Cover Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz sets a new benchmark for luxury and innovation with its latest S-Class saloon

When it comes to large, luxurious saloons, very few cars even come close to the levels of opulence offered by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The German automaker’s flagship model, the S-Class is often where we get our first glimpse of the ground-breaking innovations and technology of the future. New for 2021, the seventh-generation S-Class continues the marque’s long history of elegance, refinement and, above-all, luxury.

Looking at the exterior of the new S-Class, the design cues are undeniably Mercedes, with the classic simple yet sleek Mercedes profile complemented by subtle extra touches such as the new recessed door handles. While the exterior design remains fairly familiar, inside the cabin, the new-generation S-Class is an entirely different innovation, chock-full of features the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

The headline innovation utilised here is the second-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), which makes its long-awaited debut in this new model. Packing a raft of new features, the system can support up to five displays, including the 12.3-inch instrument cluster, the 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen centre display, the twin 11.6-inch rear entertainment screens and the MBUX rear tablet. Thanks to new eye-tracking technology, the new 3D driver display for the first time allows spatial perception of the scene; the head-up display can also present augmented reality content—animated fishbone arrows to denote satellite navigation directions are virtually and precisely projected onto the road, for example.

Featuring the MBUX Interior Assist, the new model will offer you operating convenience and safety, which uses a combination of cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms to recognise and anticipate your every wish while inside the car. For example, a quick glance over the shoulder towards the rear window will elicit the automatic opening of the rear sunblind.

At launch, the S-Class is available in either the S 450 or S 500 formats; both are powered by a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder hybrid engine, putting out 367 PS and 435 PS respectively. The 0-100km/h sprint can be achieved in 5.1 or 4.9 seconds respectively, while both models have a notional top speed of 250 km/h.

A couple of milliseconds shaved off a 0-100km time aside, the S 500 also comes with an active ambient lighting feature. Utilising an impressive 250 LEDs integrated into the driving assistance systems, visual alerts are reinforced throughout the cabin and the climate control system and ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant also offer visual feedback. What's more, you will be travelled in greater comfort thanks to its spacious interior and luxury rear seats that equipped with air cushions for optimum seat position.

And it’s not just smart onboard technology where the new S-Class has made great strides. Optional rear-axel steering increases the steering angle by 10 degrees which, in turn, reduces the turning circle by up to two metres. As anyone who has ever tried to perform a three-point turn in a car that’s the best part of 5.3m long can attest, the extra mobility is a very welcome addition for drivers in Hong Kong where its landscape is filled with windy and narrow roads.

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