7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes has revealed an all-new 'W223' version of the S-Class, and that means tech. Lots of tech.
7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Ladies and gents, please welcome the latest version of the car industry’s great innovator - the Mercedes S-Class. The new one is designated as the W223 (V223 for the long wheelbase version), and is 54mm longer than the old one.

The on-trend-for-2020 giant front grille won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but with an S-Class, aesthetics are besides the point - it’s all about the technology inside. And sure enough, the W223 is packed to the top of its double glazed windows with the stuff.

Here are some of the highlights:

It has more than 55 inches of screen real estate

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Tick the right options, and your S-Class will be blessed with five screens. There’s diagonally mounted, 12.8-inch OLED infotainment display (11.9-inch and non-OLED as standard) which is 64 per cent bigger than the one in the old S-Class, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and for those sitting in the rear, two 11.6-inch screens plus a seven-inch removable tablet.

Although it’s the biggest screen that grabs the most attention, the driver’s display which is arguably the most interesting - it has a 3D mode giving spatial perception via an eye-tracking system. Finally, there’s a head-up display with an augmented reality function that appears to ‘project’ navigations on the road ahead.

The ambient lighting system is made up of 250 LEDs

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Ambient lighting seemed pretty snazzy when the S-Class first got it, but just a few years on, it seems hard to find a car that doesn’t have the tech as an optional extra. But that’s fine, as the new S has an extra snazzy system, with the LED count going from a mere 40 in the old one to 247 in the standard car and 263 in the long-wheelbase S.

CAN-BUS actuation of each individual LED makes “flowing light effects” and transitions possible. The setup is 10 times brighter and is linked to the car’s safety systems, enabling it to give off visual warnings.

The LEDs in the clusters have 2.6 million 'micro-mirrors'

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Headlights have come a hell of a long way in recent years, but the clusters in the W223 look to have taken things a step further. In each of the car’s (optional) Digital Light modules are three “extremely powerful” LEDs which refract and direct light using a total of 1.3 million micro-mirrors that fit into an area the size of a thumbnail.

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

The high beam assist function is said to be 100 times more precise than when using an 84-pixel matrix LED light (we’ve no idea how you’d measure that either), and the light distribution matches the conditions - for instance if it’s foggy or if you’re on a lit motorway - much better. The fancy lights can even project things onto the road like an excavator symbol to warn the driver of roadworks, or guidelines for narrow lanes.

It's always watching you

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Via a series of cameras embedded in the S-Class’ overhead control panel, you’re always being watched. But not in a creepy way - this is how the W223 reads and enacts “the wishes and intentions of the occupants”. So, you could be looking for something in the front passenger seat, which would cause the Interior Assist to switch a light on to help.

Occupants can use sliding motions to control blinds, while the driver can open the rear blind by merely looking at it. Sounds awfully smart, but we’ll have to wait and see how successfully this machine can interpret what the human is hoping to achieve - if it gets things wrong, that could quickly become annoying. See also BMW‘s gesture control, which is easy to trigger by accident.

The front seats are each powered by 19 motors

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Along with all the future-gazing technology, there are plenty more traditional luxury accoutrements on offer. You’ll find fine Lugano and Nappa leather on the menu, along with various open-pore wood trim packages.

The front seats are controlled with 19 motors to allow for ultimate adjustability, and there are 10 different massage functions. The rear seats are electrically adjustable too - of course - and each can now be specced with a heatable headrest cushion.

It'll raise itself up before being T-boned

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

The W223’s standard-fit ‘Airmatic’ air springs can lower the ground clearance by 10mm at 75mph and up to lower drag, and by another 10mm when you reach 99mph. In Sport it’s fixed at -10mm, with Sport+ dropping you 17mm closer to the tarmac. Alternatively, so long you’re not going more than 37mph, it’s possible to prop the S up by 30mm.

Such a wide range in ride heights isn’t something only the S-Class can manage, but the suspension setup does have one more unusual feature - on cars with Active Body Control specced, the body of the car will rise in a fraction of a second if an imminent side impact is detected. The idea is this reduces the load on whoever’s in the car, since the impact will focus more on the stronger lower parts of the car. Clever.

While we’re talking about dynamics, it’s also worth pointing out that the W223 has the car industry’s new favourite piece of discarded 1980s technology - rear-wheel steering. This decreases the turning circle by nearly two metres to 10.9m.

The hybrid will travel up to 100km on electricity alone

7 Fascinating Technical Facts About The New Mercedes S-Class

Although details of the variant are scarce right now, Mercedes has confirmed the plug-in hybrid S-Class arriving in 2021 will have an electric-only range of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) - double that of the outgoing model.

Initially, there’ll be two 3.0-litre inline-six petrol S-Class derivatives - the 362bhp S450 and the 429bhp S500 - and a pair of inline-six diesels - a 282bhp S350d and the 325bhp S400d. All bar the S350 are exclusively available with all-wheel drive.

Also arriving next year is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 assisted by a starter motor generator and a 48-volt electrical subsystem.


Robert Gracie

Also I thought the fact that the EQ S-class was to have like 700km of range to it, thats another bonus fact in there too….

09/02/2020 - 12:54 |
2 | 0
  1. The infotainment screen is the wrong way
    All screens in cars should be landscape, not portrait
09/02/2020 - 13:08 |
2 | 2
🎺🎺thank mr skeltal

In reply to by DG65425

Portrait mode uses the space much more efficiently. The center console is taller than it is wide, so you can fit a larger screen in portrait mode. Plus, we are already used to phones being in portrait mode, so a lot of the UI/UX elements from a phone can be used to make navigating the infotainment system more intuitive.

09/02/2020 - 13:32 |
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Freddie Skeates

you’re always being watched. But not in a creepy way…

…“the wishes and intentions of the occupants”

idk man seems pretty creepy to me lol

09/02/2020 - 13:26 |
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Yeah. Same here.

09/02/2020 - 18:42 |
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I don’t hate the looks much as I should. I almost think it looks better than the current one…

09/02/2020 - 13:29 |
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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I would say it looks rather modest. Unlike the outgoing model that screams “look at me!” I like the new one a lot.

09/02/2020 - 16:07 |
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V-Tech and EcoBoost kicked in yo

Honestly, im surprised there isnt an all electric S Class. I mean, it is an S class so I suppose if the car gained any more mass it would collapse into a black hole. However, its more likely that the current chassis can’t fit the batteries and in the future the S Class architecture will be a ground up EV design.

09/02/2020 - 16:17 |
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Definitely. Don’t think there are any offerings in the luxury EV space, other than the upcoming Lucid Air and I think something from Rolls Royce

09/02/2020 - 16:26 |
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The upcoming EQS will be the electric counterpart for the S-Class, coming next year allegedly

09/03/2020 - 12:03 |
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The Silver Paseo EL54

As a Mercedes-Benz sales representative I feel obliged to clarify the engine range for the W/V223 debut. The designations stated in the article will in fact be available but the engine outputs differ. The 3.0-litre I6 (M256) mild-hybrid petrols go with 362 bhp in S 450 and 429 bhp in S 500 (powertrain shared with 53 AMG models, features a 48-volt electric compressor). The 2.9-litre I6 (OM656) diesels have 282 bhp in S 350d and 325 bhp in S 400d. The upcoming 4.0-litre biturbo V8 mild-hybrid will use a familiar powertrain already seen in i.e. GLE/GLS 580 - outputting 482 bhp. For now, apart from electric-only range, no specific powertrain data on upcoming plug-in hybrid models is known.

09/03/2020 - 07:25 |
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