The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan will envelop the driving force and passengers in unparalleled layers of consolation, security, expertise, and — this can be a German automobile, in any case — efficiency. Most lively and passive security expertise comes normal, which is each good and about what you’d anticipate when the least costly S-Class offered within the US begins at $96,000 (estimated).
The S-Class offered fewer than 71,000 models worldwide final 12 months, largely in China, Germany, and the US. However the midsize E-Class and compact E-Class every offered 5 occasions as many models, and far of the S-Class tech trickles down shortly. (Complete 2019 Mercedes, Daimler, and Good gross sales: 2.four million.)
The US market will get the long-wheelbase S-Class solely, which is 208 inches lengthy. It can function V6, V8, and plug-in hybrid variations; no diesel or four-cylinder right here. Additionally, there’s no pure-electric S-Class wherever; that can arrive as a separate Mercedes EQS mannequin. US S-Class supply is anticipated in the midst of 2021.
Right here’s our tackle the S-Class’s putting array of latest expertise primarily based on early knowledge from Mercedes — specifically, from a background doc of 60 pages or 24,000 phrases:
The motive force will see a 12-inch flat panel show with switchable 3D results, and with no 3D glasses wanted. A squarish middle stack “media show” sits beneath the 4 HVAC retailers. This implies it’s simpler to the touch however would require a bit extra downward eye motion for the driving force to middle on. New show kinds evoke the outdated Spice Women: Discreet, Sporty, Unique, and Traditional (no Posh, however that’s a given on this automobile), plus three modes referred to as Navigation, Help, and Service. The middle console reveals no touchpad or management wheel, marking a degree of departure from the iDrive idea BMW has used since 2001. That is daring, as a result of iDrive, extensively reviled 20 years in the past, now tops many infotainment scores.
Mercedes spiffed up the again seat. Within the white-hot China market, it’s the place the proprietor sits. Within the US, your children could have gobs of legroom. Optionally, the rear seats recline and the seats have touchscreens, and there’s an out there touchscreen controller within the armrest. The facet home windows will be shaded. An government package deal lets the rear passenger reverse the driving force transfer the entrance seat all the best way ahead. All of that is the optionally available stuff that places the $96,000 base value far within the rearview mirror. However the common S-Class proprietor makes on the excessive facet of $300,000 a 12 months.
The “Hey Mercedes” voice recognition capabilities increase, Mercedes says, with cloud processing, an increasing number of pure language queries, some instructions (“settle for name”) that don’t require the wake phrase, and management from the rear. The cockpit microphone array senses which speaker, and the ambient lighting, which comprises greater than 250 hid LEDs, flashes on the speaker’s location.
The premium Burmeister audio system options 22 audio system, or a dozen shy of some poseur rivals — however hey, there’s amount and there’s high quality. In response to Mercedes, it offers 4D audio — huh? If stereo is 2D and formed multi-channel sound is 3D, the fourth D is a set of in-seat transducers that vibrate with the deepest components of the music. At-home players have already got vibrating seats to amplify the results of their weaponry. Sure, it may be disabled.
Typically it’s the man within the again seat who has key man insurance coverage, not the chauffeur. To ensure she or he is secure, too, the brand new S-Class provides airbags within the backs of the entrance seats to offer extra safety in a ahead collision. The Mercedes graphic says they’re “quick and mild.” That’s along with inflatable rear seat belts with mini-airbags that MB already makes use of and along with the facet (door) airbags and the facet head safety airbag that covers each entrance and rear home windows.
Not each automaker provides a head-up show (HUD). The S-Class will provide good and higher HUDs, the latter with augmented actuality. Translation: The automobile tracks the place your eyes are. Navigation arrows (the “fishbones” within the picture above) are offered so they seem on prime of the place you’re speculated to make a flip or bear off the freeway onto an exit. How dumb can drivers be, you may assume. Nevertheless it’s simple to make a mistake if two exits 49A and 49B are 50 yards aside, if there are two left turns within the house of a really quick block, if it’s actually darkish (much less so with MB’s headlamp array), or if the driving force is in his 50s or past (as is the typical S-Class purchaser).
The perceived HUD dimension is spectacular, as Mercedes calculates it: “The aperture angle of the show is 10° horizontal and 5° vertical, and the picture seems just about at a distance of 32 ft. This show space corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal.”
The 4 roundish towers within the photograph above comprise the air-controlled suspension system (versus hydraulic shock absorbers and metal springs). The AirMatic suspension is normal, with repeatedly adjustable damping. Elective is E-Lively Physique Management, which leans the automobile right into a flip, like an airplane banks. If radar sensors predict a facet crash, the physique is lifted three inches to extra of the impression is absorbed by the door sill (the unibody body).
Mercedes barely mentions it, however the suspension truly regenerates power with each up and down oscillation. It’s sufficient to assist re-energize the 48-volt battery controlling it. Not sufficient to make this a perpetual movement machine. Optionally, forward-facing sensors can scan the highway forward, 1,000 occasions per second, for imperfections and regulate the suspension to take care of potholes and velocity bumps. Issues like predictive suspension journey will not be new to Mercedes or the S-Class. However the sum of all the brand new and the improved options make this a automobile other than BMW, Audi, etcetera. Till their subsequent new mannequin or refresh.
Mercedes will allow some shared security signaling, apparently by way of mobile moderately than separate DSRC radios. On this Mercedes schematic above, a automobile in an accident can ship a warning to the cloud (and likewise attain out the Mercedes name middle), the driving force can manually warn different autos of an incident by way of the cloud, and risks corresponding to glare ice will be autodetected (by wheel slip sensors) and communicated to police or freeway upkeep crews. Identical to fax machines, one such automobile has no impression; two is the minimal to do something, and when you might have 1,000,000, it turns into actually helpful. It’s additionally extra helpful when vehicles can sign one another instantly, until there’s zero lag going automobile to infrastructure (the cloud) to automobile.
The S-Class in Europe can be able to Stage three self-driving. Many vehicles at present do Stage 2, the place the driving force needs to be — is meant to be — 100 p.c attentive whereas the automobile steers, accelerates, and brakes. Right here, Mercedes says, L3 represents a freeway “conditionally automated mode [up to 37 mph / 60 kph, allowing for] “secondary actions such because the in-car workplace.” Or actually lengthy texts. The motive force must be able to take over with some advance discover; it’s unsure if that’s three seconds or 60.
The brand new S-Class is only one inch shorter than the bottom Ford F-150. So how do you navigate the slim streets of Europe or the clogged streets of LA? With rear-wheel steering. Right here, too, there are two choices, and the premium model permits as much as 10 levels (loads) of steer angle. It cuts six ft off the turning radius, all the way down to about 36 ft, and makes it potential to again into extra parking areas.
On the freeway when making lane modifications, the rear wheels flip in the identical route because the fronts, and the automobile crabs sideways. It’s smoother that approach. Wheel alignments value extra, however that’s like asking the price of yacht gas. If you need to ask, you possibly can’t afford it.
This can be a automobile price ready for. Since there’ll solely 10,000-15,000 offered within the US within the first full 12 months, what’s equally vital is the way it trickles all the way down to extra approachable (cheaper) Benzes, beginning with the next-gen compact C-Class that follows the S-Class by 6-9 months. Mercedes is alleged to be aggressively porting key options such because the multimedia system, MBUX, the larger (however not Lexus-big) entrance grille, and the augmented-reality shows.
It’s additionally vital with the long run pattern of migration to massive cities (on maintain with coronavirus points at present), the place prosperous consumers need all the protection, tech, and luxurious options of a full-size automobile in a midsize or compact that matches extra simply into out there city parking areas. It offers makers of mainstream vehicles targets to intention at. You’ll be able to’t cheaply replicate four-wheel steering, however it could make result in rear airbags, perhaps illuminated seat belt buckles, and larger if not big middle stack shows. The claimed 60-mile vary for a plug-in hybrid can also be an enviable goal.
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