With more advanced driver assistance features being released every year, luxury vehicles are starting to look more and more futuristic. While Tesla might be the first name that springs to mind when thinking about high-tech luxury cars, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers comparable levels of technology and luxury, according to Car and Driver. Here’s everything you need to know about this impressive vehicle.
The luxurious features of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The luxury of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is subtle but undeniable. It begins before you even get into the car, with door handles that sit flush within the body until they detect you approaching with a smart key. In addition to their visual appeal, these handles serve an aerodynamic purpose, reducing the drag coefficient to impressively low levels.
Within the cabin, a 12.8-inch touchscreen is the predominant feature on the dashboard. This screen has replaced almost all dash controls, removing physical features in favor of a digital interface. Car and Driver notes that this is a minor disappointment as Mercedes typically designs excellent dashboards with a high level of craftsmanship — just think of the mechanical clock in the center dash of the previous model S-Class.
However, the touchscreen interface works well, even featuring a unique new 3D display to provide a sense of depth. The rest of the cabin contains similar levels of futuristic luxury. Color-configurable LED lighting enables the driver to completely change the cabin’s ambiance. You can also switch between driver profiles using the vehicle’s fingerprint sensor.
How the S-Class automated system performs
Just like Tesla, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is on track to put out fully autonomous vehicles sometime in the future. This technology isn’t available to the public yet, but Car and Driver reviewers were allowed to sit in the passenger seat of a Mercedes Level 3 automated vehicle demonstrator on a test track.
For comparison, Elon Musk has asserted that Tesla will soon be ready to achieve Level 5 automation, the highest level possible. However, many are skeptical of these claims, particularly given the hit or miss quality of Tesla’s automated features.
While the more highly automated systems from Mercedes aren’t even available for test drivers to try, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class does feature the automaker’s Drive Pilot smart cruise control. This system can follow lanes and regulate distances, and can now use the touchscreen to display what it is “seeing” on the road.
According to test drivers, the Drive Pilot was overall successful but not particularly striking — similar to Tesla’s systems. It was able to maintain appropriate distances on the highway, but often missed speed limit changes despite its supposed speed regulation capabilities. It also stopped somewhat roughly in traffic.
Everything we know about the new S-Class so far
There will be two versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class offered in the United States: the S500 and the S580. The S500 features a turbocharged and supercharged 3.0-liter I6 engine that makes 429 hp. The slightly more powerful S580 has a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that makes 496 hp. Drivers confirm that both options offer similar performances.
Test drivers found that the S580 was impressively quiet even at high speeds. Both vehicle options also offer the “Hey, Mercedes” voice assistant, which isn’t new but does have more features than in other Mercedes-Benz options. For example, if you say “I’m stressed,” the voice assistant will offer a massage program.
The S-Class is due to hit the U.S. market in the first few months of 2021. While a vast array of packages and features are available, Car and Driver states that even the base S-Class “continues to represent Mercedes at its best.” For anyone who wants an ultra-luxurious Tesla without actually buying a Tesla, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class might be just what you’re looking for.