The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is finally revealed after couple of teaser videos and photos, and some unclear details.
Some of the most important new features include two hybridized engine options, a massive central touchscreen with the latest MBUX infotainment setup, and more active safety technology than ever before.
The exterior design of the new Mercedes S-Class is offering a classy and safe appearance for the big German saloon. Most design cues are shared with other models in the range, including the headlights and taillights as well as the new-style front grille, making features like the new pop-out door handles stand out when looking for highlights on the outside.
The base Mercedes-Benz S500 gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with an integrated starter-generator with EQ Boost – a 48-volt mild-hybrid system – similar to what you get on other modern Benz. That setup is good for 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet, an improvement of 67 horses and 15 lb-ft over the previous model’s base turbocharged six-cylinder. Power travels to all four wheels and EQ Boost offers an additional 184 lb-ft and 21 hp over short bursts.
Up from there, the S580 gets the automaker’s twin-turbocharged V8 good for 469 hp and 516 lb-ft – an improvement of six hp. Mercedes hasn’t released 0 to 60 times, but the S500 and S580 both come paired to the same nine-speed automatic and have an electronically limited top speed of 130 miles per hour and five different drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual.
Now, onto the most important part of an S-Class: the interior. Mercedes totally redesigned it to look like a lounge, and a luxurious lounge at that. The number of physical buttons has decreased dramatically. A new, massive 12.8-inch screen dominates the whole central area. It runs a new and improved version of MBUX that’s more powerful than ever before. A row of buttons lines the bottom of the screen, but Mercedes has decided it’s time to put the HVAC controls into the touchscreen. Subtle, but classy horizontal air vents are visible in the center, while long, vertical vents can be seen on the outer edges of the dash.
Mercedes is quite proud of its new climate control system in the new S-Class. It’ll warm up on winter days much quicker than before thanks to a booster heater that’s powered off the car’s 48-volt system. It warms up the interior rapidly, and most important, allows hot air to be felt right when you start the car. There’s a new fragrance system in this S-Class too, bringing with it “Bamboo Mood” and “Cotton Mood” smells.
Moving back to the screens, the digital instrument cluster is another revolutionary piece of tech for Mercedes. It features a 3-D effect that makes the display pop out at the driver without the need for 3-D glasses. The effect can be turned off, but this is a first in any new car. For even greater weirdness, the head-up display can now project augmented reality content onto the road ahead of you. For example, the direction to “turn left” will appear as an arrow 32 feet ahead of you on the road where you should be turning. The digital cluster has four different settings: Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, and Classic.
Each rear passenger (in four-seat configuration) gets an 11.6-inch touchscreen plastered to the back of the front headrests that allow them to control a number of vehicle controls. Additionally, a seven-inch tablet in the center can do the same. “Hey Mercedes” functionality is even added for backseat passengers on the 2021 car. Mercedes says its voice assistant is improved for this model. You can use it without the activation phrase for some tasks, give it consecutive instructions without breaking and even have a more normal conversation with it.
The S-Class arrives stretched a bit in almost all directions. It’s 208.3 inches long (up from 206.9 inches), 59.2 inches tall (up from 58.8 inches), and has a 126.6-inch wheelbase (versus 124.6 inches). That translates into 0.6 inches more front-seat head room, an inch more in rear-seat leg room, and a larger trunk that’s up to 19.0 cubic feet. Seating ranges from plush to lavish, with multi-contour massaging seats available in four seating positions, with all kinds of shiatsu and Swedish and other modalities, heating, cooling, reclining. There are also 30 loudspeakers and eight resonators available part of the Burmester high-end 4D surround sound system.
The 2021 Mercedes S-Class also comes with the E-Active Body Control Suspension as an option, featuring an Airmatic suspension with continuously adjustable dampers as standard. In addition, Mercedes has added a new rear-axle steering system that allows up to 10 degrees of angle for the rear wheels to make the new S-Class as maneuverable as an A-Class.
The rear-axle steering is integrated into the systems of the steering wheel, brakes, and suspension and allows a turning circle as small as 10.5 meters in the case of an S-Class with the short wheelbase. Mercedes will offer two variants of the rear-axle steering system, with the first one offering up to 4.5 degrees of angle and the other one offering the full 10 degrees. If you opt for the latter, the wheel size is limited to 255/40 R20.
Pricing isn’t set yet, but it should come in around $100,000 for the base sedan.