I test drove the 7th generation of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship S-Class. In styling, while making use of the brand’s DNA, it is a point to make a step forward in safety such as the radical change of ADAS and HMI (Human Machine Interface), and the rear seat airbag. As always, the point to watch is the technological evolution of the three German premium companies that the latest car is the best car. Of course, Mercedes-Benz’s argument about what is the selling point of this era is also included. What sets it apart from the past is that it is more focused on software-defined cars. Write down the feeling of test driving the Mercedes-Benz S580 4Matic.
Written by Chae Young-seok (Director, Global Auto News)
Where is the car going now?
The three German premium companies are still being considered as important indicators to find this answer. In addition to the technological prowess and performance accumulated based on German Engineering, the company succeeded in making a car that emphasized originality and rarity rather than economy of scale at the end of the 20th century. . In particular, in the Chinese market, which feeds automakers today, it is renewing its record high sales regardless of Corona 19.
The new S-Class is showing off its power to the extent that it has surpassed 40,000 sales in three months since its launch in September 2020. This tells us that there are so many rich people in the world and that what the rich recognize is not yet an electronic device, but a product that expresses their presence while being luxurious. There are early adopters in the world, but there are more old-fashioned rich people who silently express their position.
The 7th generation S-Class emphasizes the brand’s heritage by emphasizing ‘concise and clean’ rather than extreme in the styling exterior, and asserts that there is no shortage of software-defined cars in the interior design based on full digitalization. In addition, the evolution of the ADAS function improved active safety, and the world’s first adoption of a rear seat airbag shows that progress is still being made in passive safety. Of course, the adoption of an in-line six-cylinder engine and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system is arguing that there is work to be done by the internal combustion engine in the powertrain as well.
In other words, it still takes time to go to the electrification era, and in the process, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the unique answer to the question of what kind of car to make as a trendsetter. Digitalization is advancing beyond consciousness, but in a broad sense, it is argued that styling design, comfort, drivability, luxury, safety, and premium quality that encompasses them are the core of the marketability of this era.
In a word, the presence of a luxury sedan as a dream car is still different from what early adopters want. At the same time, it is making a car that can be accepted by the digital generation by showing that the infotainment and connectivity functions that have been accumulated for a long time, such as the command system, pay attention to even the smallest details.
What the 7th generation S-Class is saying is that what is needed for an expensive luxury sedan in this era is that it is leading the market with the traditional concept of luxury, sensibility, luxury, and presence as a trendsetter in addition to all-encompassing performance. If it were to be expressed in a Korean way, it could be said that it strengthened the identity based on the old and the old. ,
The S-Class has a history of 50 years, from the first-generation model W116 in 1972 to the W126 in 1979, W140 in 1992, W220 in 1998, W221 in 2005, W222 in 2013, and today’s 7th-generation model W223. have.
Since the first model debut in 1972, the styling design of the S-Class has maintained the design philosophy Sensual Purity (sensual purity) as it is. The concept of a clean feeling without excessive and wasted elements. However, it is more concise by reducing the character line. Overall, the lines and aspects of the S-Class remain intact.
Theoretically, it has a proportion that features a short front overhang, a long wheelbase, and a balanced rear overhang. The long hood speaks to the segment of this car, and it expresses the stubbornness of a large sedan. In addition, it creates a posture with the typical proportions of the rear-wheel drive system, and acts as an ingenuity. Of course, such proportions and details may not catch your eye because of the emblem, which is a powerful icon like BMW or Audi.
On the front face, there are quite a few changes to the frame of the radiator grille, which has increased in upper and lower widths centered on the three-pointed star at the tip of the bonnet. Naturally, there are several cameras and sensors inside it. The digital light used for the first time is a slim 1.3 million pixel projection module and 84 multi-beam LED headlamps use data collected through cameras, sensors and navigation to optimize the pixel brightness of the headlamps for driving safety. Support.
From the side, the character line seems to be integrated with the shoulder line, and there is a lower waist line, but it feels refined. What makes the image is the silhouette created by the long bonnet and roofline extending to the trunk lid. It is a trend of the times to emphasize its presence with pop-up door handles and wheel houses that can be installed from 18 inches to 21 inches.
At the rear, the long tail lamps up and down have been changed to an inverted triangle graphic that spreads left and right. Together with the chrome strip on the lamp unit, it plays a role to emphasize the width of the body. Much more concise than the previous model is the same as the rest.
The body size varies slightly depending on the grade. The wheelbase version of the test car S580 Long is 5,290mm and 3,216mm, which is 34mm and 51mm longer, respectively.
The theme of the interior is Revolution through the harmony of analog and digital. Graphically, there is a big change in layout and detail. There is nothing special about the rhetoric that it is based on a luxury yacht, but the expression method is creating a different world with the combination of lines, planes, and light in line with the trend of the times. In the technique of using materials such as wood trim, leather, and metal, the traditional sense is revived. In particular, in the passage where 64 colors are expressed with 250 LEDs, it is said that light is leading the design era. It is an element that provides another pleasure when driving at night.
First of all, the vertical air vents on the left and right and the horizontal air vents on the center fascia attract attention. That alone changed the atmosphere a lot. got a little more serious. The digital cluster behind the steering wheel and the vertical display window of the center fascia are completely separated, creating an atmosphere unique to the S-Class that is different from the compact models. Both are floating rather than ligamentous types, emphasizing the feeling of separate devices. Unlike the atmosphere of reviving buttons, almost all physical buttons are omitted. Although the composition is different from the hyper screen already shown through EQS, the content of expression is similar.
The most emphasized technically is the configuration of the 12.3-inch 3D cockpit display and the vertical 12.8-inch display window on the center fascia. It looks bigger than it looks. The composition of the instrument panel is not much different from the previous one, but the graphics of the 3D cockpit display overall feel gorgeous. There are two cameras on the top that always detect the driver’s field of view, and they detect images from the left eye and the right eye.
Based on this, if you sit in the driver’s seat and turn the ignition key, the biometric authentication function appears on the navigation screen, and if you enter one of a fingerprint, face, voice, or pin code, the seat position will be automatically adjusted to the party’s setting status.
When a danger is detected at a speed of 20 km/h or higher, it prevents drowsy driving through visual and acoustic warnings. You can see a three-dimensional image, and it contributes to the smooth movement of the driver’s gaze. It will take time to feel it. In addition, it will take a considerable amount of time to use all the contents based on this display. However, users who have accumulated over the years can enjoy it without any inconvenience.
Voice recognition has also been improved. It responds when you call ‘Hello, Benz’ from both the front and rear seats. When I said, “It’s hot in the car,” he said he would set the room temperature to 20.5 degrees, and when he said “turn on the air conditioner,” he replied that he would set it to 19.5 degrees.
Another is AR navigation. The AR system is made by Nippon Seiki of Japan, and the chip used is made by Texas Instruments and is expensive. Navigation information is displayed on the head-up display and the center fascia display window. Depending on the navigation, the direction of the arrow changes and guides. There is no confusion with instructions such as ‘Turn right after a while’. On the display window of the center fascia, about 1/3 of the screen guides the map linked to the navigation through the camera.
The display of the center fascia is displayed in 2D or 3D depending on the situation. The display can be set to five in total, two in the front and three for the rear seats. On the rear seat arm rest is a small removable tablet PC. With the evolution of digitalization and ADAS, the display window behind the front seat looks more prominent.
The three-spoke multi-function steering wheel design has also been renewed. Above all, the range of use of haptic switches the size of a fingernail has been expanded. Operating the display on the instrument panel and center fascia with the home button and haptic switch on the left and right spokes is no different. However, the graphics were changed. The selector lever is columnar and has a paddle shift.
The seat seats 5 people. The front seat features a surround sound system designed with Burmester speakers in the headrest area. In addition to listening to music, it more accurately communicates information about notifications from infotainment, such as navigation instructions and phone calls, to the driver.
What is unusual is that it has both the personality of the owner driven car and the character of a sofa driven car. I get that feeling when I sit in the driver’s seat and look at the dashboard. The S-Class basically has a strong image as a sofa-driven car. Especially in Europe, it seems to be making such a car in that it is used as a company car from the C class. The driver’s seat seems to have a wider range of adjustment.
As the car body has grown, the interior space is also a priority. The space for the left and right arms, as well as the head space and the foot space, are huge.
The rear seat can be adjusted up to 43.5 degrees, and wood trim is applied to the folding arm rest, the business center console, and the center arm rest in the case of four people. Of course, it is electrically controlled. The headrest cushion with heating function is new. The seat cushion massage function integrated with the air conditioning function is also set in various menus, but the strength of the back is stronger than before.
Powertrain & Impression
As for the powertrain of the new S-Class, there are two 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinders for gasoline and one 4.0-liter V-type 8-cylinder, and there are two grades of diesel, all based on 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinders. Two types of diesel, such as the S350d and S400d, and two gasoline types, such as the S500 and S580, have landed in Korea. All but the S580 are in-line six-cylinder engines.
The test car is a 3,982cc V-type 8-cylinder direct-injection twin-turbo gasoline, with a maximum output of 503 horsepower and a maximum torque of 71.4 kgm. Although the displacement was reduced from the previous 4,663cc of the S500, the output was increased by 48 horsepower. torque is the same. Two turbochargers are mounted on the inner V-bank, and a 48-volt mild hybrid system with an integrated starter generator (ISG) is adopted. It has a 1 kWh lithium-ion battery. The system adds 20 horsepower. There is also a brake energy regeneration function. Efficiency as well as performance are enhanced with electrification technology including intelligent cylinder shut-off function.
It’s a four-legged, but it’s not an era where a 4 liter V-8 cylinder is a natural thing for a large sedan. The head technology has advanced so much that it can run with 2 liter and 3 liter engines. The main one is 3 liters. However, since there are still various markets, a 4 liter version is also available in the lineup. Especially in the Korean market, bigger ones work better. As can be seen from the fact that CLS is the second-best-selling market after China, Korean consumers want the best. This is not something that can be done simply because the market is like that. It is worth recalling why most of Germany’s Auto Peninsula today have a speed limit of 130 km/h.
The transmission is combined with the 9G tronic, which is a 9-speed AT for all models, and the 4 Matic is the basic driving method.
First, check the gear ratio. Engine rotation at 100km/h is around 1,300rpm. Red zone from 6,200rpm.
When full acceleration is performed from a standstill, it shifts up just over 6,000rpm. It shifts to 2nd gear at 50km/h, 3rd gear at 90km/h, and 4th gear at 130km/h.
You can feel its softness from the moment you start the engine. It slides on the floor so much that you can only hear the sound of leaves being stepped on between the tires and the road surface. The charisma of a large displacement engine that I haven’t felt in a long time. At high speed, of course, there is also a difference at low speed.
There is no shift shock. It is correct to just say that it is not. It is not easy to find shift points when fully accelerating. The increase in engine revs is also overwhelming. It’s been a long time since I thought I’d come so far, but it’s still developing. In particular, the development of gasoline engines is notable in recent years. There is nothing more to say because it is the era of 421 horsepower with 2 liters. That’s 200 horsepower per liter. At low displacement, torque reached a level similar to that of diesel.
Regarding noise, there is nothing to talk about other than expressing the difference between the comfort mode and the sport mode. It is no exaggeration to say that it is now quieter than a Lexus in high-speed cruising. Although the booming sound during full acceleration differs depending on the drive mode, it is a characteristic of this era that the sound cannot be said to be sporty.
Suspension is multi-link front and rear. The damping stroke is long. compared to the predecessor model. However, the roll angle is not great. The ride is still smooth. It is hard to believe that a car with 20-inch run-flat tires is the same as the previous model. But something feels different. The maturity of the Airmatic is advanced. The response to the unevenness of the road surface and the seams of the legs was the same as in the previous model that adopted the magic body control, but it has a more sophisticated feel.
This is the evolution of Magic Body Control, an intelligent drive that adds an electronic eye to the hydraulic active suspension ABC (Active Body Controle) shown in the previous model, and is called e-ABC.
The handling characteristics centering on the lock-to-lock 2.1-turn steering wheel are about over. In the case of 4WD, it is different from the characteristic of usually about under. Because of the rear wheel steering wheel. In particular, the U-turn at low speeds is comparable to that of a midsize sedan. The steer angle of the Porsche Panamera is 5 degrees, while the test car is 10 degrees. Throughout the test drive, I was impressed with this minimum turning radius. Even at high speeds, the speed rises more in corners than under normal conditions. At this point, I felt thrilled. Even if it is a mid-size sedan, it is not unreasonable if it is not for the body weight. It seems that it has been over 20 years since 4WS was first released, but only recently have I realized its efficacy. Hardware is still evolving.
As with Mercedes-Benz, safety has also evolved one step further. It is the first in the world to adopt an airbag for the rear seat, which is a passive safety part of the hardware. Unlike leaf seats, the structure that covers the head keeps the airbag inflated. It is said that it can cope with occupants of various age groups and physiques, from children in car seats to adults.
ADAS, of course, has evolved as well. There are only five sensors, such as the camera visible on the radiator grill. In addition to this, the driving assistance package with five millimeters, one binocular camera, four monocular cameras, and 12 ultrasonic sensors is standard, and all the safety equipment we know of is set.
Emergency automatic brakes are activated when there is a risk of colliding with cars, cyclists, or pedestrians due to the overturning vehicle protruding or sinking at the corner of the intersection. In addition, the emergency avoidance assistance system, which resolves collisions at crosswalks by steering assistance, detects vehicles, including pedestrians and cyclists, traveling in the same direction as the vehicle, as well as in the opposite direction. When driving at a speed of 2 km/h or higher, the warning indicator on the outside of the side mirror blinks red if there is a pedestrian, bicycle, or car nearby from the rear.
Distronic (ACC) is activated by pressing one of the SET buttons on the left spoke. In that state, if you take your hand off the steering wheel, the warning method changes at intervals of about 10 seconds, and after warning three more times at intervals of 7 to 8 seconds, the emergency stop is activated. It is reactivated by placing your hand on the touch-sensitive steering wheel.
From the position of test driving the second half of the second-generation W126, the S-Class has always been a model to be admired and studied along with the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. Even in the era of software-defined cars, the subject of benchmarking as such a trendsetter remains the same. We’ve already experienced software with Hyperscreen, but it’s surprising that there’s another evolution in hardware as well. Even if it changes to electrification, it shows that the technology of automobile making is not achieved overnight. In the era of software-defined automobiles, Mercedes-Benz’s flagship model still shines as a luxury sedan in its own right.
Main Specifications BMW 7th Generation S580 4Matic
Length X Width X Height: 5,290 X 1,920 X 1,505mm
Unladen Weight: 1,965 kg
Minimum ground clearance: —
Type: 3,982cc V 8-cylinder turbocharged gasoline
Bore X stroke : —
Compression ratio : — : 1
Maximum output: 503ps/5,500rpm
Maximum torque: 71.4kgm/2,000~4,500rpm’
Fuel tank: 76 liters
Format: 9-speed AT (9G tronic)
Gear Ratio: 5.354/3.243/2.252/1.636/1.211/1/0.865/0.717/0.601/-/R1 4.798/R2
Final reduction ratio: 2.65
Suspension front/rear: double wishbone/multi-link
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Brake front/rear: V.disc/V.disc
Tire front//rear: 255/40R20//255/50R20
Drive type: four-wheel drive
0-100 km/h: 4.4 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h (sumido limiter)
Minimum turning radius: 6.4m
Fuel economy: combined 7.9km/h (high speed 9.9/city 6.8)
CO2 emissions: 227g/km
Trunk capacity: 505 liters
Air resistance coefficient: —‘
S350d : KRW 1400.6 million
S400d 4matic: 160.60 million won
S500 4Matic: 188.6 million won
S580d 4matic : 218.6 million won
(Date of writing: June 15, 2021)