MBUX: a new dimension in personalisation and interactionNo other innovation in recent years has so radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The second generation of this learn-capable system now debuts in the new 2021 Mercedes 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 personalisation and intuitive operation have become far more extensive. This certainly applies in the rear, but also to the driver: For example, the new 3D driver display allows a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. A real three-dimensional effect is achieved without having to wear 3D glasses. Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request. The larger 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 e.g. Active Distance Assist is shown. The image appears virtually at a distance of 10 metres. The display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal. Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognises and anticipates the wishes and intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions. As well as enhancing operating convenience, MBUX Interior Assist improves safety. Even before the journey begins, it notifies the driver if the camera has detected a child seat on the front passenger seat but seat belt is not fastened, for example.
Seats: Plenty of high-tech for outstanding long-distance comfortThe seats literally invite the occupants to sit down and relax. The flowing, three-dimensional layer design theme gives an impression of lightness. Different finishes give the seats different characters. For example, the flowing longitudinal piping of Lugano leather lends them a noble, avantgarde look, while the progressive diamond pattern of nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather is more classical and expressive. 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. Yet comfort is not enough: the seats also play a major part where safety is concerned. And of course, when it comes to luxurious wellbeing, all the seats available for the 2021 Mercedes S-Class carry the seal of approval by the Healthy Seating campaign. Ten different massage programmes are available in the new S-Class. These use the vibration motors and can enhance the effect of a relaxing massage with warmth on the hot-stone principle. To this end, 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. Five different rear seat variants make it possible to configure the rear of the S-Class as a working or rest area. One new feature is the heated 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.
Automated driving and driving assistance systems: even more support for the driverIn the new 2021 Mercedes S-Class, Mercedes-Benz comes another big step closer to its vision of accident-free driving. The driver is supported by numerous new or extended driving assistance systems. He/she thereby has a reduced workload in day-to-day situations, and is able to drive comfortably and safely. When danger threatens, the assistance systems are able to respond to impending collisions as the situation demands. The operating principle of the systems is made visible by a new display concept in the driver display. Thanks to improved environmental sensors, the parking systems give the driver even better support when manoeuvring 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 serve to protect other road users, too.
Suspension systems: more manoeuvrable and dynamic with rear axle steeringInnovative 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 manoeuvrability in urban areas to the level of a compact car. Even for the S-Class with a long wheelbase and all-wheel drive, the turning circle is reduced by 1.9 metres to less than 10.9 metres. The optional, 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+ is standard equipment. 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 to its measures in the pre-accident phase: When a side impact threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by up to 80 millimetres 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 energy 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 recognise a potential side crash.
Exterior design: perfect proportions for a classical appearanceWith 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 so-called character lines have been greatly reduced along the sides. Cleverly contoured surfaces with a sculptured look create special light effects. The front section impresses with its high-status radiator grille. The headlamps characterise the front aspect of the car. They have the three-point daytime driving light signature that is typical of the S-Class, but this is flatter and somewhat smaller overall. The flush-mounted door handles are a completely new development. They are electrically extended when the driver approaches, or the outer surface of the door handle is stroked. 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. They make the new S-Class unmistakable in both their day and night design.
The lights: with innovative digital technology both inside and outThe optional DIGITAL LIGHT system enters series production for the first time at Mercedes-Benz. This makes completely new assistance functions possible:
- Warning of recognised roadworks by projecting an excavator symbol onto the road surface
- Aiming a spotlight at pedestrians detected at the roadside as a warning
- Traffic lights, stop signs or no-entry signs are pointed out by projecting a warning symbol onto the road surface
- Assistance on narrow road lanes (roadworks) by projecting guidelines onto the road surface.
Powertrain: more electrification, more efficiencySix-cylinder in-line petrol engines in various output classes are the first engine variants for the new S-Class. A V8 engine with an integrated starter-generator (ISG) and 48-volt onboard electrical system will be available soon after.
Vehicle body and accident protection: new frontal airbags for rear passengersIntelligent bodyshell design and innovations in restraint systems confirm the leading role of the 2021 Mercedes S-Class when it comes to passive safety. The new aluminium hybrid bodyshell with an aluminium content exceeding 50 percent meets numerous requirements: A high level of crash safety, lower weight and a highly rigid bodyshell ensure outstanding handling characteristics accompanied by excellent noise and vibration comfort. In 2019, in the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, Mercedes-Benz presented the ideas the company’s safety specialists are working on. Among the more than 20 innovations were near-series developments such as the rear airbag, which now becomes 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 loads acting on the heads and necks of seat belt wearing occupants on the outer rear seats. During a severe side impact, depending on the direction of impact, impact severity and front seat occupancy, the new centre airbag positions itself between the driver and front passenger seat, reducing the risk of their heads making contact. It is integrated into the driver’s seatback in the middle of the vehicle.