Continuing its slow drip treatment on the information of the upcoming S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has now unveiled many of the new innovations in the safety department on the full-sized luxury sedan in its second entry of its Meet the S-Class Digital series, ahead of its official premiere in September this year – including the world’s first forward airbag for the rear passengers.
Available with the S-Class Executive Rear Seat Package, the rear airbags uses cylindrical, tubular structures that are inflated with compressed air upon impact, forming a “wing-shaped” structure. A large, “tent-like” airbag then deploys in the centre portion of the frame structure.
Unlike the regular airbags at the front, the German carmaker says that the new tubular design allows for rapid deployment of a relatively large airbag volume. The whole process also happens at a comparatively low force, and thus resulting in a lower risk of injury.
The rear airbags work in conjunction with the new inflatable seat belts, which also comes with optional illuminated “designer belt buckles” to make fastening the seat belts easier, and probably make you look good while doing so.
The rear passengers are not the only ones getting new safety and airbag tech. Between the two front passengers, Mercedes-Benz is also adding a new centre airbag to prevent the clashing of two heads, especially during side impacts.
As an added protection against side impacts, the new optional E-Active Body Control feature enabled by the 48-volt chassis can raise the entire car by 80 mm when it detects an imminent side impact, therefore channelling the main brunt force to the more resilient lower structures, reducing damage to the main passenger cell.
The E-Active Body Control also integrates directly into the much more powerful new MBUX system, using the 20 sensors and a stereo camera to scan the road surfaces more than 1,000 times a second to adapt the suspension accordingly, resulting in a smoother drive over road imperfections.
Additionally, the system can also actively adjust the dampers and spring rates in anticipation of a bend, or even actively “lean” into the corner, which can be especially helpful for passengers prone to motion sickness.
On the topic of turns and bends, the upcoming S-Class will be the first Mercedes-Benz to feature a rear-wheel steering, with up to 10 degrees of articulation. As a result, Mercedes claims that the upcoming S-Class will be as manoeuvrable as a compact car, boasting a turning circle of less than 11 metres (turning radius lesser than 5.5 metres).
The Driving Assistance Package has also been improved, with new functions such as Active Blind Spot Assist that has been detailed in the previous entry, the Active Steering Assist that will automatically move the car aside to allow for emergency services vehicles to pass through, as well as a new and improved parking assist system.
Just like the AEB system that was first introduced to Mercedes-Benz models starting from the S-Class nearly 20 years ago, we can definitely expect to see these new features slowly trickle down into the rest of the three-pointed star’s model line-up.
The full episode of the digital presentation can be viewed here, if you’re interested.