The Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It's practically the default choice of world leaders, dignitaries, and consuls. For some, it's even the definitive luxury sedan and if you want to know what will be standard in cars of the future, just take a look at the S-Class of today.
Mercedes-Benz isn't showing off the whole car just yet, but they did give it a rather amusing wrap before its big reveal this September. But underneath all that is tech that could eventually make its way to more affordable cars within a decade.
There are five key technical highlights Mercedes-Benz is pushing in the 2021 S-Class. These include E-Active Body Control, rear-axle steering, center airbag, PRE-SAFE Impulse Side, and the dedicated rear passenger airbags we mentioned before.
With E-Active Body Control, the car counters outside forces by constantly electronically adjusting the suspension. To make sure the car stays as level as possible, Mercedes-Benz even fitted something called Road Surface Scan. That way, the vehicle anticipates the bump, rather than reacting to it. The car can even lean into turns, which Mercedes-Benz says will be a feature greatly appreciated by people with “sensitive stomachs”.
Another feature that will be fitted to some S-Class models is the rear-axle steering system. While four-wheel steering isn't a new concept, it should help something as big as this luxury sedan be more maneuverable in tight city streets.
But the four-wheel steering system isn't just for the city. The manufacturer claims that the long sedan can be as agile and maneuverable as a compact car if this feature is specified.
Some 2021 S-Class sedans will even come with a center airbag. No, it's not like the one seen in the Hiace Commuter. Instead, there's an airbag that deploys in between the front seats that leave a cushion in between the driver and front passenger.
The rear airbags previously mentioned are optional, but it's one that might be worth considering if you're in the market for a full-sized luxury sedan fit for presidents. If you add in all the airbags in the 2021 S-Class, you can get as much as 12 in there, and that's not including the inflatable seatbelts.
But perhaps the most amusing feature in the S-Class is the PRE-SAFE Impulse Side system. It works in with the E-Active Body Control system, and it's mainly for side impact protection. But how can active suspension be a safety feature? If a side impact is imminent, the car can raise itself by as much as 80 mm.
The reason? The object that's about to hit the S-Class will run into the stiffest part of the vehicle first, the floor. That also means the door pillars wouldn't undergo a lot of stress in a crash and keeps the vehicle's structure as straight as possible. Think of it as being similar to raising your shoulder when someone's coming at you from the side.
We're sure the next-generation S-Class will be packing a lot more tech and features than the listed ones above. We wouldn't be surprised if it came with semi-autonomous driving features, self-parking, a whole load of cameras and sensors, and convenience features we thought we didn't need. We expect all of that, along with generous lashings of wood, leather, and aluminum. This is a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, after all.