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The new S-Class will enter the local market in the fourth quarter 2017, with comprehensive new features. Among the highlights is an all-new and highly efficient engine range with a series of new technologies for electrification of the powertrain. Intelligent Drive takes another step towards autonomous driving. The S-Class is the undisputed leader in the premium segment, with regard to comfort and wellness and now sets new standards in the interior.

No less than three completely new engines have their debut in the new S-Class: Diesel and petrol variants of 6-cylinder in-line engines and a new V8 biturbo petrol engine. In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometres. At the same time, groundbreaking technologies such as the 48 volt Integrated Starter Generator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première.

The top-of-the-range model of Mercedes-Benz takes another big step towards autonomous driving and elevates Intelligent Drive to the next level. Active Distance Control DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends, junctions or roundabouts.

MULTIBEAM LED headlamps enable extremely quick and precise adjustment of the headlamps to the current traffic conditions. The ULTRA RANGE main beams produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beams remaining above the reference value of 1-lux over a distance of more than 650 metres. ROAD SURFACE SCAN for advance recognition of road bumps and the curve inclination function are further highlights of the new S-Class.

ENERGIZING comfort control is being launched onto the market as a world first from September 2017: this optional feature links various on-board comfort systems together, e.g. climate control, ambience lighting, massage and fragrance functions, and allows customers to configure a specific wellness set-up to suit their mood or need. This enhances physical comfort and performance on the road.

The development work on the new S-Class was extremely extensive, with 6,500 new components. “With a whole series of new features and functions, the S-Class remains the technological pioneer,” says Ola Källenius, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

The flagship from Mercedes-Benz was the best-selling luxury saloon in the world in 2016. Since 2013 the company has sold well over 300,000 sedans. Today there are five different S-Class body variants in South Africa.

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Three torches of light as an exclusive exterior design feature

Modern luxury in the new S-Class is manifest in maximum quality of materials and workmanship. Status and technological competence are now even more tangible. All models are fitted with a new radiator grille: The versions with six and eight-cylinder engines sport three twin louvres in chrome as well as vertical bars in a chrome finish in the radiator grille. The sedan with long wheelbase and V12 engine is fitted with additional chrome-finish vertical bars in the radiator grille.  

The upgraded front with extensive chrome trim underscores the exceptional status of the Mercedes-Maybach. Also new is the Maybach logotype between the louvres of the radiator grille on the driver’s side.

In conjunction with the new MULTIBEAM LED headlamps (optional feature, details below), the S-Class features three distinctive torches of light as an exclusive design element. The front bumper with pronounced air intakes and sporty looks is also new.

The new LED lamps with crystal-look tail lamps stand out at the rear. They look like jewels and ensure a characteristic design day and night. A tail lamp light show that plays when the vehicle is unlocked and locked, as well as three horizontal pairs of fibre optics are also new.

All models are fitted with a redesigned lower bumper section with integrated visible tailpipe trim. The tailpipes are framed by a chrome trim element, which spans the entire width of the vehicle. Seven new light-alloy wheels with diameters between 17 and 20 inches are available as standard or options.

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Control and display concept with wide-screen cockpit and new generation of steering wheels

The interior of the new S-Class is characterised by the two new high-resolution displays, each with a screen diagonal of 12.3″. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a wide-screen cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design.

Like the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver, as well as a central display above the centre console. Because the cockpit is fully digital, the driver can choose from three different display styles (“Classic”, “Sporty” and “Progressive“) and also configure the information and views relevant to them at will.

The new S-Class has touch-sensitive Touch Control buttons in the steering wheel. They respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. They enable the driver to control the entire infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.

The infotainment system can also be operated via the touchpad with controller in the centre console and by LINGUATRONIC voice control. Voice control has, for the first time, been extended to include vehicle functions. Voice commands can now also be used to control the air conditioning and seat heating/ventilation, interior lighting (ambience lighting, reading lights, lighting in the rear), fragrance/ionisation, seat massage function and head-up display. Depending on language version and vehicle equipment, up to 450 individual voice commands are now possible. The operation of DISTRONIC and cruise control with control elements directly on the steering wheel is another new feature.

Authentic materials and meticulous detail design

High-quality materials define the interior of the S-Class. These include, for example, open-pore woods as well as leather-trimmed door linings and waistlines, depending on the equipment level. Another Mercedes-Benz hallmark clearly in evidence is the high-quality look and feel created through meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship. The material and colour concept, has also been carefully composed, and features a wide range of brown tones, including new colour combinations such as magma grey/espresso brown or mahogany brown/silk beige.

Lighting atmosphere with 64 colours

As before, the interior lighting uses only long-lasting, energy-saving LED technology. With 64 colours, the optional extended ambience lighting offers a wealth of individual settings. It adds lighting highlights, for example, on the trim elements, the central display, the stowage facility at the front of the centre console, the handle recesses, the door pockets, in the front and rear footwells, on the overhead control panel, and on the tweeters when the vehicle is equipped with the Burmester High-End 3D surround sound system.

All S-Class models are equipped with the KEYLESS-GO start function as standard. This also marks the introduction of the new attractive generation of keys, with a high-gloss black or high-gloss white design and different ornamental frames.

World first: Wellness while driving

ENERGIZING comfort control will be launched onto the market as a world first in September 2017: this optional feature links various comfort systems in the vehicle together. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrance) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the wall heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres, and enables a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. As a result, well-being and performance levels are enhanced. ENERGIZING comfort can be experienced in all seats, depending on the equipment level.

These six programmes can be selected:

  • Freshness
  • Warmth
  • Vitality
  • Joy
  • Comfort
  • Training (three training modes – muscle relaxation, muscle activation and balance – each with several exercises)

The programmes all run for ten minutes. They are visualised on the head unit with colour graphics, and backed by suitable music. Five songs are already stored in the programme. The key function in the “Vitality“ programme, for example, is fast music with many beats per minute. The S-Class repertoire therefore features “Feelin’ Good” by Leon Riskin, for instance. If personal music selections are available, e.g. via the Media Interface, the system analyses them in the background and assigns them to a programme based on the beats per minute. Individual functions of the programmes can be deactivated.

ENERGIZING comfort control also incorporates the ambience lighting, which is harmoniously tailored to each of the individual screen designs. The light stages the interior like a work of art by composing colour worlds from different colours.

The colour worlds can be temporarily replaced with special effects – for example, a special lighting atmosphere welcomes the driver. In addition, the climate control system indicates whether the temperature is adjusted up or down through the colour of the ambience lighting. The brightness of the LEDs adapts equally variably and can be set in five levels and four zones: wide-screen cockpit, area of front seats, rear compartment, and all. As a result, the ambience lighting harnesses the positive effects of light on well-being while on the road. This makes this equipment feature a key part of ENERGIZING comfort control with its tailor-made programmes.

In addition, the ambience lighting creates emotionally appealing contrasts and structures the interior into levels. 64 colours and ten colour worlds allow an avant-garde lighting display with spectacular colour changes.

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Powertrain: new engines with landmark technology

Mercedes-Benz S 450 (combined fuel consumption: 6.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 157 g/km): The new, systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder comes to the starting line in two output levels. The S 450 develops 270 kW and 500 Nm of torque.

The significant power increase of the six-cylinder petrol engines to the level of the previous eight-cylinder units is also reflected in the model designations: The models with the new six-cylinder engines now therefore bear the designation S 450.

Mercedes-Benz S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 8.2 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 186 g/km) and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 8.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 198 g/km): The new V8 comes to the starting line with 345 kW and 700 Nm. The biturbo engine is among the most economical V8 petrol engines in the world, and consumes about ten percent less fuel than the eight-cylinder predecessor model. To lower the fuel consumption, four cylinders of the new V8 are deactivated simultaneously under partial load with the help of the CAMTRONIC valve-lift adjustment system. This reduces the pumping losses while improving the overall efficiency of the remaining four cylinders by shifting the operating point towards higher loads. The turbochargers positioned in the V of the cylinder banks represent another special feature.

Mercedes-Benz S 600 (combined fuel consumption: 11.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 270 g/km: The top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz is the V12 with 390 kW and 830 Nm. The new twelve-cylinder engine in the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 delivers 463 kW and a maximum torque of 1000 Nm (combined fuel consumption: 12.7 l/100 km; combined COemissions: 289 g/km).

Mercedes-AMG S 63 (combined fuel consumption: 8.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 203 g/km): For superior performance with significantly reduced fuel consumption, the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with cylinder deactivation replaces the previous 5.5-litre V8 biturbo. Despite a lower displacement, the new engine generates 450 kW. The Mercedes-AMG S 65 is equipped with a twelve-cylinder engine developing 463 kW and 1000 Nm (combined fuel consumption: 11.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 279 g/km).

The most powerful diesel car in Mercedes-Benz history:

In the Mercedes-Benz S 350 d  (combined fuel consumption: 5.4 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 139 g/km) and S 400 d models (combined fuel consumption: 5.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 147 g/km), the new six-cylinder in-line diesel engine is being premiered in two output classes with 210 kW and 600 Nm and 250 kW and 700 Nm. Although the output has increased noticeably compared to the preceding model, the new engine consumes up to seven percent less fuel. The special traits of the top-of-the-line engine in the diesel family include the stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage turbocharging and, for the first time, the use of CAMTRONIC variable valve-lift control. Its design features a combination of aluminium engine block and steel pistons as well as further improved NANOSLIDE coating of the cylinder walls.

The new six-cylinder diesel engine is designed to comply with future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions). All the components of relevance for efficient emissions reduction are installed directly on the engine. The integrated technology approach combining the new stepped-bowl combustion process, dynamic multi-way exhaust-gas recirculation and near-engine exhaust-gas aftertreatment, for the first time combined with variable valve-lift control, makes further reduced consumption with low emissions possible. Thanks to the near-engine insulated configuration, exhaust-gas aftertreatment has low heat loss and extremely favourable operating conditions.

Intelligent Drive: the next step in driving assistance systems

The new S-Class takes another major step towards autonomous driving, elevating Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level. The range of driving assistance and safety systems features a modular design and as standard includes Active Braking Assist, Crosswind Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST, Traffic Sign Assist and also the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE.  New and also part of the standard specification is PRE-SAFE Sound (prepares human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there is a risk of a collision).

Active Distance Control DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions. This is complemented by a considerably improved Active Lane Changing Assist and additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist.

Thanks to enhanced camera and radar systems, the new S-Class has an even better view of the surrounding traffic: In addition, for the first time it makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour.

This means that DISTRONIC Active Proximity Assist is able to assist the driver in many situations based on the route, and conveniently adjust the vehicle speed.

The “Assistance Graphics” menu of the instrument panel shows the driver at one glance which assistance functions he selected and to what situations the systems are currently responding. Unmistakable icons provide them with information on the screen as well in the head-up display. All functions are now controlled from the steering wheel. The new Driving Assistance package includes but is not limited to the following functions:

  • Active Distance Control DISTRONIC uses substantially more map and navigation data, can support the driver based on the route, and conveniently adjusts the vehicle speed. Active Speed Limit Assist automatically adopts recognised speed limits as a new set speed for Active Distance Control DISTRONIC.
  • Active Steering Assist has been noticeably improved across its entire performance range, resulting in markedly enhanced customer benefits.
  • Active Lane Changing Assist has been considerably upgraded. Now nudging the indicator stalk is all it takes to initiate a lane change. This lane change is executed within the next ten seconds, and is indicated in the instrument cluster with the appropriate visual display if the vehicle sensor system does not detect any vehicles in the relevant safety zone, which the driver might have missed. The system is available in certain countries depending on traffic regulations. (Later introduction for SA)
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a stop when Active Steering Assist is engaged and the system recognises that the driver is not intervening in the driving process on a sustained basis.
  • Following vehicles in a tailback: In stop & go traffic on motorways and similar roads, stops of up to 30 seconds are now possible, during which time the S-Class starts moving again automatically and follows the traffic ahead (in conjunction Active Parking Assist).
  • Traffic Sign Assist: Posted speed limits and any potential no-overtaking signs are displayed for the current section of the route through image recognition and information from the digital road map of the navigation system. The vehicle speed is compared with the speed limit. When the driver selects the appropriate settings, a visual/visual-audible warning signal is issued any time the speed limit is exceeded. No-entry restrictions are also recognised. Furthermore, the system warns of detected persons in the area of pedestrian crossings.

Ride quality: MAGIC BODY CONTROL improved and now with a curve inclination function

The S-Class made a technological statement of superiority in 2013 with ROAD SURFACE SCAN. The system recognises road bumps in advance and compensates them. In the new S-Class this suspension control is further improved: The system’s new stereo camera has a much better performance and works at speeds up to 180 km/h. The S-Class sedan’s curve inclination function is another comfort enhancement. The body tilts to the inside of the bend by up to 2.65 degrees, thereby reducing the lateral forces acting on the passengers.

Long-distance vision: MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE main beams

In 2013, the S-Class became the first automobile to use exclusively LEDs as light sources. On request, the optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are available with ULTRA RANGE high beams. The ULTRA RANGE main beams produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beams remaining above the reference value of 1 lux over a distance of more than 650 metres. For the driver, this means a clear improvement of the already very good lighting performance of current MULTIBEAM LED systems.

Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus is part of the optional MULTIBEAM LED. It allows drivers to drive with activated main beams permanently without dazzling other road users. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, the LEDs of the MULTIBEAM LED main beam modules are partially switched off, masking out a U-shaped area of the light beam. The other areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the high beam (partial high beam).

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Wireless charging of smartphones and new Concierge Service

The new infotainment generation also expands the telephony options: With the help of the controller for parking (see above).

Mobile phones can be charged as standard, wirelessly and without a telephone holder. In addition, Multifunction Telephony (optional feature) allows connecting mobile phones with the vehicle’s exterior aerial. Wireless charging works with all mobile devices that support or can be retrofitted to support the Qi standard. The charging pad is integrated into the stowage compartment at the front of the centre console. Wireless charging is optionally also available in the centre console in the rear.

The “Business Telephony in the Rear” equipment feature was expanded with additional functions such as connecting a second mobile phone and transferring calls between front and rear passengers. The Bluetooth handset was also redesigned.

Front and rear passengers now have more text messaging options. They can now receive, send, forward and use voice-to-text to dictate text messages. Telephone numbers from text messages and embedded URLs can be used for further actions. The messages are also displayed as pop-ups on the right half of the wide-screen cockpit. Another new feature is the notification by text message if the vehicle is involved in a fender bender. The sensors of the vehicle detect such a situation and trigger a text message being sent to a preset mobile number.

The Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system with a system output of 1520 watts was expanded with a speaker in the overhead control panel and two speakers in the sides.

The new Concierge Service puts a host of individual services at the disposal of Mercedes me connect customers: from making restaurant reservations and obtaining tips about tourist routes, to gathering information on cultural or sporting events and sending navigation destinations directly to the vehicle. Registered users can establish a telephone connection to the Concierge Service in the preset language in 20 countries throughout Europe and South Africa by pressing the ‘Info’ button on the overhead control panel or via the Mercedes me App. The personal concierge takes care of everything else.

In other motoring related news, Mercedes-Benz’s German rival – the BMW Group – recently announced that all of its brands and model series can be electrified, while Audi South Africa recently announced the introduction of the all-new Q5.

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