2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2021 Mercedes‑Benz S‑Class

By Arthur Demi via Mercedes-Benz

2021 S-Class

Automotive luxury experienced in a completely new way "The S-Class is the world's best-selling luxury sedan. With the latest generation we want to offer our customers innovation, safety, comfort and quality as never before," says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. "The new S-Class reinforces our claim to produce the best automobile in the world", states Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. "This is where covetable luxury meets the greatest possible safety and highest level of comfort." The new S-Class will arrive at U.S. dealerships in the first half of 2021.

Modern luxury reaches a new level with the interior of the S-Class. The designers have created a feel-good ambience with lounge character marked by elegance, high quality and airiness. The dashboard with its new architecture, modern surface design and ergonomic display arrangement is a noteworthy highlight. But the feel-good aspect goes even further: With high ride quality and low noise levels as well as an extensive range of ENERGIZING Comfort programs, the S-Class looks after the well-being of its passengers.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class has become more intelligent in many areas, including the driving experience, which is taken to the next level. Digital innovations such as in MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) are joined by new developments that increase driving enjoyment while making driving even safer: among them are rear-axle steering with a large steering angle and safety innovations such as the rear airbag. As a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, the active E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension can raise the vehicle body (on both sides) just before an impending side impact. Following further systematic developments, the driving assistance systems take another step towards autonomous driving. Thanks to improved environmental sensors, for example, the parking systems provide the driver increased support when maneuvering at low speed. The integration into MBUX further enhances this as the level of visualization enters a whole new dimension.

For more than 100 years: the luxury class as the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz brand

The S-Class is the centerpiece of the brand, and exemplifies the allure of Mercedes-Benz as legendary engineering expertise and a heritage of craftsmanship meet progressive digital innovation. The S-Class combines artificial intelligence with the experience gained from 135 years of automobile engineering. Around 70 years ago, Mercedes-Benz laid the foundations for this model series with the model 220. Since its market launch in 1951, more than 4 million S- Class Sedans have been delivered to customers around the world. The designation "S-Class" was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972. In the last 10 years the S-Class Sedan has been particularly popular in China, the USA, South Korea and Germany. All in all, since the launch of the generation that is now in its runout phase, more than 500,000 S-Class Sedans have been sold globally.

The loyalty rate for this model series is especially high. For example, around 80% of customers in Western Europe and 70% of customers in the US who previously drove an S-Class once again opted for a Mercedes-Benz model. Around the world the S-Class Sedan is predominantly sold in the long wheelbase version: Around 9 out of 10 customers opt for the long version of the S-Class Sedan.

MBUX: a new dimension in personalization and interaction

No other innovation in recent years has so radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX (Mercedes- Benz User Experience) and now the second generation of MBUX makes its debut in the new S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: brilliant displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology, make the control of vehicle and comfort functions even easier. The possibilities for personalization and intuitive operation have become far more extensive. This certainly applies in the rear, but also for the driver: For example, for the first time the new 3D driver display allows a spatial view at the touch of a button. Creating a real three-dimensional effect is achieved without having to wear 3D glasses.

The HUD provides augmented reality (AR) content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows ("fishbones") are virtually and precisely projected onto the road lane. For the assistance functions, information from i.e. Active Distance Assist is shown. The image appears virtually at a distance of 32 feet, which corresponds with the display area to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal screen.

The voice assistant "Hey Mercedes" is even more advanced and dialogue-capable through activation of online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword "Hey Mercedes". These include accepting a telephone call. "Hey Mercedes" now also explains vehicle functions and answers general knowledge questions. In the S-Class the voice assistant can also be controlled from the rear seats.

Dimensional concept and interior design: generous ambience with a lounge-like feeling

The S-Class has always been a place for comfortable travel and relaxed working. With the new generation, the interior has fully evolved into a "third place", a refuge between the home and workplace. Nearly all comfort-related dimensions of the S-Class have been improved in the front as well as on the rear seats. The sense of space is accordingly generous.

Here are the most important dimensions:

S-Class with ... Long wheelbase Preceding model Diff.
Exterior dimensions (in)
Length 208 207 +1.3
Width 77/761 75 +2/+0.81
Width incl. exterior mirrors 83 84 -0.8
Height 59 59 +0.4
Wheelbase 127 125 +2
Track, front 65 64 +1.4
Track, rear 66 64 +2
Interior dimensions (in)
Max. headroom, front 42 42 +0.03
Headroom, rear1 38/39 37/39 +0.6/+0.3
Legroom, front 41 41 0
Legroom, rear 44 43 +1
Elbow room, front 63 61 +1.5
Elbow room, rear 62 61 +0.4
Shoulder room, front 60 60 0
Shoulder room, rear 58 60 -1.2
Trunk capacity2 VDA (l) 22 21

1. With/without panoramic glass roof

2 The trunk capacity is reduced by optional equipment (i.e. reclining seat)

The desired harmony between digital and analog luxury results in a revolutionary interior design, including inspiration from interior architecture and yacht design. The sculptured look of the dashboard, center console and armrests appears to float above an expansive interior landscape. The reduction in the number of controls also underscores the minimalist appearance of the interior, paired with a fine divide between the upper section of the dashboard and the large trim element structures to create horizontal breadth.

Alongside the potential for up to five screens, the highlights include the large areas of trim. These flow around the passengers and are a further systematic development of the wrap-around effect. One particularly attractive version of the trim is an open-pore wood veneer, shot through with inlays of real aluminum that follow the contours. New design elements include the flat, four-square center vents with horizontal nacelles. Two slim, vertical side vents on each side round off the ends of the dashboard.

The driver display and media display offer a comprehensive aesthetic experience. Adding to this, the appearance of the screens can be individualized with a choice of four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Seats: Plenty of high-tech for outstanding long-distance comfort

The seats invite the occupants to sit down and relax. The flowing, three-dimensional layer design theme gives an impression of lightness. While the various finishes give the seats different characters. For example, the progressive diamond pattern of nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather provides a more classical and expressive appearance.

Up to 19 motors in the front seats make for comfortable seating – a number that indicates the complexity of the technology installed in the seats. The seats go beyond comfort as they also play a major part where safety is concerned.

And of course when it comes to luxurious wellbeing: all the seats available for the S-Class carry the seal of approval by the Healthy Seating campaign.

Ten different massage programs are available in the new S-Class. These use the vibration motors, and can enhance the effect of a relaxing massage with added warmth on the hot-stone principle. To create this, the seat heating is combined with the inflatable air chambers in the active multicontour seats. The air chambers are now closer to the seat surface, and are therefore even easier to control and feel.

The Executive Line allows for multiple rear seat variations, permitting customers to configure the rear of the S-Class as a working or rest area. One new feature is the heatable additional cushion for the head restraint, which is available for the two electrically adjustable rear seats. The adjustment range and angle of the front passenger seat in the chauffeur configuration and the reclining seat behind it have been improved as well.

The ENERGIZING COMFORT programs: Comfortable travel while staying healthy

At the touch of a button or by voice command, the holistic "Fit & Healthy" approach of ENERGIZING COMFORT provides a tangible experience of the different comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programs that bundle them into worlds of experience. At the same time, the system creates a suitable atmosphere in the interior – for example, a driver can select invigorating in the event of monotonous stretches of road, or relaxing if they are experiencing elevated stress levels. The ENERGIZING COACH can even suggests an appropriate vitalization or wellness program based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors in information about sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a compatible wearable device.

Mercedes-Benz has fundamentally improved ENERGIZING comfort control in the new S-Class with innovations such as a massage based on vibrating motors in the seat cushion and integrated resonance transmission through the optional Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system, which makes bass tones tangible. Direct reproduction of the sound resonance in the seats adds another level to the three-dimensional listening experience – 4D sound inspired by the acoustic massage. The perceived intensity of the sound can be individually adjusted for each seat. The music becomes even more evocative thanks to this tangible component. Two resonators are integrated into the backrest of each seat for this purpose.

Driver assistance systems: even more support for the drive

In the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz takes another step closer to its vision of accident-free driving. The driver is supported by numerous new or extended driving assistance systems. As a result, the driver experiences a reduced workload in day-to-day situations, and is able to drive comfortably and safely. When a dangerous situation is detected, the assistance systems are able to respond to impending collisions as the situation demands. The operating principle of the systems is made apparent through a new display concept in the driver display.

Thanks to improved environmental sensors, the parking systems provide the driver increased support when maneuvering at low speed. Operation is faster and more intuitive thanks to integration into MBUX. The optional rear-axle steering is integrated into the parking assistants, with the calculation of trajectories adapted accordingly. Emergency braking functions also serves to protect other road users.

Suspension systems: more maneuverable and dynamic with rear-axle steering

Innovative suspension systems ensure an impressive travel experience in the new S-Class. Rear-axle steering (optional) with a steering angle of up to 10° improves maneuverability on narrow city streets to the level of a compact car. For the S-Class with a long wheelbase and all-wheel drive, the turning circle is reduced by 6.2 feet to under 35.8 feet.

The fully active E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension on a 48 V basis offers a unique synthesis of comfort and agility, plus additional protection in the event of a lateral collision. The AIRMATIC air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+ comes standardly equipped. Close networking between all the suspension and control systems ensures maximum stability and safety. Mercedes-Benz has now added a new function of PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, when equipped with E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL, to its measures in the pre-accident phase: When a side impact threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by up to 3 inches by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension within a few tenths of a second. This reduces the loads on the door structures, as the door sill can absorb more of the impact thanks to its higher position. As a result, deformation of the passenger cell and the loads acting on the occupants can be reduced. Radar sensors are used to recognize a potential side crash.

Exterior design: perfect proportions for a classical appearance

With a short front overhang, a long wheelbase and a balanced rear overhang, the S-Class is designed as a classical sedan with perfect proportions. The wide track and flush-mounted wheels with modern designs give the vehicle a muscular look. The character lines have been greatly reduced along the sides with cleverly contoured surfaces and a sculptured look to create special light effects. The front section is also notable with its high-status radiator grille.

The headlamps characterize the front of the car. With the three-point daytime driving light signature that is typical of the S-Class, now flatter and slightly smaller overall. The seamless door handles (standard) are a completely new development. They are electrically extended when the driver approaches, or the outer surface of the door handle is touched. Keyless access is provided by KEYLESS-GO.

The dynamic appearance of the car is continued at the rear. Thanks to precisely designed, highly detailed interior features and certain animated functions, the rear lights contribute to the impression of high quality, making the new S- Class unmistakable in both their day and night design.

The lights: with innovative technology

Thanks to LED technology, the new S-Class has also taken a leap forward in its interior lighting: Mercedes-Benz has now realized interactive interior lighting for the first time. The active ambient lighting (optional) is now integrated into the driving assistance systems, and is able to reinforce alerts visually. This also makes corresponding feedback possible for the comfort systems. This applies to the climate control system or the 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant.

Aerodynamics: extensive airflow simulations in the early development phase

With a C figure from 0.22,1 the S-Class is one of the world's most aerodynamic cars, and especially so in the luxury sedan segment. Although the frontal area (A) of the new S-Class has increased slightly to 2.5 sq. m., the drag coefficient has been reduced even further compared to the preceding model. The product of Cd and A is 0.56 sq. m., which is 200 sq. cm less than for the previous model after its last facelift. Aerodynamic measures affecting the body, underbody and detachable parts allow improved performance in the wind tunnel and in real operation. Extensive airflow simulations were already carried out using high-performance computer clusters during an early development phase.

The S-Class has also achieved further improvements in aeroacoustics. The new model is even quieter than the previous generation that already excelled with a very high level of interior noise comfort. The high rigidity of the bodyshell provides the basis for outstanding noise and vibration comfort, this is now enhanced with fine-tuning. For example, the apertures for the cable grommets in the firewall have double seals. To achieve an engine sound that is perceived as refined and unobtrusive in the interior, the firewall insulation has been extended into the side areas of the A-pillars and the floor area. Mercedes-Benz is also using acoustic foam in certain bodyshell sections for the first time.

Powertrain: more electrification, more efficiency

Six-cylinder in-line and V8 are the first engine variants for the new S-Class in the U.S. Both are equipped with an integrated starter-generator (ISG) and 48-volt onboard electrical system.

The U.S. model range at the launch of the S-Class

S500 4MATIC S 580 4MATIC
Transmission automatic 9G-TRONIC
Engine (no. of cylinders, arrangement) 3.0L Inline-6 4.0 L V8 Biturbo
Displacement cc 2999 3,982
Output hp 429 496
at rpm 5,500 - 6,100 5,500
Add. output with EQ Boost hp 21 21
Peak torque Lb-ft 384 516
at rpm 1,600 - 4,500 2,000 - 4,000
Add. torque with EQ Boost Lb-ft 184 184
Accelerations 0-60mph s TBA TBA
Top speed (electronically limited) mph 130 130

Vehicle body and accident protection: new frontal airbags for rear passengers

Intelligent bodyshell design and innovations in restraint systems reinforce the leading role of the S-Class when it comes to passive safety. The new aluminum hybrid bodyshell with an aluminum content exceeding 50 percent meets numerous requirements: A high level of crash safety, lower weight and a highly rigid bodyshell all ensure outstanding handling characteristics accompanied by excellent noise and vibration comfort.

In 2019, in the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, Mercedes-Benz presented ideas that the company's safety specialists were working on. Within the ESF more than 20 innovations were near-series developments, such as the rear airbag, which is now available as optional equipment in the S-Class. The frontal airbag for the rear seat deploys particularly gently thanks to its innovative construction using a tubular structure. During severe frontal collisions, the rear airbag can considerably reduce the impact on the heads and necks of seat belt wearing occupants on the outer rear seats.

Sustainability: environmentally compatible development

More than 216 lbs of components made from resource-conserving materials are used in the S-Class. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Another 88 lbs or so are made from renewable raw materials. The process of environmentally compatible development with specific targets is firmly embedded in the overall development process. Environmental aspects are already taken into account in the conceptual phase.

A new, recycled thread is now used for the floor coverings. This thread - brand name ECONYL® - consists of regenerated Nylon. It is manufactured by recovering Nylon waste destined for the landfill, for example old fish nets and fabric remnants from mills and carpets. These are collected and transformed into a new thread having the same properties as nylon from new raw materials. The recycling process used to produce the thread saves CO2 in comparison with new production. It also enables Mercedes-Benz to keep materials in circulation.

History: setting the standard for the luxury class for many decades

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class follows a long tradition that extends back to the beginnings of the Mercedes brand in the early 20th Century. Each model has decisively influenced the automotive engineering of its era. Well before the official designation S-Class, the models in the executive and luxury class were the mainstay of the Stuttgart-based company's portfolio and have always stood for luxury, comfort, safety and lifestyle. The continuous ancestry of the S-Class begins with the model 220 (W 187) of 1951. The designation "S-Class" was officially introduced with the 116 series in 1972.

(Mercedes-Benz Press Release)