Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Overdrive|July 2021
The ‘Best Car in the World’ just got a lot better
Bertrand D’souza

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been around for seven generations. First named as the S-Class in the early 1970s, its DNA can be traced to almost two decades before its introduction. Ever since its debut in 1972, the S-Class has been a pioneer in the automotive industry. It led the way by enveloping ‘first in industry’ features; be it safety, comfort, convenience, technology, engineering, and design. The interesting bit is that the S-Class has been so ahead of its time, it used to take almost a decade before it got dated and a whole new S-Class was reborn. Consumer demands and fast-changing technology, however, changed all that and in the last couple of decades we have seen refreshes and updates flowing in in shorter intervals.

Now there is a new S-Class, a new generation of Mercedes’ flagship, and one that significantly broadens the goalposts. And it does this through significant revisions to the mechanical parts but more importantly with a host of features that brings in a whole new dimension to comfort, luxury, and entertainment through biometrics, digitisation and level 3 autonomy.

That said, there is a thing like too much technology. The S-Class can be overwhelming in that way, there is a useful technology that makes itself felt every day and certainly enhances your driving experience. Then there is the less useful stuff that either takes much too long to figure out or is simply not needed often enough. Then there is tech that works in ways so mysterious you just can’t figure it out, and some of it you simply don’t know exists.

But let’s first take a look at the exterior changes, and the biggest revision is to the exterior illumination, specifically the digital headlamps that were developed in association with Marelli Automotive Lighting. The new S-Class gets a revolutionary set of headlamps that are still evolving where the technology is concerned. This is one of the earliest iterations of digital headlamps technology and what it can do is quite simply astounding. To elaborate, the digital headlamps display over one million pixels per headlamp through an array of one million micromirrors. That essentially means you can get the clarity of 2 million pixels combining both headlamps, which is similar to the clarity you get from a full HD television panel or 1080p. In addition, these headlamps can do a lot more, a lot more cleverly. Cameras and sensors detect various objects on the road or offit and send signals to the headlamps and brighten illumination or reduce it, control what bits are to be illuminated and where not to disturb oncoming drivers. It can also project symbols on the road ahead that provide instructions on things to watch out for or things to do. It can project road warning signs, navigation indicators, distance to vehicles ahead of you, blind spot indicators, pedestrian crossings, construction zones, road surface conditions, and much more. Development is still on to further amplify the scope of what these headlamps can do, and it’s all very high tech exciting stuff.

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