2021 S Class

Article By: Arnav Kulkarni, Siddharth Shirwadkar

The model year 2021 is playing host to an entire new generation of German Automobiles. But this is not just another German Automobile, is it? This is the pinnacle of luxury. The ultimate utopia of effortless transport. The This is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

What's new with the 2021 model? Does it live up to the legacy of its predecessors?

Let's find out! RPMStyle 😏 This might be a long one, buckle in!

General Exterior

Someone's had a hard and long session on the drawing board and it shows. While the design may not be everyone's taste, it surely is a massive change from all previous versions of the S. Where all the previous S Class designs were focused purely on the Luxe and Elegance aspect, the 2021 model strays a bit towards the sleek, sporty look and we kinda like it. It looks less chunky but the reduced elegance is something not a lot of people would be fans of. But that design serves a function; the 2021 S-Class has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 making it one of the worlds most aerodynamic cars (Model S is 0.24). It glides through the air smoother than me trying to get into DM's.

Further up, this is also the first S Class in a very long time to get horizontal tail-lamps over the vertical ones. The taillamps look sleek and futuristic, but the rear-end in general is a tad bit disappointing because of the design flow and the relatively disproportionate elements. The bumper is accentuated a little further than the sweet spot which makes it look like the CLA's big brother.

Another cool thing about the exterior are the door handles. You don't see them now, do you? That's because they retract when the car is locked and reveal themselves when you approach the car or unlock it! This is to improve the aerodynamics and add a sophisticated touch.

The 2021 S Class also gets rear wheel steering that turns at more aggressive angles than before. The rear axle now has a 10-degree turn angle which turns in the opposite direction to the front axles at low speeds to reduce the turning radius and increase maneuverability of the car on tight turns and awkward parking spots. It moves in the same direction as the front axles at high speeds to improve the handling and cornering speeds.

Speaking of cool things on the outside. We'll come to something that's so cool it deserves it's own segment.

Exterior Lighting

The headlights on the S-Class have the 'Multibeam LED' options fitted as standard and a 'Digital Light' option, offered in most markets except the USA (because, US regulations). This technology is phenomenal and a huge leap forward in the automotive lighting technology. We'll let you see it for yourself and then explain it.

So yeah, it's like a projector in your headlamps. But how does it really even work? In the Digital Light module, are the 3 LED lamps as standard and then there are 1.3 Million micro-mirrors. How micro? smaller than the camera module at the back of your phone! These 1.3 Million micro-mirrors reflect the light beams onto the road as single pixels which gives the total projection an astonishing pixel count of 2.6 Million! This might just be brighter and sharper than my future...

With this hardware capability, the S-Class can project just about any media on the road meaning you can technically watch Die Hard or something. But instead, the vehicle detects road signs, construction sites, pedestrians and projects respective markings on the road, in your field of view. It also displays the navigational arrows and symbols right in front of you.

The Digital Light, in tandem with the topographical sensors, changes the angle of projection of the beams based on the angle of the vehicle and the road in front of it making sure that the maximum surface area of the road is evenly lit. Going downhill, the vehicle will will adjust the angle of the lights automatically so the beams are on the road instead of in the sky. Now that's revolutionary!

General Interior

The most important aspect of the S-Class. The interiors in the latest S-Class are just as futuristic as they are luxurious. It's minimal, yet jaw-dropping beautiful. What catches your eye first, is the center console. Fitted with the latest and best of technologies. The center infotainment display, presumably larger than the bed I sleep in replaces 27 of the conventional knobs/dials making the dash look much cleaner and simpler, also unlike my bed.

The MBUX makes navigating through the system just effortless. With every control virtually within a couple of taps or voice commands, expect no more hassles the next time your wife wants to change the entire configuration of your S Class.

But some married guy at the table thought of this exact problem and created a work-around to this. Now, upon entering your S Class, the tiny camera in the cockpit detects your face and sets the configuration according to your presets. Don't worry, there's also a fingerprint scanner to ensure minimum bypass. Upon recognition, the S Class greets you and plays a little welcome animation. For north of a 100k, it better.

The traditional circular vents in the S Class are now in the rear-view mirror. No, not literally, they're a thing of the past, replaced by sleeker horizontal vents just above the infotainment to go with the interior theme this year. A little below that, are the flowing ambient lights that flow linearly from the center out towards the back seats in a set of single swooping internal fixtures.

Mercedes wanted to portray the 'continuity' and that is what they achieve. With 64 colour options, and even more brightness adjustments, the ambient lighting can cater to just about anyone's mood although there is no word from Mercedes yet, on if it would improve your wife's mood after a dinner gone wrong or something along the lines of that.

It also serves a function where it flashes red in the direction of an approaching car when switching lanes or at a junction. It also warns the passengers opening doors, if there is a vehicle approaching from behind. The ambient lights also pulsate blue or a red for a short period of time when you change the climate controls so you know when your kid is fiddling with the controls. The steering too, is jam packed with sensors and all kinds of next level tech. The steering wheel has capacitive sensors that detect when your hands are on/off it. The optional 3D face scanner detects your attention towards the road and predicts your fatigue levels and puts up warning signs accordingly.

Another cool quirk in the interior is something that amazes the audiophile in me. The interior of the S Class is encrusted with a 30-speaker Burmester system that is claimed to provide 4 Dimensional Aural Immersion. The system has an RMS Rating of 1,750 W. That aside, I'm sure you're wondering where the team at Mercedes-Benz managed to fit 30 speakers. Under your ass.

No, that's not sarcasm or sass. Someone in the team thought it would be an amazing idea to place 4 resonators under your butt inside the seat. Being honest, I'm not against this idea. However un-conventional, I like the function and the implementation. No Shakira, hips still don't lie.

But that's not it! There's speakers in the headrests too. Now these serve an amazing function when not wreaking havoc on 1,750 Watts of power. During Navigation, instead of muting the song and telling you to head down I-95, the system keeps the system volume intact but plays the navigation feedback through the driver's headrest only. This also helps in audio individualization where the sound can only be played through the speakers in and around the designated seat/person.

The seats are, per usual, the highest levels of luxury and comfort with individual heating, cooling, ventilation, electric adjustment and the feeling of total command and power. Overall, the interior inside the 2021 S Class is just fabulous. It is hands-down one of the best cars to be in if you're into luxury or wanna make a statement.

Safety

Mercedes-Benz have outdone themselves with some of the best safety features on the planet. The newest and the most groundbreaking feature is the IMPULSE System. What this does is; it uses the E-Active Body Control function paired with the Air Suspension to make the entire vehicle jump and lift a couple of inches which diverts the energy of the impact towards the frame of the vehicle and away from the doors or towards the passengers. You might say, doesn't the Audi do the same? And no. Well yes, but actually no.

The Audi only raises the impact side of the car, which, according to Mercedes adds unnecessary oscillation of the vehicles and it's passengers whereas the Merc absorbs the impact and reduces lateral motion and jerking.

The S Class is also one of the world's first cars to have fully deploying rear airbags that have a new, intuitive design. The mid-section is filled with ambient air to act like a buffer and relatively rigid frames throughout the edges for further protection.

The active braking and assisted deceleration have had minor updates where the computing and effective time is quicker and the application is linear. This helps avoid crashes when the driver is unable to act in time.

Performance

This is one of the least important things in this car, but Mercedes, in no way, has neglected the engine or the transmission.. The base W223 S500 will pack a 3.0 litre Inline-Six with 429 horsepower and 521 Nm (384 lb-ft) of torque.

The S580 has a twin-turbo 4.0 litre V8 packing 496 horsepower and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque.

There will also be an S580e which will be a PHEV hybrid. A 28 kWh electric motor and the S500's inline 6 combine to give 500 horsepower and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque with an electric-only range of 96 kms (60 mi).

While there is no constructive news on the S65 AMG or the S63 AMG yet, the Maybach versions will get the monstrous twin-turbo six litre V12.

The S Class will also get a 9 speed 9G-Tronic transmission which will ensure the smoothest and the most efficient shifts ever.

Verdict

The W223 S Class is extraordinarily good. Sure, the exterior design might not be the best ever or it might not be to everyone's taste but what it lacks in design on the outside, it makes up for in everything else. The interiors, the features, the safety elements, the lights! Mercedes really have outdone themselves this year with their S Class. If you're looking for pure luxury, a status symbol and have north of a 100k ready at your disposal. I say look no further!

With a sweet sweet interior and tech, this is one hell of a car!