As the spearhead for Mercedes, the aim of the S-Class is simply to be the best automobile in the world.
The essence of luxury is borne out of the pursuit of absolute perfection, to the last detail. This is most notable in the interior, from the seats to the air conditioning, controls and design.
These same principles apply to safety, which - when merged with comfort - is what Mercedes refers to as Intelligent Drive.
Efficient technology is obtained by making this model as aerodynamic as possible, together with improved fuel consumption. Case in point: with its class-leading drag coefficient of 0.24, the 150kW S350 BlueTEC Hybrid will sip just 4.4 litres/100km.
Regarding its exterior styling, the radiator grille is now bigger, more upright and three-dimensional in design. The new S-Class has classic saloon proportions, with its long bonnet, the flowing, domed roof line and the gently slanting rear end. The powerful roof line is also in keeping with the car’s sporty coupé-style intentions.
The brand’s hallmark Dropping Line - a character line descending discreetly from front to rear - elegantly structures the side wall and generates additional dynamism.
In another world-first, the S-Class doesn’t feature a single light bulb, inside or out. Almost 500 LEDs illuminate the road, vehicle, interior and boot. Depending on equipment, these include up 56 LEDs for each of the headlamps, up to 35 for the tail lights (plus four for the rear fog lamps), as well as approximately 300 for the interior (including ambient lighting).
The S-Class range will consist of four models during its first year, consisting of two hybrids (S300 BlueTEC Hybrid and S400 Hybrid), one petrol (S500) and one diesel (S350 BlueTEC).
The suspension also features Merc’s new Road Surface Scan (available as an option on eight-cylinder models), which detects bumps in the road by means of a stereo camera, after which Magic Body Control will instantaneously set up the suspension to deal with the new situation.
The interior of the S-Class embodies a classic, superior and cutting-edge saloon.
Its expressive character derives from a uniquely fluid, sensuously elegant style. High quality and elegance harmonise with clarity and functionality. The use of materials and colours is perfectly coordinated and produces an exclusive interior that seems to be cast from a single mould. There is generous use of wood trim and metallised switch surfaces with pearl-effect paint finishes in three colour shades.
Passengers in the rear are also seated in first class. As an additional individualisation feature, the ‘First Class Rear’ incorporates a business centre console, combining personal comfort with practical convenience, like integration of a telephone handset, additional stowage compartments, folding table and more.
Two high-resolution 12.3-inch TFT colour displays form the new information centre in the S-Class. The left-hand display provides the driver with all relevant information, as was the case with the previous model. The right-hand display, however, allows the convenient control of infotainment and comfort functions. Ergonomics, operating convenience and safety - along with attractiveness and aesthetics - were the main considerations here.
The new control features include a touch-sensitive telephone keypad and an extended favourites function with 12 freely selectable memory places. The principal control element is the rotary push button, with the usual direct access keys in the centre console for the most important functions and a toolbar for the driving assistance systems.
The development focus was on the long-wheelbase version for the first time, with the short-wheelbase derived from this. Whereas S-Class owners in the North America and Europe frequently drive the car themselves, Mercedes is positioning this prestige saloon as a chauffer-driven vehicle in Asia.
Mercedes-Benz has also raised seating and climatic comfort in the S-Class to a new level. The Energizing massage function, based on the hot-stone principle, is a world first. This unique massage function features 14 separately actuated air cushions in the backrest, as well as an integrated warming function. There is a choice of six massage programmes, two of which using the warming function. This system is also available for the rear seats.
In terms of safety, Mercedes has moved the game on once again. It introduced the ground-breaking PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system 10 years ago, which has been undergoing continuous refinement ever since.
New functions include PRE-SAFE braking, which can detect pedestrians and initiate autonomous breaking to avoid collision at speeds of up to 48km/h. PRE-SAFE Plus recognises an imminent rear-end collision and warns the following traffic by activating a rear hazard warning lights at a high frequency. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the stationary vehicle’s brakes and thus minimise the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by the impact. This can also reduce the risk of secondary accidents. Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection measures, especially the reversible belt tensioners, are deployed.
With PRE-SAFE® Impulse, the driver and front passenger are pulled away from the direction of impact by their seat belts at an early phase of the crash before the resulting occupant deceleration sets in. This can substantially reduce the risk and severity of injuries in a frontal collision.
All the above-mentioned features are just the very tip of the iceberg. The S-Class is stacked with technology that you never thought could actually exist.
It’s a thing of absolute beauty and will most definitely remain the ultimate in luxury motoring.