Cars

Mercedes-Benz’s Flagship S-Class is the Most Sci-Fi Luxury Car Ever

Pulling up anywhere in an S-Class is a statement. Mercedes-Benz’s full-size flagship sedan is a boss; it’s the default choice for any C-Suite exec in need of new wheels, and an OG luxury icon that’s been around since 1972. It’s the vehicular equivalent of casually-worn Royal Oak. Top brass from Mercedes-Benz in Germany recently gave us a guided (virtual) tour of us the all-new 2021 S-Class, and we were blown away. It’s next level: Their new flagship is the most sci-fi car we’ve ever seen.

It’s packed with tech that makes Blade Runner seem kind of basic like 2D screens that look 3D thanks to eye-tracking, a giant 77-inch virtual display that projects augmented-reality info onto the windscreen, a digital voice assistant for each seat that understands 27 languages, plus cameras that interpret a driver’s body language to predict desires and offer up suggestions. Just like the new Apple phones, the car can recognize your fingerprint and even your face.

Okay, no, the new S-Class can’t fly – at least not that we know of, yet – but its new suspension system can analyze the driving situation and adjust itself accordingly at up to 1,000 times per second. There are also as many as five screens in the cabin, running on computing power that would make Deep Blue blush. You can swipe to share content between the various screens and a spokesperson from Nvidia, the company that worked on the car’s digital hardware, said this S-Class has the most powerful on-board computers of any car. Ever.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Since everyone will ask: No, the 2021 S-Class isn’t fully-electric (although there is a plug-in hybrid version coming soon, with around 100 km of electric-only range). For now, the S-Class is powered by a your choice of torque-rich six- or eight-cylinder engine mated to Benz’s EQ Boost mild-hybrid system. But, an all-electric full-size sedan – based on last year’s EQS concept car – with around 700 km of range is in the works over in Stuttgart.

If this all seems cool, but a bit too tech-y, don’t stress. Minimalism is the true luxury of our time, said Gordon Wagner, chief design officer at Mercedes-Benz in Germany. Somehow, despite the cutting edge tech, the S-Class’s cabin doesn’t look like Mission Control at NASA. In fact, it’s the opposite: the new interior paired down and supremely elegant.

A long panel of open-pore wood inlaid with aluminum pinstripes (just one of countless colour and trim options) sweeps across the width of the dashboard. The screens and steering wheel appear to float on that huge panel, which then sweeps down and along the doors. The cabin is bigger and more spacious in nearly every dimension than its predecessor too.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The whole point of the new S-Class is simply to make you feel good. “It’s about how all of these signature details add up to a feeling of being in a safe space, that priceless feeling of being well taken care of,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of Mercedes-Benz.

The tech may be over the top, but the design, the style, the experience of using it should be effortless. It’s kind of awe inspiring to see what Mercedes-Benz can do when it throws its considerable resources into one project. The German company says the 2021 S-Class underpins their claim of making the best car in the world. And after a first look, we’re not about to argue.