After months and months of teasers and previews, we’ve now finally gotten the last missing piece of the puzzle as Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled the all-new S-Class, set to take the luxury sedan segment by storm thanks to the densely packed technologies.
As we’ve seen from the leaks, the all-new S-Class features a completely new exterior design, with many elements borrowed from the other new Mercedes-Benz stablemates. The entire front fascia is dominated by the new ginormous grille, which is now more angular, and sports a slimmer chrome surround.
Despite its large size though, it doesn’t really look all that out of place (ahem, BMW 7 Series), giving the luxury sedan a strong imposing stature. A plastic panel houses all of the advanced driver assistance sensors and radars, and as is standard on the S-Class, the three-pointed star stands loud and proud on top of the bonnet – no matter which variant.
The new grille is flanked by slimmer headlights, featuring an eyebrow style boomerang daytime-running light signature that also works as the turn indicators. Multibeam LED headlights are standard, while an optional Digital Light system uses 1.3-million micro-mirrors to refract and direct more than 2.6-million individual light beams from three extremely-powerful LEDs onto the road.
Thanks to the extremely high resolution (more than your regular 1080p video), the Digital Light headlights can even project important information such as warning symbols onto the road surface, or even highlight pedestrians on the road. It’s integrated right into the new MBUX system, and will also adjust its beam based on the topography with information extracted from the navigation system.
The body panels on the side of the all-new S-Class have been cleaned up, with the character line now moved upwards sitting just below the window sills, and has also been extended even further rearwards, almost connecting the headlights and taillights together.
For an even cleaner look, customers can opt for the pop-up door handles that retracts flush into the doors when not in use. Wheel options range from 18-inch to 21-inch items depending on the variants selected.
At the back, the designers took inspiration from the new CLS for the taillights, which are now two-piece horizontal items, joined by a chrome strip across the entire boot lid. The taillights feature tiny individual lighting elements, which can be used for displaying lighting animations.
Despite having a very similar exterior shape to the outgoing model, Mercedes-Benz said that that the drag coefficient of the new S-Class has been dropped to 0.22 (from 0.24), making it one of the most aerodynamic series production model. The use of aluminium in its underbody structure also helps bring down the weight by up to 60 kg, despite being larger in size.
Sticking to the S-Class’s reputation, Mercedes-Benz has fitted a whole boatload of cutting-edge technology onto the all-new luxury sedan, especially within the nautical-inspired cabin.
We’ve covered some of the main features including the new portrait-oriented MBUX infotainment display in a previous entry, but key highlights include the new active interior ambient lighting, three-dimensional digital instrument cluster with eye tracking, augmented-reality head-up display, driver profile authentication via fingerprint, facial, or voice recognition, over-the-air updates, as well as the first-ever rear-passenger frontal airbags.
Being an S-Class, passenger comfort is obviously of the upmost importance. Aside from the improved driving position, redesigned seats, and increased legroom, rear passengers will have a choice of five different seating positions, including the conventional fixed backrests and reclining options, as well as an executive seat option with extended reclining capabilities, and a fixed first-class-style centre console.
At launch, the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be available in four different powertrain options, with the 4Matic all-wheel drive system pretty much standard across the board barring one diesel option. On the petrol side, a 3.0-litre M256 turbocharged inline-six engine makes up the S 450 4Matic (367 hp, 500 Nm) and S 500 4Matic (435 hp, 520 Nm).
Both petrol variants include a 48V integrated starter/generator that provides an additional 22 hp and 250 Nm of boost when needed. As a result, the S 450 does the century sprint in just 5.1 seconds, while the S 500 shaves off an additional 0.2 seconds to 4.9 seconds.
On the diesel end, both the S 350 d and S 400 d 4Matic are powered by a 3.0litre OM656 inline-six turbodiesel, delivering 286 hp and 600 Nm on the 350 d, and 330 hp and 700 Nm for the S 400 d 4Matic.
The company says that further drivetrains will follow, including a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine with 48V mild-hybrid technology for the S580, as well as the S580e which pairs the M256 three-litre inline-six engine with a gearbox-mounted electric motor for a combined output of 517 hp.
Autocar UK also reports that a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 will be available on the Maybach S650 variant, while two AMG badged models – the S63e 4Matic+ and S73e 4Matic+ – is currently under final development, powered by the turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine paired to an electric motor on the rear axle.
Other driving improvements include a standard-fit Airmatic air suspension with adaptive dampers, along with a new optional E-Active Body Control system which uses the 48V electric power to provide active damping on each corners, keeping the car level during acceleration, braking, or even on rougher terrains thanks to the Road Surface Scan feature. The Curve function also allows the car to tilt into a corner much like a motorcycle, enhancing cornering abilities and reducing lateral forces on the occupants.
The all-new S-Class also comes with an upgraded rear-wheel steering system, with an optional package to increase the rear-wheel steering angle up to 10 degrees. Despite its size, Mercedes-Benz says that its turning diameter of under 11 metres is comparable to the compact A-Class.
We’d imagine the rear-wheel steering also helps immensely with parking the large luxury sedan, though if you really don’t want to do it yourself, there’s a new Intelligent Parking Pilot to park the car for you without needing a driver – which means it’s a Level 4 autonomous feature. The system is currently undergoing certification to be approved for legal use.
On the roads, the all-new S-Class is capable of a Level 3 autonomous driving on selected highway sections in dense traffic, at up to speeds of 60 km/h. The new Drive Pilot system allows drivers to go hands-off for extended periods using lidar sensors and additional cameras. The system will be rolled out in Germany starting in the second half of next year, and will soon be activated in other countries once they’ve gotten the required legal certifications. The performance of the system can also be improved via over-the-air updates over time.
Other driver assistance features have also been upgraded, including the autonomous emergency braking with improved cross traffic and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control which can now prevent collisions at up to 130 km/h, lane centering assist, lane change assist, evasive steering assist, active emergency stop assist, blind spot monitoring, as well as the parking assist system.