Mercedes S-Class 2021: a luxury sedan reinvented with a technological focus

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Q&A with Markus Schäfer, Board Member for Group Research & Development, Purchasing and Supplier Quality

You describe the S-Class as the most advanced car you have ever created. But there is a lot of technology, even in small cars these days. How do you differentiate and keep the S-Class relevant even as the luxury sedan market shrinks?

“The outgoing S-Class was extraordinarily strong even until the end of its life – remember it didn’t have an MBUX, which we have on our small cars. But we have a very loyal customer base for the S-Class – an extremely loyal base

“We are extremely confident – this is an abundance of innovation. If you’re talking about the S-Class, that sets the benchmark for smart luxury cars for me.

“We work from all angles to make it intuitive to use. We want the car to really recognize you and adapt to you so you don’t have to adapt to the car. You walk over to the car, the door handles pop out – he knows it’s you because you’ve already logged in – he has three-step authentication that even lets you make payment with your car. Gesture sensors and in-car cameras can anticipate what you intend to do before the action. The car is also OTA compatible, not only for user interface and displays, but also for car functions. There is a lot of computing capacity in the car so it is ready for further updates.

“It’s cutting edge, to be honest we work hand in hand with regulators. We are so advanced here that in some cases there are no regulations to certify the car in some countries. Take digital lights – so the lights can run 2.6m pixels. You can play a movie in your garage with the resolution you have.

“So we are still working with the authorities of a few countries to make it work and get it going. Germany has a really progressive approach, so we have it legal there, but it’s different in other countries. Ditto with autonomous driving level 3, second half of next year, it will be live in Germany. There are so many features – some manufacturers have it in one car, but it’s all in one place, which is what makes it unique. ”

We know your S-Class plug-in gasoline will offer a premium range. Is a diesel plug-in planned?

“No diesel plug-in is planned for the S-Class. It is available for example for the GLE, the E-Class. The main markets for the S-Class are China, Korea and the United States, this is not is not primarily a European car. Diesel is not the first choice for these countries.

“As we have already announced, an S-Class is coming [EQS]- this is the next transmission that we will see, on the same production line [as S-Class] So I have to keep the complexity a bit under control, and we have to make choices. ”

We know the S-Class coupe and convertible will not return with this model. Can you detail what is the reason?

“If you go back in our history maybe 15 years ago and look at how many variants we were creating, we had an expansion strategy, we wanted to manufacture three million units per year, we wanted to conquer different markets like China.

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