The seventh generation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, has arrived in Australia and it’s crammed full of the latest in infotainment and technology.

It’s slightly larger than the model it replaces. All external dimensions have grown, with the wheelbase extended by 71 mm in short, or standard wheelbase models, and by 51 mm in long wheelbase models.

Very much high-tech machine, the new S-Class has second-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), with displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology. Options for personalisation and intuitive operation are used by both outer rear-seat passengers as well as the driver.

The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” is available from every seat, while certain actions – such as accepting a phone call – can be performed even without reciting the keyword.

The S-Class is equipped with a head-up display as standard, and a larger, AR-HUD is optionally available. The latter projects a substantial image that appears virtually on the road ahead at a distance of 10 metres. For the driver, this blends into the surroundings ahead of the vehicle, and can contribute to reduced driver distraction.

When navigating animated turn-off arrows are virtually projected onto the road lane. The image-forming unit consists of a high-resolution matrix of 1.3 million individual mirrors and a highly efficient light source.

A large central display features OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology. Positioned in portrait format, it is within easy touch and vision between the driver and front passenger. At the touch of a button, it is possible for the driver to switch to a 3D mode, achieved with the help of eye-tracking via two integrated cameras. The image in the driver display is continuously adjusted to offer the sensation of depth, without special glasses.

The appearance of the driver display and central display screens can be individualised with a choice of four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).

Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, the S-Class recognises and anticipates the intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions.

For example, if the driver looks over their shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind. If the driver is looking for something on the front passenger seat in the dark, it automatically switches the light on.

Natural hand movements are also recognised, allowing the driver or passengers to open the sliding sunroof with a gesture.

Active ambient lighting (optional) supplements standard ambient lighting with an additional layer of light. With around 250 LEDs it is integrated into the driving assistance systems, and can reinforce warnings visually. In addition, visual feedback is possible when operating the climate control system or the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant.

During severe frontal collisions, a rear airbag (standard on long wheelbase models) can considerably reduce loads on the head and neck of seat-belt-wearing occupants in the outer rear seats.

Rear-axle steering (optional) can make the S-Class almost as maneuverable as a compact car. The steering angle at the rear axle is up to 10 degrees, reducing the turning circle by as much as two metres to less than 10.9 metres.

Passengers in the rear seats have infotainment by way of two 11.6-inch displays (optional) with touch controls on the rear of the front seat backrests.

The optional MBUX rear tablet can be used outside the vehicle, its screen content can be shared with other passengers, and selection and amendment of navigation destinations is possible from the rear seats.

A personal profile can be created directly in the S-Class and synchronised with the existing profile data of the Mercedes me account. Personal preferences such as a favourite radio station and preselected settings can be transferred to any seat via the personal Mercedes me profile. Up to seven different profiles with around 800 parameters are possible in the vehicle. The driver can activate a personal profile using fingerprint recognition.

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class has achieved improvements in aero-acoustics. The high rigidity of the new bodyshell provides very good noise and vibration comfort. We’ve no doubt this is correct, but we will have to check this when we road test one.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the flagship the German company that’s world renowned for its engineering and this seventh generation seems assured to be bought by those who want nothing but the best.

The Mercedes-Benz S 450 4MATIC is priced at $240,700 (MRLP) while the long-wheelbase S 450 L 4MATIC is priced at $264,900. Both vehicles will be available to order from March 2021.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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