And here it is, after many spyshots, teasers and leaks, Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled its new flagship car – the W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The unveil happened in Hamburg last night, where the launch gambit involved an Airbus A300-600 belonging to DHL cargo, which flew the car in from its ‘birth place’ in Stuttgart. The W222 rolled onto the stage with its first passenger Alicia Keys.
Since we’ve gone over the new S-Class’ exterior looks many times already, we won’t go into detail about what these many high resolution photos can explain way better than text. As it turns out, there’re only two ‘looks’ for the flagship car – those sporty bumpers that we saw in the leaks are part of the sportier-looking AMG Sports Package. The car in the first photo above is the standard look.
Those tail lamps that looked rather smallish in the spyshots and leaks seem to look better in some of these photos, so I guess it’s an angle thing. We can’t wait to see how the new S-Class looks in real life to make up a final opinion on the car’s looks.
The interior is an evolution of the W221‘s interior design, but enhanced and updated. The double screen instrumentation binnacle design continues with the W222, but the screens are now huge 12″3 inch high resolution TFT screens in 8:3 aspect ratio. The analogue instrumentation that was used for the RPM, fuel and other misc gauges in the W221 have been eliminated.
Everything else should be very familiar to the S-Class owner – seat controls on the door, climate control buttons in a row below the COMAND display, various other buttons surrounding the COMAND dial, a palm rest that flips open to reveal a keypad, as well as a steering wheel column shifter. The air conditioning vents are now circular instead of rectangular in shape, as is the analogue clock in the middle of the dashboard.
Despite the wheelbase remaining the same as the outgoing W221/V221 for both the W222 and the V222 long wheelbase model, the new W222 S-class offers 12mm extra headroom, 14mm more shoulder room and 10mm more elbow room for the front occupants, as well as a 14mm increase in rear knee room and 9mm increased shoulder room for the rear occupants.
Other than the luxurious exterior and interior, what’s very interesting about this car is the technologies that it has introduced to enhance the comfort and safety of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship sedan. To make things easier to digest, we’ll go through these one by one.
The first ever car standard without a single light bulb
The new S-Class is the first car in the world which doesn’t use a single light bulb in the car as part of the standard package rolling out of the factory. Everything is powered by LED – yes, a total of almost 500 LEDs are found all around the car.
The headlamps have up to 56 LEDs each, the tail lamps are powered by 35 LEDs each plus 4 LEDs for the rear fog lamps, and the interior is lit up by about 300 LEDs, including the ambient lighting.
It knows that bumpy roads are up ahead
The new S-Class uses ROAD SURFACE SCAN to detect road unevenness using a stereo camera, and the air suspension is adjusted automatically in anticipation of these unevenness using MAGIC BODY CONTROL. This isn’t a standard feature though – it’s optional for the 8 cylinder models only, which means the majority of the W222 sold in Malaysia won’t have it.
What’s standard is an enhanced version of the AIRMATIC air suspension system, improved over the system found in the W221, as well as the continuously operating Adaptive Damping System ADS PLUS.
There’s a built in perfume dispenser
The AIR BALANCE package consists of perfume atomisation, ionisation and even more efficient filtration compared with the standard model. Mercedes-Benz allows the perfuming system to be switched on and off manually, with manual adjustment of the intensity. The perfume atomisation system individualises the smell of the vehicle interior. Thankfully for those who would still want to enjoy the leather interior smell, the fragrance is claimed to neither changes the interior smell permanently, nor are perfume molecules deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing.
The THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control in the rear has two additional zones to improve thermal comfort. Another new feature is electric heating of the armrests.
It can give you a hot stone massage
Yes, there’s a hot stone massage function, something that was revealed when Mercedes-Benz teased interior photos of the car earlier.
The seat specialists at Daimler have developed a unique massage function with 14 separately actuated air cushions in the backrest with integrated warming. There is a choice of six massage programmes, two of them using the warming function. The function is also available for the rear seats.
New options for the rear seats
There are a total of 5 different configurations for the rear seat of the V222 long wheelbase model, with the top of the line being an Executive seat, with a backrest angle adjustable by up to 43.5 degrees, allowing occupants in the rear to concentrate on work or relax in comfort.
This is the largest backrest inclination 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 allows a reclined position that sets new standards in the automotive sector with respect to sleeping and resting comfort.
If the “First Class Rear” is specified (with rear centre console), the front console on the transmission tunnel is visually continued to the rear, making the rear cabin a strict 2 seater. It is equipped with cup holders which use Peltier technology to cool or warm drinks over a longer period of time. Like an aircraft seat, the centre console is available with two tables which can be easily folded in or out using one hand.
If you opt for the standard wheelbase W222, you get two rear seat variations – static bench seat or individual seats with 37-degree adjustment. The adjustment kinematics have been changed in the luxury and reclining seat variants. Unlike the conventional trailing backrest design, the backrest is adjusted separately so that the legroom and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be separately adjusted for angle and horizontal position.
A woofer in the firewall
The standard sound system has 10 loudspeakers, but for audiophiles the Harman Kardon and Bang & Olufsen options are replaced by two high end sound system options – Burmester Surround Sound system as well as the top of the range Burmester High End 3D Surround Sound system.
All versions of the W222′s audio system has a new feature called Frontbass, which innovatively places the woofers in the firewall of the car, thus using the 40 litre space in the cross member and side member as a resonance chamber. This eliminates the need for woofers in the doors. Mid-range speakers in the doors are moved up. The benefits of this are more room in the bottom half of the door for stowage, and the higher positioning of the mid-rangers improve the sound stage.
Is it even possible to further improve seat belts?
Apparently there is room for improvement, as Mercedes-Benz have discovered. Rear seat passenger safety is enhanced via 3 features – the seat belt buckle extender, the beltbag and the cushionbag.
The first two of these developments are included in the PRE-SAFE rear package. 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 in both the sideways and the lengthways direction.
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 reclining seat is 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 (so-called submarining) in an accident. This has enabled Mercedes-Benz to design a comfortable reclining seat which provides a higher level of accident safety than a seat with a trailing backrest.
Intelligent Drive – plenty of driver assist
- DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot takes the burden off the driver when it comes to lane guidance and is also able to follow vehicles in traffic jams automatically.
- Thanks to 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 Plus 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 the potential danger posed by 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 danger. A spotlight function is furthermore able to flash any pedestrians detected ahead. This attracts the driver’s attention to the source of the danger at the same time as warning the person on the side of the road.
- ATTENTION ASSIST can warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness in an extended speed range and notify the driver of their current state of fatigue and the driving time since the last break, offers an adjustable sensitivity setting and, if a warning is emitted, indicates nearby service areas in the COMAND navigation system.
What about the engine options?
Only a few W222 S-Class engine options were unveiled during the launch time. We’re expecting quite a few more options to sandwich these engines at the bottom as well as top end of the range. Developing markets such as ASEAN will undoubtedly require a petrol S300 model, which will likely use the same engine as the current S300, unless they decide to offer a turbocharged four cylinder version instead.
The V12-powered S-Class tradition will continue with an S600, and there will naturally be AMG models as well. The S350 W221 will probably be replaced by a yet to be announced S400, powered by the same 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 in the facelifted W212 E400.
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia will probably get the W212 facelift launch out of the way first before even thinking about the W222.