New Mercedes S-Class Will Ride Big And Handle Small

Technology / Comments

The new S-Class chassis packs some serious tech to make it better than ever.

With just weeks to go before Mercedes officially shows off its brand new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the gradual, deliberate drip-drip of tantalizing new information continues, and most recently, the German auto giant revealed some of the innovative, high-tech features coming to the flagship luxury car's chassis.

Perhaps the biggest new feature coming to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is E-Active Body Control - already available on crossovers like the GLS and GLE, and now coming to a Mercedes sedan for the first time. E-Active Body Control uses fairly typical dampers with an adjustable valve and an active hydraulic cylinder at each corner, coupled in this case with pneumatic springs.

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz

The result of all this is unparalleled control and comfort over bumps, around corners, and even accelerating or braking in a straight line, as the body can "brace" for each of those events. Needless to say, being a flagship luxury car, comfort is the priority, but the E-Active Body Control system also holds some dynamic advantages over conventional suspensions.

The other big addition just announced is active rear steering - a system that's had something of a rebirth in the realm of pricey German cars in recent years. On the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it will have a full steering angle range of 10°, the rear wheels turning opposite the front at speeds less than 35 mph, and in the same direction at speeds higher than 35.

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All of 5° of wiggle room in either direction doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it gives a big, long car like the S-Class a turning radius under 36 feet at low speeds, making it "as maneuverable as a compact car," in the words of S-Class Chief Engineer Jürgen Weissinger. Turning the rear wheels with the fronts improves its stability, making it more predictable and planted at speed.

Paired with the S-Class's Active Parking Assist with 360° camera, it promises to be an astonishingly easy vehicle to park, able to "fit into tight parking spaces while monitoring whether anybody is moving within that space," Weissinger says.

The all-new 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be revealed in full this September.

Nikita Chuyko
Nikita Chuyko
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

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