After plenty of teasers and video tech highlights, the 2021 Mercedes S-Class is finally here for everyone to see. If you’re new to the automotive genre, the S-Class is the big daddy of all Mercedes vehicles. And, as such, the 2021 S-Class is leading the way for the automaker, by introducing the latest of its in-car tech innovations, advanced safety features, and class-leading ride quality.
Unsurprisingly, there’s more. The new S-Class is meticulously crafted to please the senses. Everything that you can touch, see, feel, hear, and smell are the result of numerous innovations. Mind you, the S-Class is the car to experience if you want to wrap your head around the latest innovations from Mercedes-Benz, and the seventh-gen 2021 S-Class looks set not to disappoint.
The new S-Class is physically longer and wider than the old model. It has also has a wider track and a longer wheelbase for more internal space. The body styling is reminiscent of the outgoing model, but the 2021 S-Class has a stretched hood, a sculpted C-pillar that flows neatly into the shoulder lines, and seamless door handles that elegantly pop out as required. The result is a car that still looks elegant like its predecessors, but the sculpted surfaces and clean lines are optimized for better aero efficiency.
Two S-Class models will be available in the US. The S500 4MATIC has a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a 48V EQ Boost mild-hybrid assist. It produces 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, while the EQ Boost offers up to 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of added shove at a moment’s notice. In the meantime, the S580 4MATIC is motivated by a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 motor with 496 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is accessible from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. It also has EQ Boost, and this means a maximum output of 517 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of twist at your disposal.
Both engines are connected to a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic and Mercedes-Benz’s proprietary 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. Having adequate power is a given, but the 2021 S-Class is boasting a ton of technical highlights. The base S500 already comes with Airmatic air suspension as standard, but a newly-honed E-Active Body Control active suspension is coming next year, and it can regulate the spring and damping forces at each wheel to constantly deliver a smooth and level ride. It even comes with a ‘road surface scan’ and curve function to deliver a higher level of comfort than previous models of the S-Class.
Interestingly enough, Mercedes’ new E-Active Body Control active suspension works similarly to the new Rolls-Royce Ghost’s Planar suspension system. In the new S-Class, the air suspension is coupled with an active hydraulic damper to actively support and cushion the vehicle body without overriding the air suspension settings. The result should be a soft and unperturbed ride quality in ECO and Comfort mode, but sporty and more responsive in Sport mode. The new S-Class also comes with an available rear-axle steering system for easier maneuverability at slow and cruising speeds, and better handling when you’re in a hurry. Mercedes claims a reduced turning radius of up to 7 feet, which means a long-wheelbase S-Class has a turning circle of fewer than 36 feet.
Inside, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is as posh as it gets. Making its debut in the newest S-Class is the second-gen MBUX system with a new voice control system, which the automaker says is now 50-percent faster. You can also interact with the infotainment and vehicle settings by using the touch controls on the steering wheel or the 12.3-inch OLED center touchscreen display, the latter of which is the first on a Mercedes-Benz.
The interior can be specified with up to five screens, and this includes touchscreens for the rear passengers including a rear tablet. Meanwhile, the driver gets to stare at a 12.3” 3D digital instrument cluster with Attention Assist, which utilizes an infrared camera to monitor the driver for signs of drowsiness or distractions.
Also debuting in the 2021 S-Class is an clever augmented reality heads-up display to complement the new MBUX and augmented video navigation display. The system projects animated images in the driver’s field of sight, coming close to mimicking the feel of driving in a video game. Driving tunes are courtesy of a custom Burmester 4D Surround sound system with a sound personalization system.
The system pumps out up to 1,750 watts of power through 30 high-end speakers and 2 resonators in each seat, creating a virtual four-dimensional listening experience. It also has speakers integrated directly on the front seats which allows you to optimize the sound reproduction for individual seats. For example, you can program the system to pipe-in navigation instructions to the driver’s seat only, allowing the other passengers to remain undisturbed in their sound trip.
Of course, you can’t talk about a new S-Class without tackling safety features, in which the new model has tons. The 2021 S-Class is filled to the brim in terms of standard driver assistance technology. It now has an intelligent hands-off detection system to alert the driver, along with adaptive cruise control with route-based speed adaption, active stop-and-go assist, active steering assist with active lane change and active emergency stop features, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active speed limit assist, active blind spot assist, and a new rear passenger airbag.
Mercedes-Benz has yet to announce pricing, with both the S500 4MATIC and S580 4MATIC scheduled to arrive at US dealerships in mid-2021. As expected, the base S 00 model is comprehensively equipped with standard luxury and tech features including 64-color ambient lighting, rapid heating and ventilating front seats, Nappa leather upholstery, intelligent LED headlights with adaptive high beam assist, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 360-degree surround-view camera, soft close doors, 19-inch wheels, and a panoramic sunroof.