The new MBUX infotainment system is one of the bigger things to look forward to when the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class debuts later this year, and based on what we've already seen, there's plenty of reason to be excited. But the new S-Class is about more than just infotainment. New details on the flagship show us additional features like an advanced air suspension, rear-axle steering, and plenty more, all designed to give the S-Class the modern makeover it truly deserves.
One of the most significant additions to the 2021 S-Class is E-Active Body Control. The same hydropneumatic air suspension from Mercedes SUVs like the GLE and GLS carries over to the S-Class for the first time, and it pretty much follows the same premise. A damper in each wheel with two working chambers has an adjustable valve and a hydraulic pressure reservoir that lifts the vehicle up, down, and to the side. Yes, to the side.
Part of the advanced E-Active Body Control system is the addition of Pre-Safe Impulse Side collision control. New on the S-Class but available elsewhere in the Mercedes range, Pre-Safe can raise the vehicle up to three inches ahead of an impending collision to minimize damage to the affected side. Both the E-Active Body Control suspension and Pre-Safe Impulse Side control will be optional on the S-Class. Another facet of E-Active Driving Control is the ability to scan the road ahead – while in Comfort mode specifically – and proactively adjust the suspension accordingly. Again, that's the same as what's currently available in the GLE and GLS.
The S-Class now features rear-axle steering for the first time. An electric motor attached to a spindle at the rear axle drives a belt that adjusts the angle of the rear wheels depending on the steering input. Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz offers two different versions of rear-axle steering: one with an angle of up to ten degrees and another with up to 4.5 degrees of motion. With that, the turning circle of the new S-Class is up to 7.0 feet narrower.
Gallery: 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Teaser: E-Active Body Control
Last week, the company also gave us an early look at the S-Class's new frontal airbags for the second row. These new wing-shaped airbags protect backseat passengers from head-on impacts, and unlike traditional airbags, keep the air trapped inside. These new second-row airbags are only available with the Executive Rear Seat Package.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class debuts later this year.