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Mercedes’ S-ence of Luxury

The new Mercedes S-Class is expected to glide onto UK roads around October 2013. "The Essence of Luxury" is Mercedes’ strapline for its leviathan S-Class, a car that’s consistently been in the vanguard of luxury driving. Sat Bal (22 Apr ’13)

While October might seem a bit of a wait for S-Class devotees the car is expected to be unveiled next month and then premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

For now Red Carpet looks at the S-Class’s new features devised by the Mercedes design and engineering boffins in Stuttgart. Go make a tea; those features are lengthy...

Ethos

When your founding mantra is an uncompromising ‘the best or nothing’   then The Essence of Luxury seems a manageable target. Mercedes has  directed much of its focus towards the interior of the S-Class. The “Energizing” hot-stone massage function, "First Class Rear" and “active perfuming system” are just some of the innovations comprised within a cabin that generously uses wood trim and features metallised switch surfaces with pearl-effect paint finishes.

Global affairs

The emphasis on interior space and enhanced luxury was influenced by markets such as Asia Pacific where owners are more likely to be chauffeured, hence the development focus on the long-wheelbase S-Class. For this buyer the "First Class Rear" incorporates a business centre console integrating effects such as a telephone handset, additional stowage compartments and a folding table.

Display

The overhauled Comand Online generation features animated menus and images on a large display in a high-res 8:3 format. A new display concept makes the entire display appears to be free-floating, an impression reinforced by "corona effect" ambience backlighting.

Two high-resolution colour displays with a screen diagonal of 30.7 cm (12.3 inches) form the new information centre in the S-Class. The right-hand display allows the convenient control of “infotainment” and comfort functions.

Work or relax

A choice of five different rear seat variants allows occupants in the rear to concentrate on work or relax in comfort.  Mercedes claims world first with the Energizing massage option which gives passengers a hot stone massage with the aid of 14 air cushions actuated within the seats. The maximum backrest angle of the reclining seat on the front passenger side is increased from 37 to 43.5 degrees, giving it the largest backrest inclination in the luxury sector.

Also new is the “Warmth Comfort” package with heated armrests and door centre panels in the front and rear (door and centre armrests). The package also includes a heated steering wheel and express response seat heating Plus.

Another world first is the car’s "active perfuming system" as part of the Air-Balance package. The perfume atomisation system individualises the smell of the vehicle interior. It neither changes the interior smell permanently, nor are perfume molecules deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing.

Multimedia

New here is the multi-user system which allows separate access to the media sources of the entertainment system from any seat. That means  independent access to the media sources of the entertainment system from any of the four seats – i.e. radio, TV, internet, navigation, DVD player and USB-connected devices.

The driver control function for all the seats is another new feature. The driver is able to route any audio or video source to the display and headset of any passenger making the car a concert or conference space.

The Frontbass system developed by Mercedes-Benz and used for the first time in a saloon car. The optional Burmester sound system features 24 speakers for optimum 3D sound.

The interactive presentation of content is a prominent new feature of the navigation function. The new navitainment functions include an animated compass, the "Driveshow" similar to that in an aircraft, and the display of Google Maps on the head unit and in the rear.

Voice entry using Linguatronic via the Speech Dialog System allows complete addresses to be spoken out (one-shot input). The telephone and audio systems can also be voice-controlled.

Traffic data is now provided by the speedy "Live Traffic Information" service. Its  fast internet connection makes for quicker updates. The new key word search feature means only a few letters need to be entered for the address to be displayed.

 

The sound of silence

Luxury cars are characterised by their silent, magic-carpet ride, something the S-Class has always excelled at. The new S-Class improves matters with ‘NVH’ measures (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) relating to the body, suspension and powertrain.

Aeroacoustic specialists worked on countering wind noises and big improvements have been made to the sealing systems around the windows and door handles for a scarcely perceptible level of noise in the interior of the car.

This is helped by insulation and absorptive effects to the underbody and wheel arch cladding to reduce high-frequency tyre noise in the interior.

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