After 6 years in production, the W222 generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be replaced by a new model. Meet the 2021 S-Class, in all its glory.
Styling wise, the exterior of the new S-Class is a little more subdued than the outgoing model. But its still notably S-Class, with a larger and rounded front grille, and slimmer headlight units. The silhouette of the car appears sleeker and lower than the old model, thanks to its cab-backward design and long hood.
The taillights are also narrower, adopting a horizontal triangular shape, similar to the current CLA-Class and CLS-Class 4 door coupes. The rear trunk capacity is rated at 550 litres, which is an improvement of 20 litres over the previous iteration.
The new S-Class also comes with door handles also sit flush with the body panels, and pop out when the driver approaches the car, giving the side profile a more refined appearance.
New upgrades on the S-Class also include rear axle steering that turns the rear wheels by 10 degrees, which narrows the turning radius by 2m when making tight turns or travelling at low speed, giving the driver more agility in narrower car parks.
The car also includes a Heads-Up Display display that includes augmented reality navigation guidance that adapt and change based on the roads ahead. (Think directional arrows in old school arcade driving games)
The car is bigger than before too, at almost 2 inches wider and 2 inches longer in both the normal and long wheelbase model. Mercedes’s E-Active Body Control air suspension comes as standard, and it has active dampers that can make changes 1000 times per second to improve the ride quality. In the event of a side on collision, the Mercedes PRE-SAFE® impulse side system detects the oncoming vehicle and lifts up the car’s suspension by 8cm to distance its occupants from the point of impact.
As per S-Class standards, the interior is suitably lavish, with beautiful quilted leather seats and a 31-speaker Burmester Audio system. The dashboard is dominated by a massive free-floating OLED touchscreen infotainment display with haptic feedback. And it is paired with a digital gauge cluster, both offering different themes to suit the drive modes. The steering wheel is new too. Adopting a sleeker three spoke design across all trim levels.
In terms of tech, the W223 S-Class further exceeds the outgoing W222 generation with a whole host of upgrades and new-fangled gizmos that are designed to enhance the driving experience. The onboard computers are powered by NVIDIA processing units and GPUs (Tech geeks rejoice), with makes the on screen transitions seamless and butter-smooth. There is a fingerprint sensor under the central touchscreen, which detects different drivers and changes the various driving and comfort settings based on the individual driver profiles.
The sunroof and other aspects of the car can be operated by gesture controls, or by the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology in the MBUX system, which recognises 27 different languages. All you have to do is say “Hey Mercedes”, and it makes the changes automatically. And, the car comes with a massage function with 10 different massage programmes to further enhance the ride. It also tracks the driver’s gestures and eye movements to adapt to the driver’s mannerisms. For instance, the rear sunshades can be lowered when the driver looks back while reversing.
The back seats are incredibly luxurious as well, with a wide range of adjustments to allow rear passengers to recline and. And it has an option for a tablet in the central armrest and screens mounted behind the front seats as well. Multi-colour ambient lighting comes as standard too, and it is synced to the MBUX voice control system, which can be programmed to each individual seat. And it flashes red to warn the driver and passenger of oncoming cars while exiting the car.
The engines in the 2021 S-Class are carried over from the older generation, so we can expect the same 3.0L straight-six engines in S450 and S500 trim, as well as the diesel engines found in the S350d and S400d. A plug-in hybrid electric version is coming too, with an estimated 100km of electric range.
There is also a V8 model with a mild hybrid system in the S580 trim. And there are rumours that the AMG-spec S-Class will come with a re-tuned version of Mercedes’s M176 twin turbocharged V8, the same engine found in the outgoing AMG “63” models (E63, C63, G63, AMG-GT, GT- 4-door, you get the drift). And it’ll may come with a V12 So we can expect to see the highest spec S65 AMG too.
No word yet on when the Über-luxurious Maybach version or the performance-oriented AMG versions will debut. But with the refinements made to the S-Class, it’ll make for a compelling choice compared to other high-spec luxury cars (ahem Bentley and Rolls Royce). We’ll be waiting (and hoping) for greater things to come.