We’re eagerly awaiting the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which promises a bolder design as it moves into its next generation. Before the big debut, Mercedes is giving us our first official, unredacted look at perhaps the most important part of the vehicle: its interior. (Earlier photo releases covered a few aspects of the cabin, namely its bevy of new MBUX infotainment screens.) Suffice it to say, the cabin is befitting of a benchmark large luxury saloon.
The streamlined design is set off by two large screens. The first is a wide instrument display in front of the driver that resembles the unit on the old S-Class. However, in the center of the dashboard, you’ll find a new horizontally arranged (portrait-style) display that takes a page from Tesla’s layout book. With screens dominating most of the real estate, the cabin remains free of extraneous buttons and switches. Smaller rectangular air vents replace the old circular vents and are tucked out of the way.
Just like with previous generations, expect top-notch materials on the new S-Class, including the finest leather, open-pore walnut wood, aluminum inlays, and bold piano lacquer trim. Mercedes has reimagined its large sedan’s ambient interior lighting, however. The brightness is ten times greater than before, although drivers can certainly adjust that setting to their preferences. The automaker says it can be so bright, that the ambient lighting is easy to see even in the daytime—a boon given how it also integrates with driver safety features, warning drivers of an impending collision with bright red illumination, for instance.
The cabin also lights up according to the sedan’s carryover “Energizing Comfort” feature, which creates different modes such as Refresh, Vitality, Warmth, Joy, and Comfort using sound, sight, and massage. Another nifty tech feature? Depending on which passenger (or the driver) calls up the onboard voice assistant, an animation appears on-screen showing the requester’s corresponding seat position—meaning it knows which seat is doing the asking.
In updating the seats, Mercedes gave them a new “flowing, three-dimensional design.” The way Mercedes describes them, it’s as if they’re embedded into the cabin like a seashell. The new S-Class gives occupants more ways to adjust the seats, and they can even tell Mercedes their height, and the seats will automatically move to a proper position. A new feature called “energizing seat kinetics” makes minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushion and backrest every so often to improve the driver’s health and wellbeing on long journeys. Other seat goodies include massaging air bladders positioned closer to the occupant’s, um, seat of their pants so that a massage that can be felt more distinctly, and neck warmers in the pillows for rear passengers. Another plus for those in the back: a total of five screens inside the S-Class means plenty of electronic engagement for both rows.
Stay tuned for more on the rest of the 2021 Mercedes S-Class soon—the all-new limousine makes its official debut on September 2.