Continuing its reputation for ultimate safety, the new S-Class uses the E-Active Body Control system to quickly raise the body of the S-Class if any of its side-mounted radar sensors sense an impending side-on collision. By raising the car’s body by as much as 7.5 mm, the doorframe is positioned to absorb more of the impact, and to reduce the deformation of the passenger cell.
LEGACY OF LUXURY
As more non-luxury brands make more tech available at a lower price, Mercedes-Benz has to carefully toe the line between impressing the owner, and improving their driving experience. In an era where traditional tactile luxury increasingly succumbs to the guiles of technology-inspired convenience, the new S-Class succeeds in fusing these concepts by improving the nature, and functionality, of its MBUX on-board entertainment system.
Naturally, this begins with the driver, who is encouraged by Mercedes-Benz to set up one of seven profiles for potential drivers, to control functions and set preferences for everything from audio levels and frequent navigation destinations, to climate settings and seat position. Each profile is activated either by fingerprint swipe, face- or voice recognition, or a PIN. To avoid abuse of the system, the car’s owner can reserve the right to restrict how much access other profiles have to vehicle settings.
All functions are controlled by the MBUX system’s 12.8” OLED portrait touchscreen. Having reduced the number of physical buttons in the car to the bare minimum, most functions are now managed via virtual controls.
Some controls offer you the option by being either touch-sensitive or can be physically pressed. Similarly, the steering-wheel controls are all touchsensitive and recognise swipes, as do the powerseat controls on the doors. Mercedes explains that this mix of touch-sensitive and physically manipulated controls offers “analogue luxury” in places where buyers demand it, and technology where the latter makes more sense.
The new S-Class is also an incredibly sensory car, with tactile responses adding to the array of audio and visual feedback loops. According to Mercedes-Benz, every haptic feedback sensation has been deliberately designed to feel and sound good. The optional 1,750-watt 4D Burmester premium audio system includes shakers that are attached to the seat frames, which vibrate to the beat of the music to make it feel as though the bass is vibrating the whole car, without damaging your hearing. An intuitive “sound profile” setup tool adjusts low frequencies, high frequencies, and the seat shakers with an audio loop that adds more instruments as you progress, until you have a completely personalised profile. When the seats are not shaking, they offer ten different massage programmes and incorporate near-ear speakers that personalise the audio, such as reserving navigation instructions only for the driver.
Suppose you’re more accustomed to riding in the back of the S-Class. In that case, your control options increase through the use of the centre