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Mercedes Offers First Look at New S-Class

Button, button, who’s got the buttons?

by on Mar.20, 2013

Step inside the 2014 Mercedes S-Class.

It will likely be one of the most closely watched introductions of the 2014 model-year and Mercedes-Benz is clearly stirring interest with the release of the first teaser images of the next-generation S-Class sedan.

Known inside the company as the W222, the new model will have some big tire tracks to fill.  The S-Class has traditionally been the benchmark for the premium-luxury segment that makers like BMW, Audi and even upstart Hyundai have to chase down.

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For its part, Mercedes less than modestly describes the 2013 S-Class as “the best automobile in the world,” adding that it is “the essence of luxury.” Whether that holds true remains to be seen but these images and some background from the Teutonic maker suggest Mercedes is going all-out to satisfy picky buyers – and keep the competition worried.

For all the technology aboard the new S-Class, Mercedes also plans a major upgrade in the leathers, woods and other materials swaddling the cabin.

While the new images reveal little about the exterior, recent spy shots suggest Mercedes will adopt some of the design language first seen on the new CLA model, with a series of arcing body creases, as well as some details from the current CL Coupe and the recently updated E-Class, including tall, narrow taillamps and more slit-like headlamps. The overlook is cleaner, among other things losing the rear fender bulges of the current model.

As you might expect, Mercedes plans to load up on technology, and will incorporate two large high-res color displays instead of the old S-Class mix of digital and traditional analog gauges. The main widescreen panel, measuring 12.3 inches on the diagonal, will handle primary duties, such as the speedometer and tach, while a smaller panel to the right serving infotainment and other vehicle control duties. That will include the new mBrace2 cloud-based system just being launched.

Even with that touchscreen system, there are reports that the new S-Class will feature a whopping 156 different buttons and switches, front and back, including a dozen on the steering wheel, 23 on the driver’s door and another 13 on the passenger door. Rear passengers will have another 15 on each of their doors, among other things the back seats able to recline by almost 45 degrees.  Even the rear drink holder is going to need three buttons to operate.

Rear passengers will have their own infotainment and seat controls and even can manage the automatic perfume dispenser.

Among the systems controlled by that touchscreen will be the fully automated front seats – which will feature 14 separate air bladders that can provide customized back support, increase lateral support during hard driving and even provide six different massage options – one, the maker intimates, works on “the hot stone principle.”

The new “thermotronic” climate control system will not only provide individual temperature and fan controls but make it possible to give individual passengers the ability to balance how much scent they experience from the “active perfuming system.”

That option was apparently meant to update the automated perfume spritzer first offered on the Maybach Zeppelin model. With Maybach now relegated to the automotive junkyard, Mercedes hopes to fill the gap with a super-premium version of the new S-Class to be called the S600 Pullman.

Every passenger will have his or her own entertainment system and, according to Mercedes, that required a total of 30 million lines of code for the updated COMAND system. If everyone can agree on the same music, meanwhile, the new S-Class can be equipped with a 1,500-watt Burmeister 3D audio system powering 24 individual speakers.

As for specifics such as final vehicle dimensions, powertrain and other minor matters, Mercedes will keep us waiting until closer to the formal unveiling of the new S-Class which, sources tell, is scheduled for some point in May.

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