NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Preview

5/20/2013
Fast Facts:
  • Completely redesigned flagship Mercedes sedan
  • Twin-turbocharged V-8 engine
  • Available 4Matic all-wheel drive
  • More aerodynamic exterior design
  • Upgraded interior materials and "navitainment" system
  • Optional fragrance diffusion system
  • Optional front- and rear-seat massage based on hot stone principle
  • New safety and autonomous driving technologies
  • On sale first as the extended-wheelbase 2014 S550

Introduction
Mercedes-Benz has completely redesigned its flagship S-Class sedan for the 2014 model year, and the car will arrive first as the 2014 S550 model with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive (2WD or AWD).

Exterior Features
Calling its new 2014 S-Class sedan a "true design icon," Mercedes aimed to make the car more aerodynamic while implementing traditional brand cues such as a large, upright grille and what the company refers to as a "dropping line" side character line. Full LED lighting is standard for this model, and Mercedes makes reference to "coupe-like" and "coupe-style" design details in describing the new 2014 S-Class. In a change from tradition, the automaker first developed the long-wheelbase S-Class variant and then derived a short-wheelbase version from that model.

Interior Features
Referring to the 2014 S-Class model's interior as "fluid" and "sensually elegant," Mercedes claims the new S550's cabin is designed to "the very highest standard." To this end, the company employs a mixture of metallized switches, aluminum controls, wood trim, and pearl-effect paint finishes to achieve its goals.

As is true on the outside, the interior features full LED lighting, including a headliner that the company says glows after dark. Twin 12.3-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display screens convey information, and a rotary COMAND dial with a push-button function and surrounding direct access buttons is standard. An Enhanced Voice Control System is standard, along with a premium audio system including FrontBass speaker technology.

Optional Features
As might be expected of a vehicle that boasts a Special Order Program designed to provide buyers with a wide range of personalization opportunities, there is no shortage of optional equipment that can be added to the new 2014 S-Class.

Because many S-Class owners spend more time riding in the back seat than they do driving the car, Mercedes offers several different rear seating options. Highlights include a seat offering 43.5 degrees of recline and a separately adjustable bottom cushion with a calf support to optimize comfort levels. A First Class Rear seating package includes individual rear seats separated by a large console that includes extra storage, deployable tables, and cupholders designed to keep beverages warm or cold.

An Energizing Massage system, available for both the front and rear seats, is designed in accordance with the hot stone principle--a technique used by massage therapists in which smooth, heated stones are placed on the body to help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly. Mercedes also supplies rapid-heating elements for the seats, armrests, and steering wheel.

In addition to these comfort features, other options for the new 2014 S-Class include a choice between two high-end Burmeister audio systems, a 4-zone automatic climate control system, and an AirBalance package with a cabin perfume atomizer. Mercedes says this "fragrance diffusion" system is controlled by the driver, is temporary, and does not deposit a scent on occupants' clothing.

Mercedes also offers numerous safety-related technologies, which are discussed in detail below.

Under the Hood
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 is reportedly equipped with a direct-injection, twin-turbocharged, 4.7-liter V-8 engine generating an estimated 455 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission delivers the power to the car's rear wheels, and includes an automatic start/stop system to help improve fuel economy. A 4Matic AWD system is optional, and Mercedes says the quickest S550 model sprints to 60 mph in under 4.8 seconds.

An Airmatic air suspension with Adaptive Damping System Plus technology is standard for the new S550. Optionally, this car can be equipped with a new Road Surface Scan system that detects large pavement aberrations and works in tandem with Magic Body Control to set up the suspension tuning to smooth bumps as much as possible.

Safety
Numerous safety-related technologies are either upgraded or new for the 2014 Mercedes S-Class. The Attention Assist drowsy driver detection system now offers a sensitivity setting, and the S-Class is fitted with new stereo cameras and multi-stage sensors to provide the car with 360-degree "vision" and support new autonomous driving systems.

For example, the Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop & Go Plus system provides autonomous lane guidance and can follow vehicles ahead when navigating heavy traffic. The Active Lane Keeping Assist system detects when vehicles are in an adjacent lane or are in an oncoming lane and can autonomously apply the brakes on just one side of the vehicle to prevent it from wandering from a lane. Pre-Safe Brake provides autonomous braking at speeds up to 31 mph, helping to avoid low-speed collisions with other vehicles and with pedestrians.

Additionally, the new S-Class can be optioned with new Pre-Safe Plus technology, which detects when another vehicle might collide with the S-Class, can deliver a warning in the form of rapidly flashing hazard lights, and if the collision cannot be avoided, will automatically apply the brakes to limit the potential for secondary collisions and greater occupant injury. Pre-Safe Impulse is also optional, and uses the seat belts to pull occupants away from the source of frontal-impact crash force in order to help limit injury.

Order the optional RearSeat package, and the S-Class provides inflatable rear seat belts, or "beltbags," which can reduce strain on the occupants' ribcages in a collision, as well as a "cushionbag" designed to keep a reclined rear-seat passenger from sliding under the seat belt in the event of a crash.

Also, the Brake Assist System Plus with Cross Traffic Assist detects traffic or pedestrians crossing in the S-Class model's path and boosts braking power to stop the car as quickly as possible; Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus allows the driver to operate the high-beam headlights continuously, as they automatically dim in the presence of motorists ahead; and Nightview Assist Plus provides a thermal-imaging camera with a Spotlight feature designed to better illuminate pedestrians ahead and to warn pedestrians that a car is approaching.

Technology
In addition to those features previously mentioned, the new flagship Mercedes-Benz offers independent access to the S-Class model's multi-media system from any outboard seating location, and the car is offered with a "Driveshow" that provides information about current conditions, traffic, and time to a destination similar to the programming provided on transoceanic flights. Oddly, SMS text messaging--a standard tech feature on several of the S-Class competitors--is an option for this model.

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