The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will use fully active suspension and rear-wheel steering to make it the brand’s most agile large sedan ever. Its E-Active Body Control even has a special Curve mode to tip the body into corners. This is a big Benz that loves bends.
The E-Active system uses more than 20 sensors and a stereo camera to monitor the driving conditions 1000 times a second and adapt the suspension as needed using a combination of air springs and hydropneumatics powered by a 48-volt pump. The air springs bear the brunt of the work, keeping the car level and smooth, but on demand the hydropneumatics can overpower the air suspension, to counter roll or even actively lean the car into a corner, for example.
The are two driving modes: in the Comfort setting the stereo camera scans the road ahead for imperfections and calculates the required damping to maintain a smooth ride. On a twisty road the driver can switch to Curve mode, which Mercedes says also helps reduce car sickness for passengers.
The active suspension is also linked to a Pre-Safe system and can raise the car slightly if it detects an imminent side impact. This allows the door sill to take the biggest hit and reduce the danger for occupants. Other safety innovations include rear passenger airbags and a center airbag to prevent head clash between driver and front passenger. To make sure everybody straps in safely the seat belt buckles will be illuminated.
Rear-wheel steering is an option that can make the S-Class as nimble as a compact car at low speed, reducing the turning circle by up to six feet. Buyers will be able to choose the degree of rear-steer they want between 4.5 degrees and ten degrees. Combined with a new suite of parking sensors and park assist technology the new S-Class is set to make city driving a cinch.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is set to launch in September when more information and pricing will be available.