March 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM ET
Likely one of the most closely watched introductions of the 2014 model-year, Mercedes-Benz is already 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.
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’s true remains to be seen, but these images suggest Mercedes is aiming to satisfy picky buyers – and keep the competition on edge.
While the 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 tail lamps and more slit-like headlamps.
Mercedes plans to load up on technology and will incorporate two large high-resolution 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 RPM gauge, 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.
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.”
Passengers will have their own entertainment system, which required, according to Mercedes, 30 million lines of code. If everyone can agree on the same music, the new S-Class can be equipped with a 1,500-watt Burmeister 3D audio system powering 24 speakers.
As for specifics such as final vehicle dimensions and powertrain, Mercedes will wait until closer to the unveiling of the new S-Class which, sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com, is scheduled for May.
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