While appearing similar to that of the current model in a number of key areas, it has been comprehensively redesigned in a bid to provide the flagship saloon with added levels of luxury, comfort, accommodation and multimedia functions.
Key among developments is a new dashboard whose horizontal architecture and ambient lighting are used to accentuate visual width. The leather-lined facia features what Mercedes-Benz describes as "metalized" switch gear surfaces and solid aluminum controls together with a selection of wooden trims.
The company's electrical engineers and programmers compiled more than 30 million lines of code in developing new entertainment and information functions for the new S-class. The centerpiece is a new fifth-generation Comand system featuring an Intel Atom processor similar to that used by contemporary laptops, together with all the latest in Google Maps-assisted navigation.
Bucking the trend towards touchscreen operation, the major controls for the Comand system are once again based around a rotary dial positioned between the driver and passenger, as are those for the optional monitors for the rear seats. The system supports various app interfaces, but only with Apple’s iOs operating system. Support for Android and Blackberry-based systems is under development but won’t available at the time of the S-class’s UK introduction later this year.
Two high-resolution monitors with a diagonal width of 307mm perform the functions of the previous instrument binnacle and multimedia system. The left-hand display replaces the old instrument binnacle, while the right-hand display is reserved for multimedia functions.
The new S-class forgoes the Bang & Olufsen sound system of the current model for a new arrangement developed in partnership with Burmester. In top-line form it boasts a 1500-watt output and features 24 speakers and a '3D' sound effect.
Mercedes-Benz is claiming a first for the S-class with a so-called 'active perfuming system'. It uses an ionization function to first cleanse the air before atomisers perfume it in five-minute on/five minute off cycles to subtly alter the smell of the interior. It comes with the choice of four scents or, as Mercedes-Benz prefers, moods: freeside, sports, downtown and nightlife.
Officials from the German car maker have divulged to Autocar that development of the S-class's interior was focused primarily on the long-wheelbase model in light of the decision to shut Mercedes' under-achieving Maybach subsidiary.
Consequently the rear of the S-class now receives features such as rear seats that offer up to 43.5deg of backrest adjustment, a new massage system with 14 separate air cushions in the back rest offering six different programs, a so-called warmth package with heated armrests and door panels and active seat ventilation in which the rotational direction of the fans used to blow cooling air through the seat can be reversed for added comfort.
Mercedes has also redesigned the seats of the new S-class. Those in the rear feature a belt buckle feeder to automatically raise and lower the buckle, an inflatable airbag within the seatbelt strap to reduce ribcage injuries in head-on collisions and, on the optional reclining rear seat, a so-called 'cushionbag' to prevent occupants from sliding under the belt in the event of an accident.
In a move claimed to bring record levels of noise suppression, the new S-class uses 150 individual sound isolation components. The body structure of the new upmarket saloon is also claimed to be 14 per cent stiffer in torsional rigidity, 11 per cent stiffer in lateral bending rigidity and 17 per cent stiffer in vertical bending rigidity.