The new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan introduced for 2015 enters its second model year with two new variants, the premium extended-wheelbase Mercedes-Maybach S600, and the S550e, the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid. With 442 combined system horsepower and 30-MPG EPA highway estimated fuel economy, the S550e offers an extraordinarily compelling balance of performance and efficiency. The 2016 S-Class is also the first Mercedes model with Speed Limit Assist and Near Field Communication (NFC).
The Mercedes S-Class has for decades been not only a benchmark for the luxury category, but also a touchstone for the auto industry as a whole. Many safety technologies and luxury features debuted on S-Class models and were then adopted in other Mercedes models, as well as other brands’ vehicles.
The Mercedes-Maybach rides on an exclusive 132.5-inch wheelbase; all other S-Class models have a 124.6-inch wheelbase. A comprehensive range of systems makes the new-generation S-Class the safest and most comfortable ever, codified into what Mercedes-Benz calls Intelligent Drive What. What began with PRE-SAFE® a decade ago and continued with DISTRONIC PLUS has now resulted in a new dimension of driving, where comfort and safety are merged.
Mercedes-Benz, which pioneered automotive emergency calling, has upgraded its mbrace Connected Car Services for 2016, making the new mbrace2 Connect package standard for all models, along with five years of complimentary service. The package includes Mobile App, Web Services, Roadside Connection, MB Apps (non-streaming), Vehicle Homepage (EVs), Diagnostics Data and Remote Update for five years. The S-Class is one of several 2016 Mercedes models to include a Remote Start function as part of mbrace Connect; the function is accessed through the mbrace Mobile App.
In addition, customers can choose from three mbrace subscription upgrade packages, mbrace Secure, mbrace Concierge and mbrace Entertain. Voices will sound clearer thanks to new HD Voice for compatible mobile devices. And, on cars equipped with COMAND, SiriusXM® Traffic & Weather will be included as standard for five years (previously three years).
Covering the Premium Luxury Category
The S-Class Sedan offers the luxury customer six distinct models for 2016:
- S550e Plug-in Hybrid (available in California): direct-injection 3.0-liter turbo V6 + electric motor; combined output 442 hp / 479 lb-ft;
- S550: direct-injection 4.6-liter biturbo V8 with 455 hp / 516 lb.-ft.; 4MATIC all-wheel drive is optional.
- S600: 6.0-liter biturbo V12 with 523 hp / 612 lb.-ft.
- Mercedes-Maybach S600: 6.0-liter biturbo V12 with 523 hp / 612 lb.-ft.; 132.5-in. wheelbase
- S63 AMG 4MATIC: AMG hand-built 5.5-liter biturbo V8 with 577 hp / 664 lb.-ft.
- S65 AMG: AMG hand-built 6.0-liter biturbo V12 with 621 hp / 738 lb.-ft.
First Plug-in Hybrid from Mercedes-Benz
The S550e, the first in a new series of Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid models, became available in the summer of 2015 in California. The S550e combines a direct-injection 3.0-liter turbo V6 with an electric motor for a combined output of 442 hp and 479 lb.-ft. of torque, giving the car impressive 5.2-second zero-to- 60 acceleration performance and effortless merging and passing.
Yet, the S550e, which uses a PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission, also achieves 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway EPA fuel economy estimates and is capable of up to 12 miles of electric driving. The lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in about 2.5 hours.
The S550e offers the driver a choice of four operating modes:
- HYBRID: the default operating mode.
- E-MODE: runs on battery alone, at speeds up to 75 mph
- E-SAVE: keeps the battery fully charged for later usage.
- CHARGE: Uses the gasoline engine to charge the battery to achieve electric range for later usage.
Numerous other technologies help to maximize driving efficiency. A haptic accelerator pedal uses increased resistance to alert the driver to the limit for electric driving; pressing the pedal beyond the actuation point starts the gas engine. The regenerative braking system with recaptures energy from the wheels during braking and deceleration.
Even the driver’s smartphone can play a role in the S550e. The My Mercedes Electric vehicle homepage can indicate the battery’s state of charge, activate climate control remotely and display the vehicle’s range. For drivers in California, the S550e is eligible for the Green Clean Air decal allowing single occupant use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Mercedes-Maybach S600: Modern Luxury with Classic Grandeur
The Maybach brand, which Mercedes-Benz used for a separate ultimate luxury model from 2002-2012, returned for 2016 as Mercedes-Maybach, an ultra-luxury companion to Mercedes-AMG. With its size, room, power and opportunities for personalization, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 evokes the grandeur of the coachbuilt luxury automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s. Mercedes-Benz, of course, offered cars in that elite class, as did Maybach, which at the time was a rival.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is based on the S-Class but rides on a 132.5-inch wheelbase and measures just less than 215 inches from bumper to bumper. MAGIC BODY CONTROL, which uses a forward stereo camera to “read” the road surface and adjust suspension for upcoming bumps, is standard on this grandest of S-Class models, as is the full suite of Intelligent Drive technologies.
The 7.9-inch increase in wheelbase over the S600 goes to rear-seat passengers, who can recline in standard Executive seats and enjoy a movie on the dual-screen rear seat entertainment system. Passengers can also sip champagne -- cooled in the available rear console refrigerator -- from standard Robbe & Berking silver-plated flutes. Analogies to custom-built private jet cabins seem appropriate, especially in the level of finishes, including hand-stitched Nappa leather, fine woods and discrete chrome accents. Available foldout tables provide another aircraft-themed touch, and are suitable for a meal on the go or for conducting business.
The 523-horsepower, 6-liter biturbo V12 provides jet-like thrust, though in near silence, as the Mercedes-Maybach S600 was designed to offer the world’s quietest car cabin. Other operational sounds – even from the seatbelts unwinding -- have been silenced. The resulting tranquility sets the stage for enjoying the standard Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system that plays through 24 speakers. The audio array includes ceiling-mounted surround speakers and a pair of rotating, illuminated tweeters.
Design: Grandeur in the Modern Idiom
Park the new-generation S-Class next to its esteemed predecessors, and the lineage seems obvious. Yet, the new model conveys that sense of timelessness in its own way, with elegant design that stands on its own. The new S-Class displays classic luxury sedan proportions with a long hood, flowing, coupe-inspired roofline and the gently slanting rear. A character line descending discreetly from front to rear, and another rising from the rocker area through the rear door, convey motion. The pronounced shoulder above the rear wheel adds further emphasis to the car's athletic character.
The new-generation S-Class was the first vehicle in the world whose interior and exterior do without a single light bulb. Nearly 500 LEDs illuminate the road, the vehicle, the interior and the trunk. Depending on equipment, these include:
- Headlamps: each with up to 56 LEDs
- Tail lights: each with up to 35 LEDs (plus 4 for the rear fog lamp)
- Interior (including ambient lighting): approx. 300 LEDs
Visibility is enhanced by two assistance systems that received some key upgrades in the S-Class: Adaptive Highbeam Assist and Night View Assist PLUS. Thanks to a new stereo camera and multistage radar sensors, the S-Class has 360-degree all-round vision and detects potential dangers on the road better than the previous version could.
Interior: Ultra-Quiet, Ultra Comfortable
The expressive S-Class interior fuses renowned Mercedes attention to function with a heightened sense of craftsmanship. Ride comfort, spaciousness and ease of use meet the highest standards of discerning customers. The coordinated use of materials and colors yields an interior seemingly cast from a single mold. The S550 offers leather seating in three grades, with a total of 17 shades to choose from. Choices vary by model: the S600 offers the two top grades for a total of eight color choices.
There is generous use of wood trim – available in five distinct types -- especially in the dashboard and center console. Metallized switch surfaces are available in three different pearl-effect paint finishes.
On the Big Screens
Two 12.3-inch high-resolution TFT color displays in 8:3 format form the information center in the S-Class. The left-hand display performs the functions of the previous instrument cluster, providing the driver with all relevant vehicle information. The right-hand display allows the convenient control of infotainment and comfort functions through the COMAND with Navigation system. The setup groups controls and display functions in a coherent manner in terms of both design and functionality.
The COMAND central controller falls naturally to hand, teaming a touchpad with a rotary knob and one-touch keys for major functions. The touchpad responds to a variety of finger motions, including swipe, pinch and even handwriting. Carousel-style on-screen menus mimic the movement of the rotary knob, making adjustment of the car's features logical and easy.
Apart from the new displays, the metallized switch surfaces and solid aluminum controls are visual highlights of particularly high quality. Each individual control has the sound, feel and attention to detail that sets a Mercedes-Benz apart.
Using the Enhanced Voice Control System, the driver can enter complete addresses in one shot. The telephone and audio systems can also be voice-controlled, and the system can read text messages (SMS) or emails aloud.
Seats: Ultimate Comfort and Mobile Office Capability
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been a benchmark of premium seating comfort, and the new-generation model certainly continues that tradition. Mercedes was first with seat-shaped power seat controls more than three decades ago, and the feature has been widely copied.
The latest version in the new-generation S-Class appears like sculptures cast into the door panel trim. These control the standard 16-way power adjustment, including cushion length and 4-way power lumbar support. A memory system for each front seat recalls three stored seat positions with the touch of a button. The driver-seat memory also includes the power steering column and side mirror positions. Standard heating with automatic timed step-down adds soothing, controlled comfort in cool weather.
The available Premium Package adds the ultimate in seat ventilation and massage. The ENERGIZING massage function is based on the hot-stone principle and was a world first. This unique function uses 14 separately actuated air cushions in the backrest, as well as an integrated warming function. The choice of six massage programs includes two using the warming function, and this feature is also available for the rear seats.
In another first, the active seat ventilation system uses reversing fans. When the ventilation function starts, cooler surrounding air is first drawn onto the seat surface. This enables the surface temperature of a heated-up seat to be reduced much faster than with previous active cooling systems. After four minutes, the fans are automatically switched to blower mode to reduce drafts.
The S-Class line offers a choice of four different rear seat types. Unlike the conventional trailing backrest design, the S-Class reclining rear backrest is adjusted separately so that the legroom and seat cushion remain unchanged. The cushion can be separately adjusted for angle and horizontal position.
The maximum backrest angle of the Executive Rear Seat Package behind the front passenger seat is 43.5 degrees, the best in the luxury segment. The reclining seat features a calf support, which is freely adjustable for length and angle. In combination with the heel rest on the folding chauffeur seat at the front and an additional comfort cushion, this feature allows outstanding resting comfort.
Executive Rear Seat Package PLUS includes a rear center console that is visually continued from the front console. It is equipped with thermo cup holders that use Peltier technology to cool or warm drinks. The center console is also equipped with two tables that can be easily folded in or out using one hand.
Climate Control with a Bonus
The tradition of the S-Class introducing new technologies and features continues with the latest advances in cabin climate control. Mercedes focused on enhancing all aspects, including precision temperature regulation, further noise reduction and added comfort.
The automatic climate control in the rear offers two additional zones, and electric heating of the armrests and center consoles is the kind of feature that sets trends in the luxury category. The S-Class also introduced the AIR-BALANCE package that combines even more efficient ionization and filtration compared with the standard model, along with perfume atomization when desired.
The active perfuming system was a world first and demonstrates the brand’s deep understanding of the premium luxury customers. The perfume atomization system individualizes the scent of the vehicle interior. The driver or passenger has full control, switching the system on and off at will and also adjusting the intensity manually. Crucially, the fragrance is discreet and mild and dissipates rapidly; the system neither changes the interior scent permanently, and the perfume molecules are not deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing.
Mobile Concert Hall
The new S-Class debuted a new generation multimedia system offering intuitive operation and special visualization and animation features. The multi-user system allows independent access to entertainment media sources from any seat.
The innovative Frontbass system that Mercedes-Benz debuted on the SL coupe/roadster is used with all S-Class audio systems. With Frontbass, the woofers are housed in the firewall and use the space in the cross-member and side member as a resonance chamber. Conventional woofers in the doors are therefore unnecessary. The higher location of mid-range speakers in the doors improves the soundscape and also allows additional stowage space in the doors.
Germany's Burmester®, one of the most respected makers of handcrafted high-end home audio, developed the surround-sound systems not only tailored to the S-Class, but worthy of it. The standard system, with 13 speakers and a 590-watt 9-channel digital amplifier, fills the cabin with pure digital surround sound while seamlessly compensating for ambient noise. Exquisitely detailed aluminum speaker grilles are as rewarding to the eyes as the system's output is to discerning ears.
Engineered to be the pinnacle of mobile high-end audio, the available Burmester® 3D system (standard on some models) combines a 1,540-watt amp and total of 24 speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer with its own 400-watt amp, ceiling-mounted surround speakers and rotating, illuminated tweeters. Adjustments include four preset listening modes.
Body: Foundation for Safety
The S-Class body structure and safety passenger cell use a combination of aluminum and high-strength steels, while the entire outer skin is made from aluminum. The high percentage of aluminum is possible thanks to the use of a complete range of semi-finished products (casting, extrusion, sheet metal).
MAGIC BODY CONTROL: The First Suspension System with "Eyes"
The S-Class has long been a benchmark for balancing ride comfort with agility. AIRMATIC full air suspension system, which debuted on the S-Class 15 years ago, has been further refined with each new generation. On the 2016 S-Class, standard equipment includes the continuously operating Adaptive Damping System (ADS PLUS) and an enhanced version of the AIRMATIC full air suspension system.
The new ultimate, however is the optional MAGIC BODY CONTROL, which made the S-Class the world's first car to use ROAD SURACE SCAN to detect road bumps on the road ahead and adjust the suspension in advance to handle them. The system receives input from the same stereo camera that facilitates the car’s numerous Intelligent Drive features. To the driver and passengers, the result will feel as if magic is at work, with the car’s smooth demeanor negating the bumps the eyes see ahead.
Intelligent Drive: Merging Safety and Comfort
Mercedes-Benz paved the foundation of the road toward autonomous mobility with technologies such as PRE-SAFE® and DISTRONIC PLUS®, which merged safety and convenience. The current E-Class Sedan and Wagon introduced an array of additional technologies, among them DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist, that the company calls Intelligent Drive, and these have been refined for the new-generation S-Class. The new functions rely on a stereo camera together with multistage radar sensors.
A key factor is the networking of all systems, which safety experts call "sensor fusion." The aim is to ensure comprehensive protection, not just for the occupants of a Mercedes-Benz, but for other road users, too.
The support functions range from assisting the driver and therefore increasing comfort, to issuing visual, acoustic and/or tactile warning signals, to boosting the driver's reactions. Some systems are even able to take corrective action in an emergency, such as autonomous application of the brakes to prevent an accident or lessen its severity. Here, a summary of the new assistance systems and those with notably enhanced functionality:
- COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS (standard): Radar-based technology alerts the driver if when approaching a vehicle ahead, or even some stationary objects, at a speed and distance that suggest a collision is likely. As soon as the driver starts to brake, Adaptive Brake Assist automatically provides the ideal level of braking, to help prevent a collision or reduce its severity. The system can also initiate braking automatically from speeds up to 65 mph, and even activate the features of PRE-SAFE® if deemed necessary.
- DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist provides steering input to help keep the vehicle centered in the lane.
- Using the stereo camera, the Brake Assist system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist is able to detect crossing traffic and pedestrians too, and to boost the braking power applied by the driver accordingly.
- If the lane markings are broken lines, Active Lane Keeping Assist can detect when the adjacent lane is occupied, especially by oncoming traffic, and reduce the risk of the vehicle leaving its lane unintentionally by applying the brakes on one side.
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the beams' cone of light.
- Night View Assist PLUS was further improved and supplemented by a thermal imaging camera. Night View Assist PLUS can alert the driver to pedestrians or animals in unlit areas in front of the vehicle by automatically switching from the speedometer to a crystal-sharp night view image and highlighting the sources of potential danger. A spotlight function can flash pedestrians detected -- attracting the driver’s attention at the same time as warning the pedestrian.
- ATTENTION ASSIST creates a driver profile within the first 20 minutes of a drive and can then warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness in an extended speed range. It can also notify the driver of current state of fatigue and the driving time since the last break and indicate nearby service areas in the COMAND navigation system.
Extended PRE-SAFE® protection:
A decade ago, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the groundbreaking PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system in the S-Class. Mercedes has been refining the technology since then and increased its capability for the new-generation S-Class. The new PRE-SAFE® functions can help to prevent collisions with pedestrians and vehicles in front in city traffic, help mitigate dangerous situations caused by traffic behind and enhance the protection offered by the seat belts.
- The PRE-SAFE® Brake can also detect pedestrians and initiate autonomous braking to avoid a collision at speeds up to 31 mph
- PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision and can also firmly apply the stationary vehicle's brakes and thus minimize the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by the impact. This action can also help reduce the risk of secondary accidents. Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection measures, including the reversible belt tensioners, are deployed.
- PRE-SAFE® Impulse will release tension on the occupants’ seat belts in a controlled manner to reduce the amount of pressure on the body. This can substantially reduce the risk and severity of injuries in a frontal collision.
Setting the Standard for Rear Passenger Safety
Mercedes-Benz has extended the safety system for rear seat passengers further with the seat belt buckle extender, the beltbag and the cushionbag. The first two of these developments are included in the optional Rear Seat Package.” With the illuminated seat belt buckle extender, an electric motor extends and retracts the belt buckle automatically. In this way, any belt slack in the area of the pelvis and thorax can be reduced so that passengers are secured more firmly.
The beltbag is an inflatable seat-belt strap that is able to reduce the risk of injury to passengers in the rear in a head-on collision by lessening the strain placed on the ribcage. The Executive Rear Seat Package and Executive Rear Seat Package PLUS are equipped with a cushionbag under the seat cushion upholstery as standard. When the seat is reclined, it prevents the occupant from sliding beneath the seat belt (“submarining”) in an accident. This has enabled Mercedes-Benz to design a comfortable reclining seat that provides a higher level of accident safety than a seat with a trailing backrest.
AMG Style and Performance: Like No Other
Performance driving enthusiasts can choose from two Mercedes-AMG models, the S63 4MATIC with a biturbo V8 and AMG PERFORMANCE 4MATIC, and the S65 with a biturbo V12 and rear-wheel drive. In the AMG S63 4MATIC, a handcrafted 5.5-liter AMG biturbo V-8 generates 577 hp and 664 lb.-ft. of torque. The AMG V12 in the S65 delivers a peak output of 621 hp and a massive 738 lb.-ft. maximum torque.
Both the S63 and S65 roll on standard 20-inch forged AMG multispoke alloy wheels (8.5 x 20 front and 9.5 x 20 rear) with 255/40R20 front and 285/35R20 rear high-performance tires. The high-performance compound brake system features 15.4-inch compound discs with six-piston fixed calipers at the front and 14.1-inch integral discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear. Available on both AMG models is an AMG high-performance Carbon Ceramic braking system, providing immense stopping power, featuring 15.8-inch discs up front with six-piston fixed calipers and 14.2-inch discs at rear with single-piston floating calipers. The optional AMG high-performance Carbon Ceramic braking system reduces unsprung weight by 40% percent versus a conventional steel setup.
There’s an exclusive AMG look to both cars with AMG-design lower bodywork and a front end with large, functional mesh air intakes and airflow-channeling winglets. The latter are set off by a chrome splitter, a detail repeated in the sharply flared side sills and the chiseled rear apron, whose diffuser frames the four trapezoidal exhaust tips.
Exclusive AMG sports seats ensure optimal long-distance comfort. Electric adjustment, memory function, seat heating and climate control are standard features. The contoured seat cushions and backrests improve lateral support when cornering at speed.
High performance of the hand-built engines is supported by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission, AMG Adaptive Sport Suspension, AMG speed-sensitive sports steering and the AMG high-performance compound brake system.
The AMG Adaptive Sport Suspension responds with equal skill to the demands of the racetrack, city streets, highways and back roads. AMG calibration of the AIRMATIC® air suspension delivers highly responsive tracking and cornering with a balance of comfort and control. Specific front-axle kinematics, including increased camber and antiroll-bar thickness, team with a stiffer rear-axle subframe to enhance agility and precision.
Incorporated into the AIRMATIC air suspension, the Adaptive Damping System (ADS PLUS) continually optimizes ride and handling by automatically selecting one of four damping profiles for each spring-strut every time a wheel changes its direction of up-down travel. The electronically controlled damping instantly adapts to reduce body roll, pitch and dive, while also offering automatic 4-wheel level control. Selectable Comfort and Sport modes allow the driver to tailor handling response and ride firmness.
High performance of the hand-built engines is supported by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC sports transmission, AMG Active Sport Suspension (based on ABC Active Body Control), AMG speed-sensitive sports steering and the AMG high-performance compound brake system.
The AMG Active Sport Suspension responds with equal skill to the demands of the racetrack, city streets, highways and back roads. Comfort and Sport modes allow a more driver-defined setup, while automatic 4-wheel level control helps keep an even keel. The S65 AMG features AMG calibration of the industry-leading MAGIC BODY CONTROL® suspension to deliver an unparalleled mix of responsive cornering, comfort and control. MAGIC BODY CONTROL made the S-Class the world's first car to be able to use ROAD SURFACE SCAN to detect road bumps on the road ahead and adjust the suspension in advance to handle them. The system receives input from the same stereo camera that facilitates the car’s numerous Intelligent Drive features. To the driver and passengers, the result will feel as if magic is at work, with the system mitigating the impact of bumps on the road ahead of the car. Comfort and Sport modes allow a more driver-defined setup, while automatic 4-wheel level control helps keep an even keel. Curve mode can also be selected as one of three drive modes and activates a curve-tilting function.