According to Mercedes-Benz’s research and development boss, Ola Kallenius, the S-Class makeover will feature the most advanced driverless systems put into production yet.
The German brand’s flagship saloon is currently facing increasing competition from the likes of Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and BMW 7 Series, so the brand is going out with its mid-life update, which is due to arrive in June. In a statement, Kallenius said that the facelift will have the first intelligent integration of map and sensor data on a production model.
The state-of-the-art system will enable the new S-Class to perform things such as detecting a corner and judging whether the car’s speed is extremely high. Kallenius explained that if it is, it will decelerate, negotiate the bend safely and then resume its original speed. He said that while the existing system will steer itself along 80% of Germany’s autobahn and a small number of highways, the revolutionary system will be effective on almost all autobahns and 80% of highways.
The R&D boss continued that if drivers use the indicators approaching a 90-degree turn, it will drop their speed until they can make the turn. He also mentioned that the technology should foresee all potential outcomes.
Ultimately, Kallenius disclosed that if drivers take their hands off the wheel for longer than is permitted and all warnings fail, it will bring the car to a safe stop, switch on the hazard lights, unlock the doors and call the emergency services.
The updated S-Class will have minor exterior changes. Spy shots show some light camouflaging around the new front and rear bumpers as well as slight adjustments to the tail-light design. The early prototypes also have had fresh LED headlight cluster designs.
Meanwhile, for the interior, more complicated changes are anticipated. The S-Class’s digital instrument cluster was one of its signature features when the car was unveiled, but rivals have been quick to embrace the technology in their premium models.
For this revamped model, Mercedes appears to be creating a wider, frameless dual-screen set-up, which will enable for a larger screen area. The new system will run the newest version of the automaker’s COMAND infotainment software and it continues to be operated through a touch-sensitive controller on the center console, though Mercedes is also reportedly experimenting with gesture control.
A thicker three-spoke steering wheel that is set to replace the current two-spoke design is also new on this prototype.
When it comes to the engines, those from the current S-Class are likely to be carried over in their entirety, but they could have minor enhancements to CO2 emissions and fuel economy. An all-new 48V mild hybrid system is due to be launched as part of the German automaker’s wider plan to add more electrically assisted models.