The S-Class continues its world-class stature and is quite an astute performer. It has cameras and sensors that detect people and objects. A cruise control system which slows itself should the traffic ahead cluster. Now this is a SMART car! The intuity Mercedes Benz has always been purveyor has been integrated into all aspects of this car’s electronics. The brand-new styling is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. The sleek flowing lines are aggregate retro and contemporary, hinting at tomorrow, but then, this has always been a Mercedes Benz attribute. Their ingenious ability to capture elegance and performance with safety being foremost continues. It even has a cabin atomizer for a touch of fragrance……. This car I praise is the 2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class which is as intelligent as it is beautiful. The all new S-Class inherits myriad Mercedes Benz innovations and builds upon them to create one of the safest automobiles in the world.
The 2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class is the first vehicle in the world to switch to 100% LED lighting. Both exterior and interior….not a single bulb exists….period. And, as another industry first is the use of multi-level functionality to its lighting where at night, the intensity of the rear tail lights is reduced while stopped waiting for traffic lighting, a courtesy to the traffic behind.
Mercedes Benz has always been pioneers in the world of vehicle design and safety. Their patent under skin safety skeleton with exclusive safety cage is made from high strength steel. The front and rear of the car has crumple zones designed to accordion at a controlled rate upon impact…..this set safety standards for the motor vehicle industry.
A Mercedes Benz has doors that were designed to neither burst-open nor jam-shut in an accident. Aerodynamics which were quickly adopted by the auto industry were first tried tested and improved by Mercedes Benz. Even the head and tail lamps were designed to be swept clear of debris with their being designed into the body work allowing a constant flow of air sweeping them clear in inclement weather increasing visibility. These are just a few of the myriad innovations Mercedes Benz won awards and accolades from authorities in the automotive industry.
Before I go into the launch of the all new 2014 S-Class, I thought I would do something a little different. In order to truly appreciate the entrance of the 2014, I am going to show you through an S-Class time line how it got to be the best selling luxury sedan in the world. This is “Everything you ever wanted to know about Mercedes Benz S-Class …. but were afraid to ask….”
The Mercedes Benz S-Class has served as flagship saloon for over fifty years in various forms. The flagship always showcased the company’s latest innovations. It came as two versions, standard and long wheelbase variants. “S-Class” is really “S-Klasse” which is the German abbreviation for “Sonderklasse” that translates to ‘special class’ (in a class of its own). The senior series of Mercedes Benz have always been designated “S”, these luxury saloons were always epitomized by luxury and presence.
At the end of WW II, series 220 W187 was launched with series 300 W186 which was the largest and the fastest production vehicle in Germany. The Adenauer Mercedes got its name from the German chancellor who fancied it, Konrad Adenauer. It was produced from 1951 through 1959.
The Mercedes Benz “Ponton” debuted in 1954 as series 220 W180 and was produced until 1956. These were the first Mercedes Benz six cylinder models without the conventional frame, using a unitized body/frame construction. It introduced new levels of comfort and convenience. Its single joint swing axle was inspired by Mercedes Racing cars.
The “Heckflosse” or tail fin Benz produced from 1959-1965 was available in three variants; W110 was the entry level four cylinder, W111 were the top range six cylinder series, and W112 were the luxury version with a big block 3 litre engine. They all shared the same platform. Milestones for this series include being the first time in automotive history that the Béla Barényi’s safety shell had been used in a production vehicle.
The 600 series was the epitome of Mercedes Benz and the formal limousine available with both standard and long wheelbase versions. Introduced in 1963 as W100, it was the pinnacle of Mercedes Benz technology at the time. It was the look of the 600 that inspired the styling of this genre.
Series W108 & W109 were produced from 1963-1981. It received the first Mercedes Benz V8 engines in 1969. The 6.3 litre V8 W108 were standard wheelbase dubbed 250S, 250SE, 280S, 280SE, and the 280SEL long wheelbase variant.
The W109 chassis was the most luxurious and powerful called the 300SE standard wheelbase & 300SEL long wheelbase. Tail fins were trimmed to a more contemporary look. Up to now, we know the “S” and its connotation. The “E” for the German word “Einspritzen” refers to fuel injection, and the “L” which is Lang or long wheelbase.
W116, produced from 1972-1980 and were the first to be formally named S-Class/S-Klasse. Mercedes Benz used an independent suspension and disc brakes. This was also the first Mercedes Benz to tout safety over aesthetics. It was Mercedes Benz that introduced safety innovations to the automotive industry. Among these, SRS (Supplemental Restraint System, aka airbags), padded dash panels and ergonomically designed head rests.
Its rounded body work was aimed to minimize pedestrian injuries. Mercedes Benz used an impressive array of both active and passive safety systems. It was the W116 that introduced the passenger cage and skeleton built into the architecture of the body shell. This series was among the first cars in the world to utilize the ABS and air bag system. The extremely sophisticated Turbodiesel engine was introduced. The W116 wore the 350/450 SE & SEL nomenclature and were equipped with V8 engines as standard.
The highly collectible 450 SEL 6.9 was offered as a limited edition high performance saloon with a hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension. A very quick saloon too I must admit I was completely satisfied with its performance, the part that surprised me was the fact that a car this size handled like a smaller vehicle, it was taught and very quick, very sure-footed and confident. It was this body style that Mercedes Benz started to “hint” with the aerodynamics and nudged the entire industry towards the trend.
W126, produced from 1979-1991 were among the first cars in the world to use aerodynamics in its architecture. The W126 re-engineered the air bag system adding the passenger side. This modern air bag system is a Mercedes Benz patent. Traction Control and seat belt pre-tensioners were also introduced. The W126 introduced the SEC which was a luxury coupe. The Turbodiesel was popular in the US while the in-line six cylinder was popular in Europe.
The W140 produced from 1991-1998 was a Goliath in girth compared to its predecessors. It featured self closing doors and boot lid. The Call letters were inverted. The 500SE and 500SEL were now S500 regardless of wheelbase. Also available were the S350 a six cylinder and an S600 which is a V12 saloon. These were HUGE Mercedes Benz models which was odd. At the time most auto manufacturers were trimming down in size yet Mercedes blew this up to Goliath proportions. It rode like a city block on wheels yet it was very refined in manners, it was just too big!
The W220 was produced from 1998-2005 and completely restyled. (Thank goodness the Goliath W140 was gargantuan and nondescript in style) The W220 was considered “The next generation of the Mercedes Benz.” Smaller on the outside but offered a larger cabin than the W140. The W220 had a more elegant demeanor than its Goliath predecessor. Mercedes Benz innovations included “Airmatic” air suspension, ventilated seats, navigation system with console mounted screen display, and the “COMMAND” input control system.
The “4MATIC” all-wheel drive system was introduced to the North American market in 2003. Other significant innovations include radar controlled “Distronic Cruise Control” and “Active Cylinder Control” a cylinder shut off system, and the first use of “Pre-Safe”. “Pre-Safe” is a Mercedes Benz early warning system which can apply the brakes, tighten seat belt tensioners, close the sun roof if it detects a roll-over, and monitor the traffic ahead. This is the first fully autonomous braking feature that provides maximum braking force seconds before the impact.
W221, was produced from 2005 through 2013 and is slightly larger than its predecessor. It has three new engines with 2% power increases. Technology includes an infra red “Night View Assist” feature and the latest “Pre-Collision System” which is a series of cameras, sensors, and radar as accident avoidance, designed to reduce the severity of a collision. The W221 series offers an S400, a hybrid variant. The “Distronic Plus” radar guided cruise control can now bring the car to a complete halt.
Saks Fifth Avenue offered 20 Limited Edition S600s in their Christmas catalog in 2005. These were priced at $145,000 each and sold in less than seven minutes on November 22, 2005. These are notable because these were the first S600 models sold to private owners.
….And now (drum-roll) presenting the completely re-designed W222, the 2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class. It has already won two first place finishes in the 2013 Automotive Brand Contest. The “Best of the Best” award was given to both exterior and interior design. The Automotive brand Contest is organized by the” Rat für Formgebung” (Design Council).
The awards go to outstanding product and communication design, which the jury assesses in 14 different categories and four special categories. In 2013 the “Rat für Formgebung” is celebrating its 60th birthday. In spring 1953 the Federal Association for German Industry (BDI) and a number of leading German companies founded the trust on the instigation of the federal German parliament. At present more than 180 design-oriented German companies with more than 1.8 million employees are members of the “Rat für Formgebung”.
The architecture of the 2014 S-Class is a third generation hybrid body shell made entirely of aluminium including the roof. The new S-Class saloon is offered as standard wheelbase (119.4”) and long wheelbase (124.6”). A larger Pullman model that will be longer with an even longer wheelbase between 136.4”-138.3” will be introduced to replace the Maybach brand. The Pullman will target the Chinese market where long wheelbase variants are extremely popular.
“The new S-Class embodies our leadership aspirations like no other model. It marks the beginning of a new era of modern luxury and safety in cars”, observes Dr Joachim Schmidt, Member of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales & Marketing.
Real Life Safety is the integrated approach Mercedes Benz Accident Research uses to avoid accidents by alerting the driver BEFORE an issue occurs by a patent early warning system. Mercedes Benz calls this “Intelligent Drive.” It is a sophisticated network of strategically located sensors and a new stereo camera with multi-stage radar sensors.”Intelligent Drive” with its omniscience and intuity are an example of Mercedes Benz cutting edge technology…..Mercedes Benz is synonymous with safety.
Some of the support functions of “Intelligent Drive” are “Distronic Plus” which uses advanced radar to scan the road ahead, should it sense an imminent collision, the “Pre-Safe” network is engaged initiating 40% braking power while audibly alerting the driver. The system can apply 100% braking pressure should the driver fail to respond. “Distronic Plus” with steering assist enhances lane guidance and can follow vehicles safely in congested traffic.
A new stereo camera brake assist (BASPLUS) with “Cross Traffic Assist” can detect crossing traffic and pedestrians and boost the braking applied accordingly.
If lane markings are broken lines, “Active Lane Keeping Assist” can detect when the adjacent lane is occupied especially on-coming traffic, and apply the brakes to one side of the car to keep it from veering unintentionally out of its lane. It will also vibrate the steering wheel to get the driver’s attention. “Active Blind Spot Assist” can detect if a vehicle is along side of yours through a sensor in the rear bumper and a red icon lights up in the side mirrors to alert driver.
“Night View Assist Plus” has been improved with the use of a thermal imaging camera. This feature automatically switches the speedometer to a sharp night view image highlighting sources of danger. A spotlight function streams light on the source which attracts the driver’s attention at the same time warning the vehicle or pedestrian on the other side of the road.
The “Pre-Safe” protection network has been enhanced. Introduced ten years ago as a first in the industry, it is as an anticipatory occupant pre-warning system, designed to prevent collisions with pedestrians and vehicles in the car’s path, while diffusing dangerous situations in the rear. It can detect pedestrians and apply braking to avoid accidents.
“Pre-Safe” also recognizes imminent rear end collisions warning the rear traffic with the hazard flashers operating at high frequency. If danger persists, the brakes are firmly applied reducing whip lash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused at the time of impact which also reduces the probability of secondary accidents. Immediately before impact, the passengers’ seat belt pre-tensioners are deployed with the driver and front seat occupant being pulled away from the direction of impact of the seat belt before occupant deceleration sets in.
“Attention Assist” can detect and warn inattentiveness and even drowsiness in an extended speed range and alert the driver to their current state of fatigue, register the time of the last break and indicate nearby service areas in the “COMMAND Navigation system.
The ultimate in luxury…..the rear suite option escalates luxury to new heights
Interior LED lighting creates an atmosphere…..
The 2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class offers sophisticated understatement
This is such an innovative world-class piece of automotive technology from Mercedes Benz, I could write about this all-new beauty forever. They re-invented the wheel as usual and still remain pioneers in the automotive industry. With safety paramount, the Mercedes Benz S-Class/S-Klasse has always maintained status as being the best selling luxury saloon in the world. I will have more to share as this new model settles into showrooms and into the media as soon as details are released. I will showcase the Mercedes Benz Pullman series and most likely the S65 & S63s when they make head lines. The new S-Class coupe is making an entrance also, so stay tuned…….