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.
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.
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.