The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class: The automotive benchmark in efficiency and comfort
Stuttgart/Shanghai. The new S-Class celebrates its world première with extensive innovations at the Auto Shanghai. 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. And the undisputed leader in the premium segment with regard to comfort and wellness sets new standards in the interior. The market launch of the new S-Class starts in the European markets in July.
Several new engines are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six cylinders as diesel and petrol engines as well as a new V-8 biturbo petrol engine. In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometres. At the same time, ground-breaking technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator 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. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Control and Active Steer 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 curves or junctions.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps and ULTRA RANGE High Beam turn night into day. ROAD SURFACE SCAN, the forward-looking detection of bumps, and the curve-tilting function CURVE are further unique features of the S-Class in the segment of luxury saloons.
The ENERGIZING comfort control is a world-first entering series production: This optional feature links various comfort systems in the vehicle together, such as climate control, ambience lighting, massage and fragrancing functions, and allows customers to configure a specific wellness set-up to suit their mood or need. This enhances the physical comfort and performance on the road.
"The development of the new S-Class was extremely extensive. With a whole series of new features and functions the S-Class remains the technological pioneer", says Ola Källenius, responsible on the Board of Daimler AG 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 sold well over 300,000 saloons. Today there are six different S-Class body variants.
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 as well as vertical strips with a high-gloss black finish in the radiator grille. The saloon with long wheelbase and V-12 engine is fitted with additional chrome-finish vertical strips 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.
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.
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 inches. 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 controls in the steering wheel. They respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone and 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. 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 doors and upper body edges, dependent on the trim level. Another Mercedes 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 optionally 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 fitted as standard with the KEYLESS start function. 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
The ENERGIZING comfort control is a world-first entering series production: This optional feature links various comfort systems in the vehicle together. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) 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. This enhances the physical comfort and performance while driving and during a break. ENERGIZING comfort can be experienced in all seats, dependent on the equipment.
These six programmes can be selected:
- Training (three trainings – 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 (bpm). 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 the 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, ten colour worlds and three different lighting zones (footwells, trim element level and wide-screen cockpit) enable an avant-garde lighting scene with spectacular colour changes.
Powertrain: new engines with landmark technology
Mercedes-Benz S 560 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 8.5 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 195 g/km) and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 9.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 209 g/km): The new V-8 comes to the starting line with 345 kW (469 hp) and 700 Nm. The new biturbo engine is among the most economical V-8 petrol engines in the world, and consumes about ten percent less fuel than the predecessor. To lower the fuel consumption, four cylinders of the new V-8 are deactivated simultaneously under partial load with the help of the CAMTRONIC valve-lift adjustment system. This reduces gas-cycle losses and enhances the overall efficiency of the four firing cylinders by shifting the operating point towards higher loads. The turbochargers positioned in the V of the cylinder banks represent another special feature.
Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ (fuel consumption combined: 8.9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 203 g/km): For superior performance with significantly reduced fuel consumption, the AMG 4.0-litre V-8 Biturbo engine with cylinder deactivation replaces the previous 5.5-litre V-8 Biturbo. Despite less displacement, the new engine produces 450 kW (612 hp).
Most powerful diesel car in Mercedes-Benz history: In the Mercedes-Benz S 350 d 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined: 5.5 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 145 g/km) and S 400 d 4MATIC models (fuel consumption combined: 5.6 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 147 g/km), the new in-line six-cylinder diesel engine makes its début. It comes in two output levels with 210 kW (286 hp) and 600 Nm as well as 250 kW (340 hp) and 700 Nm. Even though it has noticeably more power than its predecessor, the new engine consumes over 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.
Technical data at a glance
S 350 d 4MATIC
S 400 d 4MATIC
S 560 4MATIC
AMG S 63 4MATIC+
Number of cylinders/arrangement
Rated output (kW/hp)
Rated torque (Nm)
l/100 km *
Further hi-tech engines in the pipeline
In addition to the aforementioned engines, further new power units are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six-cylinder petrol engines as well as a plug-in hybrid with about 50 kilometres of electric range. At the same time, ground-breaking technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première.
New in-line six-cylinder petrol engine (M 256): The new in-line six-cylinder petrol engine exemplifies the electrification process and incorporates a 48-volt on-board power supply.
New intelligent forced induction that includes an electric booster compressor, as well as an Integrated Starter Alternator provide outstanding power delivery without turbo lag. The Integrated Starter Alternator is responsible for hybrid functions, such as boost or energy recovery, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. All things considered, the new R-6 engine delivers the performance of an eight-cylinder with significantly lower consumption.
Systematic electrification dispenses with the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for near-engine exhaust aftertreatment. The 48-volt on-board power supply serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the Integrated Starter Alternator, which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recovery. The new in-line six-cylinder comes to the starting line in two output levels.
Upgraded plug-in hybrid powertrain: Thanks to the significantly increased battery capacity of 13.3 kWh, it is intended that the range for all-electric driving will increase to about 50 km. In conjunction with the new Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, the on-board 7.2-kW charger allows much faster charging of the battery.
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. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Control and Active Steer 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 curves or junctions. This is complemented by a considerably improved Active Lane Change 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 him 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:
- DISTRONIC Active Proximity Assist uses substantially more map and navigation data, can support the driver based on the route, and conveniently adjusts the vehicle speed.
- Active Steer Assist has been noticeably improved across its entire performance range, resulting in markedly enhanced customer benefits.
- Active Lane Change Assist was considerably upgraded. Now tapping the indicator stalk is all it takes to initiate a lane change. This lane change is executed within the next ten seconds and 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 the driver might have missed.
- Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a stop when Active Steer 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.
Depending on the respective applicable national road traffic regulations, Remote Parking Assist enables the driver to manoeuvre the vehicle into tight parking spaces or garages by smartphone, so as to facilitate getting in and out. The vehicle can be manoeuvred into parallel and end-on parking spaces in both forward and reverse direction. Manoeuvring out of end-on parking spaces is also possible, e.g. if the driver returns to their vehicle to find that it has been blocked in. In Explore mode, the vehicle can be manoeuvred forward and back for up to 15 metres and can avoid detected obstacles with small steering corrections in the process.
Ride quality: MAGIC BODY CONTROL improved and now with CURVE function
The S-Class made a technological statement of superiority in 2013 with ROAD SURFACE SCAN. The system detects bumps ahead of the vehicle and adjusts the ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension accordingly. In the new S-Class this suspension control is further improved: The stereo camera of the system now scans the road even more thoroughly, even in dusk and at speeds up to 180 km/h. Another comfort enhancement is the CURVE curve-tilting function, available in the S-Class Saloon for the first time. The body tilts to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees and thereby reduces the centrifugal forces perceived by 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. The Intelligent Light System is now optionally available with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps and ULTRA RANGE main 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 High-Beam Assist Plus is part of the Intelligent Light System. 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).
Wireless charging of smartphones and new Concierge Service
The new infotainment generation also expands the telephony options: With the help of near-field communication, the smartphone transforms into the digital vehicle key and 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 parking dent. 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 by pressing the 'Info' button on the overhead control panel or via the Mercedes me App. The personal concierge takes care of everything else.