After nearly months of teasers, partial reveals and speculations, Mercedes-Benz has finally dropped the curtains on the new-generation S-Class sedan. The brand's most important offering packs in some seriously new levels of technology, along with a new platform with engineering and safety innovations, ensuring that the W223 S-Class lives up to its extremely high standards. We also get a proper look at the design of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class that evolves from the current model, but at the same time comes with a more opulent yet understated elegance, which seems to be the preference for luxury vehicle owners of today. The new S also packs hybrid engine options this time as well as the latest MBUX system that brings an array of new capabilities to the car.
Starting with the exterior changes, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks classier in every sense. The bonnet is longer than the predecessor while the LED headlamps with new digital light technology look sleeker. The C-pillar blends more seamlessly in the boot, but the big change is the LED taillight design, which is horizontally positioned, a first for the luxury sedan. The S-Class uses just the right amount of chrome all over right from the accents on that massive grille to the boot-lid and the exhaust tips. The range-topping versions get the larger 21-inch wheels with the chrome finish. Another big change is the new flush-fitting door handles on the 2021 S-Class that offers a clean look to the exterior, while the ORVMs come with aerostripes, which the company says helps improve airflow. As a result, the new-generation S-Class comes with a drag coefficient of just 0.22 cd, making it one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class has also grown in proportions with the car now longer by 34 mm, wider by 51 mm and taller by 12 mm. The wheelbase has also been extended by 50 mm, along with the front track by 35 mm and rear track by 51 mm. The sedan does not have that visually bulbous look despite the large proportions thanks to the short front and rear overhangs. At the same time, the cabin space has vastly improved to pack more creature comforts for the passengers.
The simple yet opulent theme has been carried over in the cabin as well on the new S-Class and it comes with an elegant new design language that looks elegant from every corner. The big update that we've talked about multiple times is the new massive screens replacing the buttons in the cabin. The 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes centre-stage literally and floats up and out of the centre console. Mercedes says that the 2021 S-Class comes with 27 fewer knobs and dials over its predecessor, while the functions can be accessed either by voice or touch controllers.
The cabin also sports new horizontal AC vents replacing the aircraft-styled units on the outgoing model. The cabin can be asked with carbon fibre finish and piano black wood with pinstriping on the dashboard, depending on the feature you choose. The interior is also finished aluminium and gloss-black finish all over, while the seats come with massage functions, as expected and also get the six 'Energizing' options that can be accessed via the touchscreen. The options further help set the tone of the cabin including the music, ambient lighting, air conditioning, seat position to create the desired effect. While the feature was already available on the W222 S-Class for the front seats, it now extends to the rear seat as a standard fixture. The cabin is upholstered in the best of quilted Nappa leather.
The multi-function steering wheel is new as well and comes with capacitive controls. The new unit also comes with capacitive hands-off recognition, courtesy of the two-zone sensor pad in the steering wheel. The sensors help register whether the driver's hands are on the wheel. The cabin also comes with a Burmester high-end 4D sound system with 30 loudspeakers. The ambient lighting options come with LEDs within an optical fibre at every 0.6-inches. The ambient lighting extends from the door panels and the dash to the floorboards. There are about 263 optic LED lights through the cabin.
The new-generation S-Class also boasts of space improvements with 38 mm more elbow room at the front, while the rear gets 24 mm more legroom and marginally more elbow room and headroom than the current model. The boot space has also grown by 22.6 litres to a total of 550 litres.
The 2021 S-Class also comes with the new 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster that offers better graphics and more natural colours than its predecessor. The sedan also carries over the augmented reality feature with the head-up display unit for a more clear view of directions. The digital cluster also comes with customisable options - Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, and Classic. The new MBUX system also comes with big updates including the "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant, and the memory function that adjusts the cabin according to the driver. The MBUX system will also come with location-specific services, bringing improved assistance for the passenger. The cabin gets the Interior Assist feature that uses cameras in the cabin to track movements of the occupant and proactively trigger functions.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has also been the benchmark for the automaker's safety systems and the new W223 is no different. The car will come with industry-first frontal airbags for the rearseat passengers along with hands-off recognition and the pre-safe Impulse Control that raises the S-Class by 8 mm to reduce the impact of the collision. The usual active and passive safety features continue to come as standard on the car. Another big update is the addition of the E-Active Body Control adaptive suspension that helps reduce body roll on the vehicle. The car will also offer a blind-spot warning for drivers exiting their vehicles.
Engine options on the new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class including the 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol and diesel with the EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The petrol engine makes about 362 bhp and 500 Nm on the S450, while the S500 comes with 429 bhp and 520 Nm. The EQ Boost' mild-hybrid system provides a burst of much as 21.6 bhp and 250Nm of torque in short intervals. There's also twin-turbo V8 petrol with 469 bhp on the S580. The 3.0-litre diesel develops 282 bhp and 600 Nm of peak torque on the S 350d. There's also the larger S 400d with 429 bhp and 700 Nm.
All engines are paired with the 9-speed automatic gearbox and come with five driving modes - Eco Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The new S-Class will get Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities that will allow the car to drive itself at speeds up to 60 kmph on open roads and even park itself. The sedan will also come with the rear-axle steering that tilts the rear wheels by 10 degrees in the opposite direction, giving the car a tighter turning radius of 11 metres.
The new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class will go on sale internationally by the end of the year, while it should start arriving in most markets including India by 2021. The S-Class is locally made via the CKD route and we expect the model to arrive in the first half of the year itself. Expect prices to start around ₹ 1.5 crore (ex-showroom) for the all-new offering. The model will be produced at Mercedes' Factory 56 in Germany, just 20 km away from the Daimler headquarters.