True standard-bearer of the Mercedes range, while waiting for the EQS, the 100% electric sedan, the S-Class remains the technological showcase of the brand and carries a long list of equipment. We were able to try them out.
“S” for “Special”, the Mercedes S-Class is special in more than one way and not just its seventh and latest generation, the technologies of which we are going to present to you today. The S-Class has been, for decades, a car that has become inseparable from the history of the automobile . Since the 1950s and the Type 220, seven generations have followed and three million copies have been sold worldwide.
The flagship of the star firm is also the flagship of the automotive industry in terms of technology, particularly in terms of safety. Several technologies, now democratized, were introduced in the S-Class, in particular ABS in 1978, the first airbag in 1981, the first ESP in 1995 and the first adaptive cruise control in 1998.
This new generation of Mercedes S-Class highlights high-level driving assistance technologies, while accentuating the on-board experience by pampering its driver and passengers alike. We are therefore going, through this dossier, to sift through all the technologies presented on board one of the most technological and luxurious cars on the automotive market.
UP TO FIVE SCREENS ON BOARD
Almost all new cars have one or two screens. It is more generally the central screen which is tactile and which makes it possible to manage all the controls of the car, the second replacing the instrumentation system. These two screens, we obviously have them within the Mercedes S-Class, with three other screens behind.
The two main ones are attached to the headrests at the front, are tactile and are 11.6 inches. The last screen is a touchscreen tablet provided by Samsung and which integrates the MBUX application . This allows rear passengers to control several elements of the car, mainly the multimedia system.
THE 12.8-INCH OLED CENTER DISPLAY
This is the technological heart of our Mercedes S-Class. With a beautiful resolution of 1888 × 1728 pixels, this touch screen allows you to control absolutely all the functions of the car . This screen is also reminiscent of that of some Tesla and allows you to manage driving assistance systems, multimedia, active ambient lighting (with no less than 64 colors), or even locate you precisely in space thanks to a parking system working with cameras to model the environment around the vehicle.
This screen is obviously customizable and has a biometric identification in order to record all the data and all the preferences of the various users of the car. A rather practical technology for vehicles to be used by several drivers for example.
THE DIGITAL INSTRUMENTATION SCREEN
This screen, which replaces the classic hands, appeared in 2014 on the Audi TT. Almost all modern cars benefit from this screen which allows you to customize its display mode. From the two classic tachometers to your navigation, including your consumption data, you will be able to know absolutely everything about your driving in real time via this customizable digital display .
It also benefits from a 3D display with two cameras placed side by side which are used to capture the image of the driver and use an algorithm to detect his eyes. For our part, during our test, we were not really convinced by this 3D system (which it is fortunately possible to deactivate) and which tended rather to force us to force our eyes to see there properly.
The head-up display in augmented reality is on the other hand more convincing, it supplements the visual field of the driver with virtual indications rather well carried out and which do not distract the driver. Large blue arrows come in above a crossroads to indicate more precisely where to turn.
THE REAR ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
Within an option called “Business Class” and billed at a whopping 34,500 euros (in addition to the car which starts at around 100,000 euros), you can have two screens at the back allowing you to watch TV, ” listen to music, and even manage navigation by entering new GPS data by sending it to the driver’s screen. You control practically everything via these screens , and if you choose to extend your legs and move the front seat back as far as possible, don’t panic, the small removable tablet located at the level of the armrest will come to help you .
This tablet, provided by Samsung, therefore embeds the MBUX application (for Mercedes-Benz User Experience) connected to the car. You will be able to do exactly the same things as with the rear screens. Except that the tablet of our test model was sometimes quite capricious, with some latency moments and several bugs. Pity.
MAKE WAY FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The Mercedes S-Class is equipped with an “interior assistant” which reacts according to the actions of the driver . For example, a glance back over the shoulder allows, if the reverse gear is engaged, that the sun blind of the rear window lowers for better vision. Another example: when the driver brings his hands closer to the central screen, artificial intelligence acts by enlarging or highlighting elements of the home screen.
To adjust a mirror, you no longer need to select it beforehand, you just have to look at it and then adjust the position of the mirror. Simple hand gestures are also used to manage the lighting functions. We also find the famous voice command that can be activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”. You can then ask her for practically anything (even what she thinks of BMW or Audi…), such as raising or lowering the blinds, raising or lowering the temperature, or even putting on this or that radio.
SHE THINKS ABOUT YOUR WELL-BEING
Are massage parlors closed at the moment? No problem, at least for S-Class owners. Thanks to the “Energizing Pack”, the car will pamper or tone its occupants with various programs . There are five types of programs: “Heat”, “Vitality”, “Well-being”, “Pleasure of the senses” and “Freshness”. When one of these programs is activated, the ventilation, the heated, ventilated and massage seats, and the mood lighting will work together to relax or tone you up.
There are even exercises on video to, for example, relax the muscles. This function is only available when stationary, while driving only the audio works. There is also a kind of “virtual coach” that works in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz smartwatches manufactured by Garmin. These watches collect certain data in order to adapt a personalized program according to the stress level of the occupants, or the quality of their sleep. The “coach” then gives recommendations that can be followed by activating a personalized program.
WELCOME TO THE CINEMA
As indicated above, it is possible to watch TV on the two screens placed at the back. It is also possible to watch a movie by having it previously recorded on a USB key or a storage device. It will then be possible to play the film on the back screens. Unfortunately, the car does not have a video on demand application like OCS or Netflix .
The experience is however quite striking, in particular thanks to the Burmester “4D Surround” audio system composed of 31 speakers , a subwoofer and eight “exciters” in the seats, each with an amplification channel. In total, the Hi-Fi system provides 1350 watts . The result is striking and gives the impression of being in a real movie theater, with a clear and limpid sound and real sensations in the seats. And if you want to watch a movie different from your neighbor, it’s possible, you will only have to connect a headset via a jack or Bluetooth to enjoy your movie, you and you alone.
The Mercedes S-Class includes just about everything that exists in terms of driving aids . The listing is as long as the arm and includes, among other things, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, steering assistance, lane keeping assistance, lane change assistance, recognition of traffic signs, active monitoring of blind spots, etc. All this armada allows him to display a level three autonomous driving … but unavailable in France because of the legislation in force. The Germans will be luckier since this system will be legalized from the second half of 2021 on their roads.
Above, we told you about the few technologies that the previous S-Class were able to introduce. The new generation is the first production car to be equipped with a front airbag for the seat passengers. An airbag between the driver and the passenger is also added. To top it off, in the event of an imminent side impact, the car can be lifted to divert the energy of the impact to the lower parts of the structure, which are more resistant.
WHAT FUTURE FOR THE MERCEDES S-CLASS?
As you know, the future is electric and Mercedes will be no exception to the rule . The brand is preparing an unprecedented offensive and the equivalence of the S-Class in electric, it will be the new Mercedes EQS . The manufacturer has already shown us a few elements of the car, including its gigantic curved screen called the Hypersreen . The EQS will have engines ranging from 286 to 640 horsepower and up to 700 kilometers of range . It will be offered in two or four-wheel drive and with a battery pack ranging from 90 to 108 kWh depending on the version. It will be marketed at the end of 2021.
If, for the moment, the Mercedes S-Class and EQS will coexist in the range, the future of the S-Class, both in thermal and in plug-in hybrid, could be compromised in view of the new environmental standards. But by then, that will still have plenty of time to change.
Photos: Marius Hanin
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