Words and photos by Atif Kazmi for Por Homme
Mercedes-Benz continues to showcase their latest innovations, this time through the unveiling of the all-new 2021 S-Class. We recently experienced it for ourselves, escaping New York and cruising up to Rhode Island’s Watch Hill. The S-Class is as much about escapism as it is about comfort or luxury. It’s the perfect escape from loud, nerve-racking city streets or from the stress of a high-paced work environment. Blend that with a slew of new tech and comfort features and we’re met with the S-Class of the next decade.
Much of the discussion around the new S-Class has already been about its exterior design with Mercedes-Benz calling it the first “Digital S-Class”. We’re met with a contemporary, modern grill from which every other detail stems. Digital headlamps are fitted with signature three-point detailing while the typical eye brow design floats right above them. As we pulled into Watch Hill’s Ocean House, it was the first time I got to step away from the flagship luxury sedan and appreciate its beauty. The elongated hood pushes that modern, elegant grill forward while pushing the windshield back. When you look at the iconic Mercedes-Benz S-Class pillar, the attention turns right to the rear compartment, exactly as the German automaker has intended. You’ll also notice how much more height this new design brings with it, making it look taller and ultimately more progressive. On the rear, we get the sharp, triangular shaped taillights, a true point of contention for so many folks lending an opinion on this new design. For us, the rear design is precise, proportioned and helps to give the S-Class a distinct look.
Inside, Mercedes-Benz has created a cabin experience that focuses on the details rather than grand gestures, though there are plenty of those present as well. With the floating display being the cabin’s nucleus, we get an intuitive touch experience that mixes digital touchpoints with analog buttons, a true display of luxury and style. Yacht deck inspired materials and open pore walnut veneer transition downwards and into the doors. Most of the trimmings are done in a black panel material, including the buttons on the sporty steering wheel. Mercedes’ dedication to craftsmanship extends into the time-honored diamond patterns on the seats, the headrest pillows and so much more. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class also comes with an extensive book of customization options, with customers getting an extensive list of leathers to choose from. The rich saddle brown may be our favorite, as it speaks to a more youthful audience that’s looking to stand out with class.
S-Class customers demand a strong sense of comfort and well being from the brand and Mercedes continues to deliver. The engineering team’s worked diligently to make this cabin the quietest yet, delivering a noiseless experience that’s seldom matched. Beyond the acoustic insulation, this new generation of seats provide exceptional relaxation with a soft, supple touch. The perforations help for added climate control while the waterfall display lets you dive into a massage of your choosing. The seats are heated and so is the armrest and the door panels above the arm rest. Rear headrest cushions are now heated as well. That center tunnel in the rear also features a touch device for controlling just about any element of the car. Each rear passenger also gets his or her own display screen, each allowing for a personalized multimedia experience. Mercedes-Benz 4D sound system extends this further, allowing you to customize not only the sound but the feel of the music you’re listening to.
The smooth driving experience is an extension of the S-Class architecture. It’s working relentlessly to absorb bumps, potholes and so much more. Passive and active safety functions are constantly on high alert as well, ensuring safety for all passengers. The new S-Class also introduces 10-degree rear-wheel steering, expanding the turning radius at slow speeds and adding stability at high speeds. On low speeds, the rear wheels move in the opposite direction to help with tight situations. Go above 37 mph and the rear wheels will move in the same direction as the front axle to maximize stability and reduce sideslip angles. This helps to make the new S-Class safer and more agile at higher speeds.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is not your dad’s S-Class, no. But it’s built on the heritage of an iconic luxury sedan that now has more to offer for younger buyers than ever before. See more of it in the gallery and head to your local Mercedes-Benz showroom to experience it for yourself.