As expected, the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class is launched with a suite of new safety technologies
High-tech and high-Class - PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ

MERCEDES-BENZ has always prided itself as being at the forefront of automotive safety, so it is no surprise that the launch of its flagship S-Class limousine is accompanied by a whole slew of innovations.

The most obvious to the S-Class customer in the back seat is the beltbag. This inflatable seatbelt strap reduces ribcage injury in a collision and is supplemented by a cushionbag under the seat cushion to prevent the occupant from submarining or sliding beneath the seatbelt.

The rear seats themselves can come with reclining and footrest features, and they not only have more knee and shoulder room but also massage and ventilation functions.

This rearward emphasis on safety is an acknowledgement that the S-Class is very much a chauffeur-driven car, especially in Asia. So unlike previous models, the sixth-generation S-Class was developed primarily as a long-wheelbase saloon.

One of the three engineering priorities during development was Intelligent Drive. In order to make the new S-Class safer and more comfortable, it gets various intelligent assistance systems.

Among them is Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot. To reduce stress in a jam, the Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control is able to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front using radar, even in stop-and-go traffic.

More interestingly, a pair of cameras in the rear-view mirror housing recognises the car ahead as well as lane markings and conveys this information to the electric power steering system, which then steers the car automatically. What is even more remarkable is that this system can be activated at speeds of up to 200 kmh!

It complements Active Lane Keeping Assist. If the S-Class strays out of its lane, this safety system applies the brakes on one side to bring it back into lane. It is also able to detect when the adjacent lane is occupied, especially by oncoming traffic.

Then there is the improved Night View Assist Plus. A thermal imaging camera alerts the driver to pedestrians or animals by switching from the speedometer to a night-view image and highlighting the potential danger ahead. The system is able to distinguish between humans and animals, and uses a spotlight function to flash them.

But it is the improvement to the S-Class's best-loved attribute - a silent and comfortable cabin - that fans are likely to notice immediately. The interior is even quieter and the ride more supple.

Because thanks to Magic Body Control, ride comfort is taken to a whole new level. By employing the stereo camera system to scan the road surface ahead for unevenness, the new S-Class is the world's first car to detect bumps and prime the suspension in advance to mitigate the impact. The brand with the three-pointed star calls it "suspension with eyes" and it is not an overstatement.

Complementing the tranquil surroundings is the new active perfuming system. The system can be turned on or off, and the intensity of the fragrance adjusted. Four interior fragrances are available in glass flasks that are inserted into the fragrance generator in the glovebox.

Another option is the Burmester 3D Sound System with vehicle noise compensation and 24 speakers, including a UFO-like tweeter dome in the middle of the roof. Apart from producing rich clear sound minus audio fatigue, the speakers are illuminated by the interior ambient lights.

With such innovative safety technologies and luxury equipment, the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class will surely raise the bar for luxury limousines when it arrives here at the end of this year.


 

CAR INFORMATION

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid S400L (A)

Price

:$473,888

Engine Type

:

V6 Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

3,498 cc

Horsepower

:

329 bhp

Torque

:

370 Nm

Transmission

:

7G-Tronic Plus (A)

Acceleration

:

-

Top Speed

:

250 km/h