millimetres.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics can improve spinal health, because the natural strain and relief of muscles, joints and discs can lead to muscle relaxation and an improved supply of nutrients to the joints and discs.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics is based on a patented algorithm. The program can be conveniently selected with visual support via MBUX or the voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The lighting

Bright, variable and innovative

The previously optional MULTIBEAM LED is now the standard headlamp for the S-Class. As well as variable control of low and high beam, it also features Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus. The optional DIGITAL LIGHT system enters series production for the first time at Mercedes-Benz.

In the MULTIBEAM LED headlamp, a light module with 84 LEDs arranged in three lines creates a grid in the form of a matrix. With this arrangement, not only the light distribution of the high beam but also that of the low beam is freely configurable and technically precise. MULTIBEAM LED therefore allows different light functions to actuate independently.

Digital Light: high-resolution light projection with new functions

In each headlamp, Digital Light has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs whose light is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is therefore more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle. The micro-mirrors occupy the same area as a thumbnail. A control unit with a powerful graphic processor uses an HDMI-like connection to generate a continuous video stream to the mirrors. Digital Light therefore uses the technology of video projectors. This innovative headlamp in the S-Class can be recognized by its concave lens, the lettering and shining blue floor facing.

The beam divided into 1.3 million pixels makes absolutely precise light distribution possible. It makes Highbeam Assist over 100 times more precise then 84-pixel light when excluding oncoming traffic or road signs from the light beam. Light/shadow graduations and the light distribution of all the other adaptive light functions are also realised with considerably more precision, optimising illumination by e.g. fog light, motorway light or city light.

The topographic light is another new function. This takes hills into account on the basis of navigation maps, especially crests and depressions: when cresting a hill, for example, the headlamp does not shine upwards but is pivoted down parallel to the road surface. In depressions the light beam is raised to maintain the desired range.

DIGITAL LIGHT welcomes and says farewell to the driver with a special light show.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Vehicle body and accident protection:

Stable, light and safe

Intelligent bodyshell design and innovations in restraint systems confirm the leading role of the S-Class when it comes to passive safety. The new aluminum hybrid bodyshell with an aluminum content exceeding 50 percent meets numerous requirements: A high level of crash safety, up to 60 kg less weight and a highly rigid bodyshell ensure outstanding handling characteristics accompanied by excellent noise and vibration comfort.

The bodyshell of the new S-Class was designed with a particular focus on lightweight construction. The newly developed aluminum/steel hybrid bodyshell increases the aluminum content to more than 50 percent by weight. The high proportion of aluminum is achieved by using cast and extruded structural components. This form of lightweight design and construction requires highly complex joining techniques. It demonstrates the know-how of Mercedes-Benz in the luxury sedan segment, as well as the quality arising from close, barely perceptible body joints and the highly precise fit of the design surfaces.

The extensive package of lightweight construction measures includes rigid extruded aluminum sections for the side members in the front, rear and sides. Specially developed, highly integrated diecast aluminum components are used at important nodal points in the structure.

The extremely stable side wall structure comprises the pillars, the side roof frame and the side members. The material mix of aluminum and high-strength steel alloys helps to reconcile the conflicting aims of lightweight design and crash resistance. The inner shells are partly made up of several components, with particularly large areas for the nodal points between the pillars, roof frame and side members according to the potential loads.

One-piece aluminum side wall panels are a highly effective lightweight construction feature. Particular importance was given to achieving close joints and high-quality radiuses. The body panels of the roof, hood, wings, trunk lid and doors are also of sheet aluminum.

Passenger cell: protected by ultra high-strength and press-hardened steel

The Mercedes-Benz safety cell is the centrepiece of the safety system. It has a structure of hot-formed high-strength steel cross-members in the areas of the firewall and rear end. At the sides this is complemented with extremely rigid side sills of extruded aluminum sections, which are larger than in the preceding model, with four internal chambers.

The floor structure likewise has ultra high-strength and press-hardened steel alloys combined to form a highly functional platform. The loads arising in all impact scenarios are conducted into the main floor. The robust centre tunnel and the lateral side members provide the basis for this. These assemblies are connected using further cross-members and diagonal struts. The design of this support structure makes the use of lighter floor panels possible. These make a major contribution to weight efficiency. The load resistance of the tunnel, which is especially important for frontal impacts, is achieved using connected sections of high-strength steel. The wall thicknesses vary according to expected loads.

Front: Protection of other road users

The front structure consists of an annular upper structure, the side members and the integral carrier. Additional polymer connecting elements between the crash levels ensure particularly effective energy absorption in the early phase of a crash. The integral carrier supports the engine, steering and lower suspension arms, and uses a special crash support system to direct longitudinal forces into the floor structure during a frontal collision. In the case of semi-overlapping collisions, the cross-connections in the front section are able to activate the side unaffected by the impact, e.g. the right side of the structure in case of a semi-overlapping collision on the left, and vice versa.

In cases of heavier deformation, the wheels are supported against the rigid side wall and the wheel impact element positioned ahead of it. The geometry and strength of the side sills are configured accordingly. Above the pedal floor panel the firewall is reinforced by an exterior cross-member of high-strength steel, which is supported by the A-pillars.

As well as occupant protection, compatibility with other road users was an important development objective. For this purpose, as an addition to the previous concept, the front flexural member is designed to provide an even more stable and broad impact surface for the other vehicle in an accident, for example.

Rear section: two zones with different purposes

The safety level of the rear structure is mainly achieved by a division into two crash zones. The zone housing the fuel tank components is kept almost deformation-free by cast aluminum sections. The purpose of the crumple zone behind this is mainly to dissipate impact energy with the help of extruded aluminum structures. In the case of a semi-overlapping collision, the rear flexural member directs the loads into the side unaffected by the impact, so that both side member paths can be activated.

Restraint systems: innovations for passengers in the rear

Especially in the S-Class, particular attention has always been paid to safety in the rear. In this respect, Mercedes-Benz has long devoted itself to extending the airbag and belt systems. Large windowbags cover the side windows like a curtain. These can be triggered according to the type of impact, e.g. a severe lateral collision or a rollover. The outer seat belts are equipped with belt tensioners and belt force limiters as standard, helping to reduce the loads acting on the occupants. Rear sidebags are optionally available, as is the beltbag: as an inflatable belt strap it distributes the loads acting on the upper body over a wider area.

The rear airbag is an innovation by Mercedes-Benz: this additional airbag can further improve the safely level of passengers in the rear during a severe frontal collision (see “Under the microscope”). However it still remains important for the occupants to wear seat belts. In the rear this is made more intuitive by the optional, illuminated designer belt buckles.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: the rear airbag

Frontal airbags for both rear occupants for the first time

Last year, in the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF, 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 with long wheelbase. 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 occupants on the outer rear seats.

The rear airbag uses an innovative concept to inflate and position the air cushion. To this end, is has a special tubular structure which is rapidly inflated by compressed gas from a cold gas generator. The space between is filled with ambient air. Patented valves ensure that the air is retained when the occupant is immersed in the airbag, creating the protective effect. The tubular structure itself has a content of approx. 16 litres. The effective volume of the space in between is up to 70 litres. The airbag volume is configured so that a rear occupant wearing a seat belt can be protected before contacting the front seats.

Designing a rear airbag for a frontal collision requires a different concept from a conventional driver or front passenger airbag. This is because the spatial parameters are different, occupant behaviour varies widely and the airbag must be accommodated in the adjustable backrest of the front seat. In addition, children and adults sit very differently in the rear of a vehicle.

Particular attention was therefore given to gentle deployment of the airbag in case people or objects are in the deployment zone. The special design of this new airbag decisively contributes to compliance with the in-house requirements of Mercedes‑Benz, some of which were derived from tests on front passenger airbags. The inflating tubes give way when contacting obstructions, e.g. a child seat in the rearfacing position. The force is directed mainly past the obstacle as of a certain counterforce rather than against it.

The airbag enhances the restraining effect of the belt system, and can support the head and neck to decrease the loads on them significantly. In combination with a beltbag, the inflatable seat belt and the seat cushion airbag of the Executive seat, the S-Class sets new standards for rear seat occupant safety.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: protective measures in a side crash

Additional side impact protection

New protective features for a severe lateral impact are introduced with the new S-Class. A suspension-based function has been added to the innovative PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side: when a side impact threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional) within a few tenths of a second.

PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, an innovation in the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2009, had its world production premiere in 2015. The idea: to make use of the time before the impact, the system moves the occupant away from the door panel and towards the centre of the vehicle just before an impending side collision. To do this, the system inflates the air chambers in the side bolsters of the backrest within a fraction of a second when an imminent side impact is detected. This impulse not only moves the occupant away from the danger zone, increasing the distance from the door, as the impulse is also moderately transferred to the occupant. It mitigates the forces acting on him/her during a lateral impact. This can substantially lessen the load exerted on the ribcage by the side collision, and greatly reduce the risk of injury.

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 the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional) within a few tenths of a second. Radar sensors are used to recognise a potential side crash. The actuator is the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which can raise the body upwards by up to 80 millimetres. 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.

During a severe side impact, 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 centre airbag is triggered when a severe side collision is recognised and certain conditions are met. The main factors for deployment are the direction of impact, impact side, and front passenger seat occupancy.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Under the microscope: GUARD 360

Intelligent interlinking of hardware and digital solutions for protection against crime

Under the name GUARD 360, Mercedes-Benz is introducing a new, comprehensive product and optional equipment category for all model series. It bundles together existing and future products for the protection of the vehicle against vandalism and crime. With GUARD 360 – an intelligent interlinking of hardware and digital solutions – Mercedes-Benz satisfies the worldwide rise in customer demand for security and property protection.

In conjunction with Mercedes me, the two packages GUARD 360 Vehicle Protection and GUARD 360 Vehicle Protection Plus enable all-round monitoring of the parked vehicle. GUARD 360 comprises an anti-theft alarm system, tow-away protection with visual and audible warning in case of a detected change in position, an alarm siren, interior monitoring (triggered by movement in the interior) and preinstallation for theft and parking collision detection. In the case of the latter, the vehicle sensors register when the parked and locked vehicle is bumped or towed – or when someone attempts to break into the vehicle. If the service is active, the driver immediately receives detailed information via the Mercedes me App. By means of a push notification, he/she finds out how severe the parking damage is and in which area of the vehicle it occurred, for example. As soon as the vehicle is restarted, this information also appears once in the central display.

Vehicles with GUARD 360 package bear a special label. This warns potential thieves that the vehicle is specially protected.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Powertrain

More electrification, more efficiency

When the new S-Class is launched, six-cylinder in-line gas and a V8 engine with integrated starter generator (ISG) and a 48-volt onboard electrical will be available. A plug-in hybrid with an estimated all-electric range of around 100 km will follow.

With the introduction of the integrated starter-generator (ISG) in the S-Class powered by the M 256 six-cylinder in-line engine in 2017, the 48 volt onboard electrical system celebrated its world premiere. The ISG is responsible for hybrid functions such as boost or energy recovery, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.

Intelligent, forced induction that includes an electric booster compressor, as well as the integrated starter alternator (ISG) provide outstanding power delivery without turbo lag. In addition, the engine starts extremely quickly and comfortably, making the start/stop function almost imperceptible to the driver.

In addition, systematic electrification dispenses with the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design as an in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for a near-engine emission control system. The 48 V on-board electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.

The model range at the launch of the S-Class in Canada2

S 500 4MATIC Short Wheelbase S 580 4MATIC Long Wheelbase
Transmission automatic 9G-TRONIC 9G-TRONIC
Engine (Series, no. of cylinders, arrangement) M256, 6 in-line M176, V8
Displacement

cc

2,999 3,982
Output

hp

tbd tbd
Add. Output with EQ Boost

hp

tbd tbd
Peak torque

lb-ft

tbd tbd
Acceleration 0-100 km/h

s

4.9 tbd
Top speed

km/h

250 250

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
History

Setting the standard in the luxury class for many decades

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class follows a long tradition that extends back to the beginnings of the Mercedes brand in the early 20th Century. With the experience gained from 135 years of automobile engineering, Mercedes-Benz produces vehicles that take care of their occupants’ safety and offers a comprehensive luxury experience that leaves owners more time for the important things in life. Each model has decisively influenced the automotive engineering of its era. Well before the official designation S-Class, the models in the executive and luxury class were the mainstay of the Stuttgart-based company’s portfolio and have always stood for luxury, comfort, safety and lifestyle. The continuous ancestry of the S-Class begins with the model 220 (W 187) of 1951.

The unrivalled tradition of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has roots that extend back to the beginnings of the Mercedes brand in the early 20th century. One early and very telling example is the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP presented in 1903. In subsequent years, the product ranges of the Mercedes and Benz brands always featured several models in the executive and luxury class. Although open touring cars were the most popular body type at this time, the more powerful models in particular were also offered as luxurious sedans.

All this changed in the mid-1920s. In a time of increasing motorization and traffic densities which the development of the road network was unable to match, safe driving characteristics, a comfortable interior and the best possible protection from wind, rain and dust became increasingly important. Sedan cars and Pullman models gradually prevailed over the open touring models. Important executive and luxury class models during this period were the supercharged Mercedes six-cylinder 15/70/100 hp and 24/100/140 hp models which appeared at the end of 1924. In 1928, following the 1926 merger between the two previously independent companies founded by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler to form Daimler-Benz AG, the model range was joined by the Model Nürburg 460 (W 08) as the first Mercedes-Benz production car with an eight-cylinder engine. With continuous further developments it remained in the model range until 1939, with the Model 500 as the last variant. From 1926 the entry-level model to the Mercedes-Benz executive class was the six-cylinder 12/55 HP, which was developed further to culminate in the Mercedes-Benz Mannheim 370 (W 10) introduced in 1931. 1933 saw the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 290 (W 18) as a completely new design which was replaced by the Model 320 (W 142) in 1937.

When the model range was expanded with the Model 170 S from the lineage of the E-Class, company chairman Wilhelm Haspel introduced the S as the new model designation in 1949. He declared that the letter S stood for “Super” or “Special”. Since the launch of the 220 S in 1956, it has been in continuous use by Mercedes-Benz in the luxury segment. The designation “S-Class” was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972.

From the W 187 to the “Ponton Mercedes” (1951 to 1959)

In the post-war period, the direct lineage of the S-Class began with the six-cylinder Model 220 (W 187), with which Mercedes-Benz reentered the upper-class segment in 1951. In 1954 this was followed by a completely new model with the same designation. The new Model 220, also known internally as the 220 a (W 180), was the first Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder model of monocoque construction.

Its modern, spacious “Ponton” body provided a previously unknown level of comfort. In 1956, with the introduction of the improved and more powerful Model 220 S, the letter S became a permanent fixture in the nomenclature of the Mercedes-Benz luxury class. 1958 saw the début of the 220 SE (W 128), a more powerful variant of the luxury class model by virtue of petrol injection.

From the “Tailfin” to the high-performance sedan (1959 to 1972)

The “Tailfin” models 220, 220 S and 220 SE (W 111) introduced in 1959 derived their nickname from the guide fins on the rear wings. This new generation of the luxury class was a special milestone in automotive history, as this was when the safety body with crumple zones and a rigid passenger cell conceived by Béla Barényi first entered series production. The top model in this series, the 300 SE (W 112) presented in 1961, featured an air suspension system and the automatic transmission newly developed by Mercedes-Benz as standard.

In 1963 the long-wheelbase version of this model founded a new tradition for the luxury class sedans of Mercedes-Benz: The 100-millimetre longer wheelbase gave passengers in the rear a significant increase in legroom and travelling comfort. In 1965 the sedans of the 108 and 109 series replaced the “Tailfin” models. These distinguished themselves with their elegant, timeless design and generously sized windows. As well as models with a conventional steel suspension – internally designated the 108 series – there were air-sprung variants (109 series) which were likewise available with a longer wheelbase. In 1968 the 300 SEL 6.3 was presented as a special highlight. The new top model in the series was equipped with the powerful V8 engine of the Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100), and offered sports car-like performance together with outstanding comfort.

Automotive trendsetters: the 116 and 126 series (1972 to 1991)

The name given to the 116 series introduced in 1972 now expressed what had been the norm at Mercedes-Benz for decades: the luxury class sedans bearing the “S” in their model designations were now officially known as the S-Class. The new designation was accompanied by a wealth of innovations. The integral safety concept included e.g. the collision-protected fuel tank, a four-spoke safety steering wheel, anti-soiling side windows, large headlamps, conspicuous indicators and ribbed, dirt-repelling rear lights. In 1977, the diesel era began in the luxury class with the 300 SD, though initially only for the North American markets. At the same time, the luxury diesel was the first production car with a turbodiesel engine. From 1978 the S-Class was the world’s first car to be available with the anti-lock braking system ABS, which ensures steerability even during emergency braking. A world sensation at the time, ABS is nowadays an automotive standard.

The technology transfer from the S-Class to the other Mercedes-Benz model series, and then to the models of other manufacturers until it became state of the art, was systematically continued in subsequent years. In the 126 series introduced in 1979, the airbag became a central element in automobile safety in 1981. Other attributes of this S-Class generation were the aerodynamically optimized shape and systematic weight reduction for lower pollutant emissions, partly thanks to new light-alloy V8 engines. The 126 series also made its mark in terms of design: It was the first Mercedes-Benz passenger car to dispense with traditional chrome bumpers in favour of deformable plastic bumpers that could withstand a minor parking collision without damage.

Luxury in its highest form: the 140 and 220 series (1991 to 2005)

In 1991 the 140-series S-Class was the new flagship model. Its developers concentrated on maximum comfort, for example through generous dimensions and double glazing for optimized acoustic insulation. The top 600 SE and 600 SEL models were the first Mercedes-Benz production cars to be powered by a V12 engine. The entry level in terms of power was marked by the 300 SD Turbodiesel, which now made the luxury class diesel available outside North America as well. This generation of the S-Class likewise introduced a trailblazing safety innovation in automobile engineering: ESP®, which became standard equipment in the V12 variants from 1995 and was optional equipment for the V8 models. Brake Assist BAS was added in the following year.

When the time for a model changeover came in 1998, the new 220-series S-Class was given a more understated design. The major development aims were to save weight while further improving safety and comfort. Despite dispensing with the weight-intensive double glazing, the new model generation offered even further improved comfort thanks to e.g. the new, electronically controlled AIRMATIC air suspension, the control and display system COMAND and the innovative intelligent cruise control system DISTRONIC. The active Active Body Control (ABC) suspension available from 1999 reduced body roll and achieved a previously unknown level of refinement. Customers with sporty ambitions were attracted to the S 55 AMG: an AMG model was officially shown in the S-Class price list for the first time. In autumn 2002, the S 600 as the regular top model without an AMG badge was treated to a power increase which enabled it to break the 368 kW (500 hp) barrier for the first time. At the same time a further trailblazing innovation had its debut on the 220 series: the preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. With the model facelift, Mercedes-Benz also offered the S-Class with the intelligent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC for the first time.

Trailblazing innovations: the 221 series (2005 to 2013)

The 221 model generation presented in 2005 combined an expressive exterior with a luxurious interior. The central controller of the further improved COMAND system allowed fast and intuitive control of the increasingly complex functions and menus. The pioneering technical innovations included active Night View Assist and further developments of the distance control system DISTRONIC PLUS and Brake Assist Plus, which were expanded to form PRE-SAFE® Brake with autonomous partial braking in 2006. Further assistance systems such as Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Speed Limit Assist also relieved the driver’s workload.

The updated generation of the 221 series appeared in 2009. The S 400 HYBRID was the first luxury-class vehicle with a hybrid drive system, and also the first standard-production passenger car with a lithium-ion battery. Introduced in 2010, the S 350 BlueTEC as a diesel variant and the S 350 and S 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with economical and powerful direct-injection petrol engines were models of efficiency. In early 2011 Mercedes-Benz introduced a highly-efficient four-cylinder engine into the S-Class for the first time with the S 250 CDI.

With networked safety systems: the 222 series (2013 to 2020)

The 222-series S-Class introduced in 2013 set new technical standards, e.g. as the first car in the world to dispense completely with light bulbs and feature only energy-saving LED technology both in the exterior and interior. Outstanding efficiency was ensured by modern powertrains, also using hybrid technology.

The S-Class became even more of a guiding star in automobile development with the Intelligent Drive system. It is under this name that Mercedes-Benz groups all of its networked safety and driving assistance systems. Intelligent Drive makes driving even safer and more comfortable than before. These also include assistance systems that relieve driver stress and can make semi-automated driving possible.

As early as August 2013, the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle covered the historic Bertha-Benz route from Mannheim to Pforzheim to show how the future of autonomous driving might look with such networked technologies: Its systems were able to master the highly complex requirements of an autonomous journey along country roads and in urban traffic.

The next development stage of Intelligent Drive took another major step towards autonomous driving in the facelifted variant of the 222 series, which was presented in summer 2017: For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist give the driver even more convenient support when keeping a safe distance and steering. Standard equipment for the 222-series S-Class from model year 2017 included Active Brake Assist, Crosswind Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST, Traffic Sign Assist, the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® and the new PRE-SAFE® Sound.

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Glossary

The major innovations in detail

3D driver display: An impression of spatial depth is created when the eyes of a viewer perceive different perspective views of an object in the display. In this innovative auto-stereoscopic display, this is achieved by the sophisticated combination of a conventional LCD display with a special pixel structure and a controllable LCD aperture grille. What is known as a barrier mask is positioned a few millimetres in front of the LCD. It is so precisely adjusted to the head position of the viewer that the left and right eye see different pixels of the LCD. This creates the desired impression of depth. A stereo camera system is integrated into the display. This is used to precisely determine the eye position of the viewer. Thanks to methods developed by Mercedes-Benz to adapt distances and a very low-latency system configuration, the driver enjoys a wide range of free movement. The image in the driver display is continuously adjusted.

4D sound system: As well as 31 speakers of which two are Frontbass versions, the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system has eight exciters. Two exciters are integrated into the backrest of each seat. Direct reproduction of the sound resonance in the seats adds another level to the three-dimensional listening experience – 4D sound. The perceived intensity of the sound can be individually adjusted for each seat. The music becomes even more emotional thanks to this feelable component. In addition to music reproduction, the 4D sound is also used to create an even more emotional function of Energizing Comfort. Two amplifiers with a total output of 1750 watts power 37 separately processed output channels. Hybrid amplifier technology with digital signal processing, analogue filters and separate power supply ensure precise and highly dynamic sound reproduction.

Active ambience lighting: This uses fibre optics made of a transparent material. The light of the primary colours red, green and blue generated by the LEDs is reflected at the boundary between the optically more dense and the optically less dense material. In addition to a static light, the colours can alternate along the entire fibre optics in order to stage productions. The active ambient lighting is generated by a light band comprised of about 250 LEDs distributed side by side at a distance of 1.6 centimetres in the vehicle interior as an additional light plane. The optics are designed to create a continuous line of light. The networked LEDS are controlled in real time via a CAN data bus. Thanks to the actuation frequency of up to 25 Hz, the human eye is able to perceive dynamic lighting scenarios.

Augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD): Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request, one of them an innovative AR variant with a particularly large image. The aperture angle of the display is 10° horizontal and 5° vertical, and the image appears virtually at a distance of 10 metres. This display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal. The AR-HUD provides a great deal of augmented reality content for driving assistance systems and navigation information. For the driver this blends into the surroundings ahead of the vehicle, and can therefore contribute to further reduced distraction. The image-forming unit (DMD, digital mirror device by Texas Instruments) consists of a high-resolution matrix of 1.3 mill. Individual mirrors and a highly efficient light source. The technology is also used by projectors in cinemas. In the S-Class it is used by Mercedes-Benz for the first time to generate images in the head-up display.

Drivertainment: Ear-level speakers integrated into the front seats make for further improved surround sound. With the new drivertainment function, information from the infotainment system, e.g. navigation instructions and telephony, can be specifically directed to the driver’s seat.

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL: adds semi-supporting hydropneumatics to the air suspension. The air springs bear the base load of the vehicle body and gradually regulate the level. The hydraulics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body, e.g. during longitudinal and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads. At each wheel, a damper is installed within the axle with two working chambers that have an adjustable damping valve and a hydraulic pressure reservoir. The damper is connected to an intelligent motor/pump unit in the 48 V network by hydraulic lines. Actuation of the motor/pump unit enables the hydraulic fluid to be displaced to create a difference in pressure within the damper, allowing an active force to be generated. The motor/pump units at all four wheels are coordinated by a central control unit which also actuates the valves and the compressor for the air springs, and therefore always controls the entire suspension system.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics: ENERGIZING seat kinetics uses the electric seat adjustment. If the driver selects this program, the inclination of the seat cushions and backrests is continuously adjusted minutely using the seat settings selected by the driver and the front passenger as the starting point. The changes are only minimal – a few degrees or millimetres. If multicontour seats are installed, the ENERGIZING seat kinetics also includes the lumbar support function. ENERGIZING seat kinetics improves spinal health, because the natural strain and relief of muscles, joints and discs can lead to muscle relaxation and an improved supply of nutrients to the joints and discs. ENERGIZING seat kinetics is based on a patented algorithm. Convenient selection of the programs is visually supported via the central display of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).

Rear airbag: Cylindrical, tubular structures are inflated with compressed gas and deploy a wing-shaped structure. A large, tent-like airbag deploys between the two wings, and this is inflated by the surrounding air via specially patented valves in the skin. These valves are designed to hinder the escape of air when the rear passenger is immersed in the airbag. The comparatively small volume of the tubes allows rapid deployment of a relatively large airbag volume. This takes place with comparatively low force and a low risk of injury, as the tubular wings give way to obstacles. The airbag enhances the restraining effect of the belt system, and can support the head and neck to decrease the loads on them significantly. In combination with a beltbag and the inflatable seat belt, the S-Class sets new standards for rear seat occupant safety.

Rear-axle steering: An electric motor drives a spindle at the rear axle via a drive belt. This makes axial adjustments to the spindle. Depending on the speed and the steering angle, the rear wheels are turned in the same or the opposite direction as the front wheels (same-direction or counter-direction steering). In simplified terms, this produces more agility and a smaller turning circle by counter-steering and more stability with same-direction steering. In the S-Class, the full steering angle of ten degrees is especially used during parking manoeuvres. The environmental data of the vehicle sensors (radar, camera, ultrasonic) are used for large steering angles, to adapt the maximum angle to the relevant situation. The system switches from counter-direction to same-direction steering at more than 60 km/h. The different driving modes rely on different steering strategies. The respective rear-axle angles and trajectories are shown in the driving mode menu in the central display. The 10° rear axle steering has a special snowchain mode. When activated by the driver, the steering angle at the rear axle is reduced and the steering characteristics are adapted for the special conditions of surface snow.

Sound personalization: With this function the user can experiment and adjust the sound system to his/her personal listening preferences. The result is saved to a personal sound set and stored in the user profile.

MBUX Interior Assist: Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognizes 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. For example, if the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, MBUX Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind. If the driver is looking for something on the front passenger seat in the dark, it automatically switches the light on. Merely looking at one of the outside mirrors is enough to allow adjustment, without having to select it first. Natural hand movements are also recognised, and the driver or passengers can open the sliding sunroof touch-free. Preferred functions can be accessed with the help of the favourites gesture (hand with the index and middle finger spread in a V-shape). The driver and passengers can link personal favourites with the system. As well as enhancing operating convenience, MBUX Interior Assist improves safety. It checks whether a child seat on the front passenger seat is correctly attached, for example.

OLED technology: The abbreviation stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. In contrast to LCD technology, an OLED display consists of several organic layers applied to a plastic substrate. The OLED display in the S-Class has a single facing, and provides a comprehensive control and display experience in combination with the actuators and pressure sensors behind it. Evaluation of the pressure exerted and haptic confirmation of touch commands makes extended functionalities possible. OLED panels emit light when subjected to an electric current, and unlike an LCD they do not require external background lighting. Power is only consumed where pixels light up. Among other benefits, this ensures a better black level and even stronger contrasts. When showing typical video sequences, OLED technology has an up to 30 percent lower energy consumption than LCD technology.

PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side: In addition to the familiar functions, the body of the new S-Class can be slightly raised just before the collision when a side impact threatens. The side-mounted radar sensors are able to recognise and track a potential side crash at an early stage. The actuator is the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which can raise the body upwards by up to 80 millimetres. This reduces the loads on the door structures, as the door sill can absorb more of the load thanks to its higher position. As a result, deformation of the passenger cell and the loads acting on the occupants can be reduced.

Voice assistant “Hey Mercedes”: Conventional voice control systems in cars call for certain fixed commands from their users. Because it understands natural language, “Hey Mercedes” listens to almost every word and understands practically any sentence relating to the infotainment sector and vehicle operation in 27 languages. Indirect speech is also recognised, for instance if the user says “I am cold” instead of the clear command “Temperature in footwell 24 degrees” in order to operate the climate control for the footwell. The voice control is also capable of learning. On the one hand it tunes into the user and their voice and also understands non-native speakers better; on the other hand the software models on the server learn new buzzwords or changing use of language with time. The system also no longer answers stereotypically, but varies in the dialogue output too. The fundamental way the language assistant operates: the voice input is freed from background noises, compressed and transmitted. Both the head unit in the vehicle and the server evaluate the data and send a reply. The system decides which reply is the most likely, then within a few seconds the reply/reaction follows. This means that the voice assistant also answers if there is no connectivity. “Hey Mercedes” is now available to every seat occupant.

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