The world might be going SUV crazy, but there’s still a place for big luxury sedans.
Few are bigger or more luxurious than the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, touching down in Australia over the coming months.
The details underpinning the new S-Class are staggering. As you’d expect of a range-topping Mercedes-Benz, it’s loaded with technology inside.
Update, 25/05/21 12:30pm – Mercedes-Benz has confirmed the S580L 4Matic and Mercedes-Maybach S680 4Matic will be in Australia late in 2021. This article has been updated accordingly.
The driver is faced with a 3D instrument cluster (no glasses) as standard in Australia, and the central MBUX touchscreen is a vertically-oriented unit measuring 12.3 inches.
Physical buttons have been almost completely banished, but Mercedes-Benz says you won’t have to go menu diving to find your most commonly-used functions.
A quick hands-on in Melbourne revealed there’s haptic feedback to confirm when you’ve prodded a button, and the climate controls fall easily to hand even though there’s no physical inputs. Tick and tick.
Rear passengers aren’t left out, either. Buyers (or should that be chauffeurs) can opt for a pair of displays for the back seats, complete with their own MBUX infotainment controls and plush wireless headphones.
Australian buyers get the choice between regular and long (110mm of extra rear-seat space) wheelbase models, both powered by a petrol inline-six engine backed by a 48V mild-hybrid system
Diesel is unlikely to feature in Australia, but a plug-in hybrid with around 100km of range is on the cards.
There’s more to the S-Class than its flashy interior.
It debuts a new rear-seat airbag (standard on the LWB in Australia), and active safety features include a system capable of raising the car in a side impact crash to absorb more force through the door sills.
Mercedes-Benz says the outside of the rear airbag inflates with compressed gas and will give way to obstacles rather than exploding through them.
Only the frame of the airbag is actively inflated, while the cushion in the middle is filled with air sucked in through a series of valves.
The new S-Class will feature two rear-wheel steering options, the most advanced of which can turn the rear wheels by up to 10 degrees at low speeds.
Mercedes says the turning circle of the S-Class with the system fitted will be less than 11 metres, putting it on a par with the current A-Class.
The full 10 degrees is only deployed in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds. Although the back wheels turn in unison with the fronts for more stable handling at high speeds, they don’t do so quite as sharply.
- 2021 Mercedes-Benz S450 4Matic: $240,700
- 2021 Mercedes-Benz S450L 4Matic: $264,900
- 2022 Mercedes-Benz S580L 4Matic: $329,900
- 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S680 4Matic: $565,800
All prices exclude on-road costs.
Only one engine will be available in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class at launch.
It’s a 3.0-litre inline-six petrol with 270kW of power and 500Nm of torque, mated with an EQ Boost 48V mild-hybrid system capable of adding 16kW and 250Nm.
It’s all-wheel drive in Australia for the first time, and the 100km/h sprint is dispatched in 5.1 seconds.
It will be joined late in 2021 by the S580L 4Matic, which pairs a twin-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8 engine making 370kW and 700Nm with all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic.
The S580’s engine is mated with an EQ Boost system making 15kW and 200Nm.
Sitting atop the range is the S680, with a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 petrol engine making 463kW of power and 900Nm of torque, sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Claimed fuel economy for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S450 4Matic is 8.2L/100km on the combined cycle.
The S450L uses 8.4L/100km on the same combined cycle test.
Local fuel consumption data for the S580L and S680 hasn’t yet been revealed.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class hasn’t been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
It is, however, loaded with active and passive safety features.
Highlights in Australia include the rear-seat airbag, which is standard on the S450L 4Matic, and the Driving Assistance Package which adds evasive steering assist, active lane-change assist, and more advanced adaptive cruise control.
The 2021 S-Class is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty like all Mercedes-Benz models in Australia.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 25,000km.
Standard equipment highlights on the S450 4Matic include:
- 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster
- 12.8-inch OLED infotainment touchscreen
- Head-up display with augmented reality
- Factory satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Wireless phone charging
- Sliding panoramic glass sunroof
- Insulated glass for front side windows, rear privacy glass
- Heated, folding exterior mirrors
- Burmester 15-speaker 3D surround sound system
- Driving Assistance Package (adaptive cruise control with route-based speed assist, active stop/go assist, active lane-change assist)
- Ambient lighting, with exterior light projection
- Heated and cooled, powered front seats
- Powered steering column
- Keyless entry and start with flush-fitting door handles
- Parking assist
- Surround-view camera
- Soft-close doors
- Multibeam LED headlights
- Air suspension
Moving to the long-wheelbase S450L adds:
- Extended wheelbase
- Electrically adjustable rear seats with memory
- Automatic rear climate control
- Rear airbags
The S580L 4Matic gains:
- Digital Light headlights
- MBUX AR head-up display
- Active multi-contour seat package
- Massaging seats
The range-topping S680 Maybach features:
- Air suspension
- 180mm longer wheelbase than S580L
- Powered rear doors
- Seatbelt feeder
- Rear entertainment package
- Burmester 4G surround sound system
- Maybach grille, 20-inch alloy wheels, two-tone paint
- TV tuner
- Rear-wheel steering (10 degrees)