- mercedes-benz has revealed that the upcoming s-class will have rear-seat airbags, active suspension, additional in-car monitoring, and rear-wheel steering.
- among new active-safety features, the 2021 s-class will be capable of raising itself three inches if a side collision is imminent, to divert force to the frame.
- rear-wheel steering will reduce the s-class's turning radius by seven feet.
although we can't see the new mercedes-benz s-class until september, the automaker is pushing out bits of news about what we can expect from the upcoming luxury sedan. today, mercedes announced that the vehicle will have all-wheel steering, a dynamic suspension that can read the road, new rear-seat airbags, and proactive safety measures for side impacts.
for the safety-conscious, the s-class will now employ pre-safe impulse side. it's a weird name that essentially means that when the radar system on the s-class detects something is about to hit the car from the side, the entire vehicle will lift itself up three inches to divert the force of the impending collision to the door frame instead of the actual door. so the main body of the vehicle takes the brunt of the impact.
for additional safety, mercedes is adding rear airbags to its executive rear-seat package. those being chauffeured, whether by their corporate driver or a parent, will be that much safer now. mercedes described how the system deploys: "cylindrical, tubular structures are inflated with compressed gas and deploy a wing-shaped structure. a large, tentlike airbag deploys between the two wings, and this is inflated by the surrounding air via specially patented valves in the skin." the "tubes" actually make up the interior of the bag, which expands to cushion a passenger's head if it lurches forward toward the back of the front seat in a collision. the company says the flexibility of the bag and its design makes it suitable for adults, children, and child seats.
mercedes also teased a new in-car monitor that watches the front seat. the automaker would only say that it will be able to detect a child seat in the front seat for the first time and have the mbux infotainment system show an alert in the display about belt fastening. other features are expected to be announced either closer to the reveal or when we finally get to see the new s-class.
moving on from safety to comfort, which is deeply ingrained into the dna of any s-class, mercedes’ e-active body control system is available on the new s-class sedan. the feature first appeared on the automaker’s gle and gls suvs. the dynamic air suspension dampens harsh road conditions for a smoother ride. it also lets the s-class have the curve feature, which reduces body roll felt in the cabin during cornering. the vehicle leans the body into the turn so that those inside the car feel less of the centrifugal force that's part of going around a corner.
e-active also brings road smoothing to the s-class using the cameras mounted in the windshield to create a three-dimensional digital version of the road and send that information to the suspension, which then primes itself to best tackle any holes, ruts, or other road inconsistencies. mercedes told car and driver that the cameras can detect height differences as low as two millimeters under the right lighting conditions.
finally, the latest s-class will have optional rear-axle steering. at speeds below 37 mph, it turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts to reduce the turning radius of the s-class by seven feet to less than 36 feet. at speeds above 37 mph, the wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels for increased stability. when purchasing the vehicle, new owners can add the option that either turns the rear wheels 4.5 degrees or 10 degrees.
while the vehicle is still wrapped in camouflage, it's clear that at least features-wise, mercedes is determined to keep the s-class at the top of the luxury-sedan market.