Mercedes-Benz’s new S-class aims to continue the plush four-door saloon’s dominance of the global luxury car market with a technological showcase that combines comfort, space, efficiency, safety, quality and connectivity.
Set to hit UK showrooms in September, the new Mercedes flagship is charged with the task of replacing not one but two model lines: the previous-generation S-class (which has been on sale since 2007) and the discontinued Maybach brand’s 57 and 62 limousines.
Reflecting its importance, the car, codenamed W222, is planned for no less than five variants: standard wheelbase, LWB, extra-long wheelbase, coupé and cabriolet.
Stylistically, the new S-class is more evolutionary than revolutionary, representing a progression of the outgoing model rather than a new direction. It shows obvious heritage in many elements, but the surfacing treatment is contemporary enough to give modern appeal, while drag has been cut, too. Mercedes design boss Gorden Wagener describes the car as having “more noble visual character” than its predecessor.
Up front is a traditional grille with added chrome, increased width and greater prominence than on any recent Mercedes. Other features of note include larger headlights with more internal detail, an intricate front bumper, more contoured bonnet, less prominent wheel arch flares and a signature dropping flank line that runs from the headlights to just above the rear wheels.
The W222’s underpinnings have also evolved from the W221’s, albeit with numerous revisions. These are most notable in the area of electronics, where the new car adopts some interesting new safety features. These include an illuminated belt buckle extender and airbags within the rear-seat belt straps. Models equipped with the optional reclining rear seat also get an airbag within the seat cushion to prevent the occupant sliding forwards during an accident.