APPARATUS / A dose of gadgetry
armrest-mounted tablet that also controls audio, rear climate and navigation, and can even be used to browse the Internet.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class is best experienced when connected to your smart device via the Mercedes Me app. The system also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is good because all six on-board USB ports are the new USB-C standard, so you’ll need to replace your old cables or use the wireless charging pad.
When connected to the Mercedes Me app, and you opt to use the voice command function, you will notice that the 64-colour ambient lighting system is now animated to act as a visual aid wherever possible. Turn the heat up on the passenger’s side, for example, and red hashes will move across the passenger’s side of the dash. Attempting to manually change lanes while there is a car in your blind spot, and the ambient lighting system will light up the LEDs on the passenger door in yellow.
All the latest passive and active driver aids are found in the new S-Class. Most notably, the adaptive cruise control has been upgraded to include the Tesla-esque, driver-initiated automated lane change option that we’ve seen on lesser Benzes in previous years. Although the car will centre itself in the lane, the driver is encouraged to be ready to take over from the vehicle at any time. To ensure that you are, several sensors – including the eye-tracking camera and sensors embedded under the leather of the steering wheel – are used to determine driver attention.
The SAE Level 2 semi-automated driving system can also turn one of its cameras into an integrated dash cam in the event of a collision. The same camera also works with all of the other cameras around the car to become a virtual sentry that will record video if any low-impact collision (in a parking lot, for example) is detected.
While some may scoff at the muted design that appears deceptively evolutionary, the new S-Class remains a sophisticated piece of sheet metal that tricks the eye at almost every corner – the automatically deploying and recessing door handles and incongruous triangular taillights being exemplary cases in point. This said, the expertly crafted curves and traditional MercedesBenz design cues eclipse most other models in the Mercedes stable. And while the family resemblance is pronounced, the new S-Class retains its title as the brand benchmark, design icon, and tech thought leader.