Vote for the Tech CARS Awards deadline is 1/31.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Almost Autonomous on Highways

The 2018 Mercedes Benz S-Class Sedan offers the latest technolog with a suite of  features that bring it closer to autonomous driving and new dual 12.3″ high-resolution displays with a single bonded glass panel. There are also improved comfort, drive styles, charging, steering, braking and racing features.

Self-driving functions now steer and make a distance adjusting for curves before they happen.

The top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz sedan takes another big step towards the future of autonomous driving and elevates Intelligent Drive to the next level. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of curves or junctions.

The S-Class takes another major step towards autonomous driving, elevating Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and stay in their lane. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of curves or intersections, which is complemented by a considerably improved Active Lane Change Assist and additional functions of Active Emergency Stop Assist.

Thanks to enhanced camera and radar systems, the facelifted S-Class has an even better view of the surrounding traffic. In addition, for the first time it makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior.

This means that Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC is able to assist the driver in many situations based on the route, and conveniently adjust the vehicle speed accordingly.

The “Assistance Graphics” menu of the instrument panel shows the driver at one glance which assistance functions are selected and to what situations the systems are currently responding to. Unmistakable icons provide information on the screen as well in the head-up display and all functions are now controlled from the steering wheel. The new Driver Assistance Package includes but is not limited to the following functions:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC uses substantially more map and navigation data, can support the driver based on the route, and Active Speed Limit Assist is able to conveniently adjust the vehicle’s speed.
  • Active Steering Assist has been noticeably improved across its entire performance range, resulting in markedly enhanced customer benefits.
  • Active Lane Change Assist has also been considerably upgraded. Now tapping the indicator stalk is all it takes to initiate a lane change. This lane change is executed within the next ten seconds and indicated in the instrument cluster with the appropriate visual display, if the vehicle sensor system does not detect any vehicles in the relevant safety zone the driver might have missed.
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a stop when Active Steering Assist is engaged and the system recognizes that the driver is not intervening in the driving process on a sustained basis.
  • Traffic Sign Assist: Posted speed limits are displayed for the current section of the route through image recognition and information from the digital road map of the navigation system. The vehicle speed is compared with the speed limit. When the driver selects the appropriate settings, a visual/ audible warning signal is issued any time the speed limit is exceeded.

The S-Class made a technological breakthrough in 2013 with Road Surface Scan, a system that detects bumps ahead of the vehicle and adjusts the Active Body Control suspension accordingly. In the facelifted S-Class, this suspension control is further improved. The stereo multipurpose camera of the system now scans the road even more thoroughly, even in dusk and at higher speeds. Another comfort enhancement is the CURVE function, available in the S-Class Sedan for the first time (previously available on the S-Class Coupe only), allowing the body to tilt to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees, reducing the centrifugal forces perceived by passengers.

Further unique features of the S-Class in its segment include the LED Intelligent Light System with Ultra Wide Beam, Road Surface Scan (the forward-looking detection of bumps) and curve-tilting function.

ENERGIZING Comfort is also a world-first entering series production. This optional feature links various comfort systems in the vehicle together, such as climate control, ambient lighting, massage and fragrancing functions, and allows customers to configure a specific wellness setup to suit their current mood or needs, enhancing physical comfort and performance on the road.

 

 

The interior of the new S-Class is characterized by two, new high-resolution displays, each with a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a wide-screen cockpit; this central element consequently emphasizes the horizontal orientation of the interior design.

Like the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the center console. With the fully digital cockpit, the driver can choose from three different display styles (Classic, Sport and Progressive) and also configure the information and views relevant to them.

The newly redesigned S-Class has Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel that respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone and enables the driver to control the entire multimedia system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.

The multimedia system can also be operated via the touchpad with controller in the center console and by Voice Control. The operation of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC or standard cruise control is controlled via steering wheel-mounted controls.

 

As before, the interior lighting uses only long-lasting, energy-saving LED technology. With 64 colors, the optionally extended ambient lighting offers a wealth of individual settings. It adds lighting elements on the trim elements, central display, stowage facility at the front of the center console, handle recesses, door pockets, in the front and rear footwells and on the overhead control panel when the vehicle is equipped with the Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound System.

All S-Class models are also fitted as standard with KEYLESS-GO.

ENERGIZING Comfort is a world-first entering series production. This optional feature links various comfort systems in the vehicle together. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the console heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres, and enables a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the driver. This enhances the physical comfort and performance both while driving and during breaks. ENERGIZING Comfort can be experienced in all seats, depending on the equipment level.

The following six Energizing Comfort programs can be selected:

  • Freshness
  • Warmth
  • Vitality
  • Joy
  • Comfort
  • Training (three trainings – muscle relaxation, muscle activation and balance – each with several exercises)

Each program runs for ten minutes and are visualized on the headunit with color graphics, and backed by suitable music. Five songs are already stored in the program. The key function in the “Vitality” program, for example, is fast and upbeat music. If personal music selections are available, for example via the Media Interface, the system analyzes them in the background and assigns them to a program based on the beats per minute (bpm). Individual functions of the program can also be deactivated.

ENERGIZING Comfort also incorporates ambient lighting, which is harmoniously tailored to each of the individual screen designs. The light stages the interior like a work of art by composing color worlds from different colors.

The color worlds can be temporarily replaced with special effects – for example, a special lighting atmosphere can welcome the driver. In addition, the climate control system indicates whether the temperature is adjusted up or down through the color of the ambient lighting. The brightness of the LEDs adapts equally variably and can be set in five levels and four zones: wide-screen cockpit, area of front seats, rear compartment, and all lights.

In addition, the ambient lighting creates emotionally appealing contrasts and structures the interior into levels. 64 colors, ten color worlds and three different lighting zones (footwells, trim element level and wide-screen cockpit) enable an avant-garde lighting scene with spectacular color changes.

Wireless charging of smartphones and new Concierge Service

The new headunit generation expands telephone options. With the help of Near Field Communication, compatible smartphones can be charged wirelessly (wireless charging works with all mobile devices that support or can be retrofitted to support the Qi wireless charging standard). The charging pad is integrated into the stowage compartment at the front of the center console.

The available Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound System with an output of 1520 watts was expanded even further with a speaker in the overhead control panel and two speakers in the sides.

The mbrace® Concierge service puts a host of individual services at the disposal of mbrace® subscribers: from making restaurant reservations, gathering information on movie times or sporting events and obtaining route guidance. Subscribers can establish a direct connection to mbrace® Concierge through the i-button in their vehicle. The personal concierge takes care of everything else.

 

The new LED Intelligent Light System and updated front bumper with jet wing design underscores the more expressive appearance of both AMG S-Class models. The newly redesigned rear bumper and modified tailpipe trim add distinctive design focus as well.

The four AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes — “Comfort,” “Sport,” “Sport+” and “Individual,” — allow the driver to influence the characteristics of the AMG S63 and AMG S65 Sedans. Each driving mode modifies key parameters such as the response of engine, transmission, suspension, steering, ESP® and all-wheel drive (in the AMG S63). Independently of the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, the driver has the option of pressing the “M” button to switch directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. If required, the suspension settings can be specially selected as well. The 3-stage ESP® and exhaust flap can also be switched with a special button.

The “Comfort” setting is the well-balanced driving mode with a comfort-oriented suspension and steering set-up, as well as a low consumption powertrain configuration and early upshifts – including smooth gear changes and a discreet engine sound. Cylinder deactivation (in the S63), ECO Start/Stop function and sailing function (in the S63) are also actived: when the driver releases the accelerator in a speed range between 37 and 99 mph, the clutch of the MCT transmission disengages and the engine is decoupled from the powertrain. The electronics lower the engine speed to idle and driving resistance is reduced by the compression and friction forces of the engine on overrun.

The AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Sport” and “Sport+” are designed for high driving dynamics. This is provided by the agile accelerator pedal characteristics with direct set-up and the emotionally appealing gearshifts with shortened shift times and rev-matching function on downshifts. The increased idle speed in “Sport+” makes even quickeracceleration from standstill possible.

In addition, the AMG S65 features the “Curve” driving mode, active in the speed range between 9 mph and 112 mph. A curve-tilting function is integrated into the MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension of the S65. As a result, the vehicle tilts to the inside of a turn by up to 2.65 degrees, similar to a motorcycle rider, reducing the perceived lateral forces and virtually eliminating body roll.

RACE START, now even easier

The RACE START function is also now available in the S63 Sedan. It has a new and simplified operating logic: in the “Sport” or “Sport+” driving modes, the driver only has to press hard on the brake pedal with their left foot while fully depressing the accelerator pedal with their right foot at the same time.

The on-board electronics will then set the optimum engine speed. Depending on the requirements or the road surface conditions, the engine speed can be increased or lowered in a certain range by operating the paddle shifters. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the S63 storms forward with optimal traction, completing the sprint from zero to 60 mph in a best-in-class 3.4 seconds.

The AMG S63 Sedan is fitted as standard with the controllable AMG Performance Exhaust System to achieve an even more emotionally appealing sound experience. The adjustable flaps modulate the exhaust note authentically and directly. The flaps open or close depending on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode, but can also be controlled individually with a separate button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT on the center console. In the “Comfort” and “Sport” modes, the low-frequency sound typical of a V8 emphasizes comfort. In “Sport+” it is of a much more emotionally appealing nature.

The stringent implementation of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy contributes to high driving dynamics and low fuel consumption. The lightweight construction measures include the use of a lightweight lithium-ion starter battery, AMG forged alloy wheels as well as the weight-optimized AMG Ceramic Composite Braking System. Furthermore, the entire outer skin of the S-Class, including the roof and the front end of the body, is made of aluminum. Installing a spare wheel recess made of carbon fiber, a material used in Formula 1 racing, reduces weight by an additional nine pounds.

The AMG S63 Sedan is equipped with an AMG Sport Suspension based on AIRMATIC®. Customers can preset the damping to the stages “Comfort” or “Sport” from relaxed long-distance comfort to dynamic sportiness. Rebound and compression are set independently of each other, which optimizes the adaptation to the driving status and the quality of the road. The freely-programmable mapping furthermore allows a wide spread between minimum and maximum damping forces. The difference between the comfortable and sporty suspension setting is more refined and even more perceptible.

Mercedes-AMG developed special front axle kinematics including increased wheel camber, bigger stabilizer bar and more rigid subframe mount at the rear axle exclusively for the S63 Sedan. These measures optimize the vehicle’s agility when employing a spirited driving style. In conjunction with the newly developed front axle and the specially tuned all-wheel-drive system, the S63 Sedan represents a new dimension in driving dynamics in its segment.

The MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension found on the S65 Sedan is focused on driving dynamics and prepares for bumps before the vehicle encounters them. To this end, MAGIC BODY CONTROL combines the active springs of the suspension with continuously adjustable dampers and Road Surface Scan. The system precisely scans the condition of the road ahead with the help of a stereo camera to adjust the damping of each individual wheel optimally to the upcoming bumps ahead of time.

Previously reserved for the S-Class Coupe, the standard curve-tilting function causes the body of the vehicle to tilt to the inside of a turn by up to 2.65 degrees. This significantly reduces the perceived lateral forces and enhances the driving fun on dynamic roads.

Depending on the driving mode, the springing behavior can be set to comfortable or sporty to suit personal preferences; the curve-tilting function can also be activated. The active suspension effectively compensates body roll, squat and dive when moving off the line, in curves and during braking. The continuously adjustable dampers enable comfortable basic damping and a speed-dependent firm setting.

The ride height of the AMG S65 Sedan can be raised by 1.6″ to increase ground clearance. At high speeds, the suspension is automatically lowered by up to 0.6,” thereby reducing aerodynamic drag and increasing handling stability.

The electro-mechanical speed-sensitive sports steering in the AMG S63 and S65 sedans has a variable steering ratio. It stands out thanks to the AMG-specific rack-and-pinion ratio with its precise, highly authentic feedback. Power assist varies between three stages: “Comfort,” “Sport” and “Sport+.” The relevant characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode or can be personalized in “Individual” mode. At low speeds, the driver only needs to provide minimal steering input. At high speeds, he or she is able to rely on solid straight-line stability. The clearly defined steering center and the authentic feedback likewise contribute to the optimum steering feel.

The large AMG High-Performance Compound Braking System decelerates the AMG sedans reliably and quickly, and is fade-resistant even under high stress. Both the S63 and S65 are fitted with compound 15.4″ x 1.4″ brake rotors with 6-piston aluminum fixed calipers on the front axle, and of size 14.2″ x 0.9 mm with single-piston floating calipers on the rear axle.

The AMG Ceramic Composite Braking System is optionally available. The weight savings of more than 20 percent reduces unsprung mass and increases driving dynamics, agility and ride quality. Furthermore, the ceramic brakes are distinguished by a longer service life, higher corrosion resistance and higher thermal stability. It features brake discs of size 16.5″ x 1.6″ at the front and 14.2″ x 1.3″ rotors at the rear. This system can be identified visually by the “AMG Carbon Ceramic” lettering on the specially-painted brake calipers.

3-stage ESP® offers more safety or more fun as desired:

  • ESP ON: for a high level of safety by adaptation to the sporty character of the car
  • ESP Sport Handling Mode: allows wider yaw angles before system intervention for a sporty driving style
  • ESP OFF: system deactivated for a sporty driving style on closed circuits. Durin hard braking, ESP is switched back on temporarily.

Motorsport enthusiasts can record vehicle data and lap times on the race track with AMG Track Pace App in the S63 Sedan. All values are shown on the COMAND display, and in the Widescreen Cockpit the current times can also be read. Based on the data, drivers are able to analyze their driving style with precision and can use the insights gained to improve their lap times