Mercedes has thrown every possible innovation at its new flagship.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been a technological tour de force and that's not about to change with the all-new version. Yesterday, Mercedes announced its 'Meet S-Class Digital' event which is a three-part virtual unveiling of the luxury flagship's new features, centered around the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system. Part 1 of this unveiling is here and has been dubbed My MBUX, also doubling as our first official look inside the S-Class.
As expected, there's plenty to unpack, but we've picked out the key takeaways from the reveal. For starters, up to five digital displays can now adorn the cabin, with 27 fewer hardkeys than in the previous S-Class. The upgraded voice recognition system now operates in 27 languages and is more natural, no longer requiring strict commands or the specific "Hey Mercedes" activation keyword.
The new augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD) system has been enhanced, with two different available displays combining to form a display area that is likened to that of a 77-inch monitor. Distraction is reduced as the displays blend in better with the surroundings.
With MBUX Interior Assist, the "wishes and intentions" of occupants are anticipated. As an example, using overhead cameras, the rear sunblind can automatically open if the driver turns and looks over his shoulder - yes, the new S-Class is now also a mind-reader. Just as impressive is the 3D driver display; a real three-dimensional effect is obtained, and you don't even have to wear 3D glasses to experience it.
Using available OLED technology, the crispness of the touchscreens has been further improved, with stronger contrasts and reduced energy consumption compared with more common LCD screens.
Mercedes has also worked hard to improve customization. For owners with more than one Mercedes, a profile used in one car can be used in another that has the latest MBUX system. Up to seven individual profiles can be set (with biometric authentication), and not forgetting rear-seat passengers, they have access to the same vast array of infotainment functions as those in front. A phone call taking place in front can now be effortlessly transferred to a passenger at the back.
Although Mercedes was careful not to reveal too much of the new cabin, which we'll see in full when the S-Class debuts later this year, it's hard to miss the multiple screens (up to three at the back), and one image also showcases a four-seater configuration with what looks like a novel rear floating center console.
"Our overarching goal is to offer the utmost in comfort, personalization, and convenience for our customers," said Sajjad Khan, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes. "My MBUX now becomes the spinal cord, or even the central brain, of the vehicle." BMW and Audi should be very worried indeed.