Ahead of the official unveiling of the seventh-generation of Merc’s flagship saloon later this year, Mercedes is giving us a glimpse inside its luxury, hi-tech world. Over the decades the S-Class has traditionally led the way in introducing everything from ABS brakes to massaging seats, and this version promises to be just as influential.
Scoop shots show the next S-Class to be pretty samey on the outside, but on the inside – as previewed in this mocked-up cabin pod – there’s plenty of trick new stuff, which in time will filter down to the cars most people drive.
Top 10 things the next S-Class will be known for:
Keeping rear-seat passengers happy. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) has already led the revolution in how we interact with our cars, and the next S-Class gets MBUX gen-two which extends the functionality and “Hey Mercedes” control system to the back-seat passengers. They get three screens and all the infotainment, navigation and comfort features that are available to the driver and front passenger.
Very few knobs. Hard controls are rapidly dying out, rightly or wrongly, and the new S-Class will have 27 fewer hard keys than the outgoing model, to be replaced by….
Gaze control. That’s right, just stare at something to switch it on. Cameras catch you looking and algorithms translate the look into action. Examples? Look over your shoulder to see out of the rear side window and the sun blind, if deployed, will automatically retract. Look for something in the dark and the car will turn on the cabin lights. And just staring at one of the external mirrors is enough to be able to adjust it. Of course, gaze control is in addition to control by voice, hand gestures, touching and swiping.
Pictures in the head-up display. Augmented reality content, as well as images for the first time, can be displayed in driver line-of-sight in a size equivalent to that of a 77-inch TV set, says Mercedes. The image is generated by 1.3 million tiny mirrors, technology also used in cinema projection.
3D driver display. Continuously adjusted images create an impression of spatial depth to the display, “without having to wear 3D glasses”. Which is probably just as well…
Turn on the oven at home. Control of home domestic systems and appliances can be made from the car by voice control thanks to the new Smart Home function.
Beating thieves. Fingerprint, face and voice recognition can all be used to get into your S-Class with new biometric authentication functions.
Saving cyclists. The cabin lighting flashes red if someone in the car is spotted (by cameras) about to open a door and a car, or cyclist, is detected coming up in the blind spot.
Checking the kids. MBUX Interior Assist will tell you if a child seat is not correctly installed.
Even more natural voice control. Just saying “I’m tired” is now enough for the car to activate an energizing programme to keep you awake.