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Mercedes-Benz India has followed up the Maybach GLS 600 ultra-luxury SUV launch with the launch of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with prices starting at Rs 2.17 crore. Revealed in the second half of 2020, the new-generation S-Class (known internally by its codename V223) is being shipped to India initially in completely built-up (CBU) form and will be available in fully-loaded ‘Launch Edition’ guise in two versions – the diesel S 400 d 4MATIC (priced at Rs 2.17 crore) and the petrol S 450 4MATIC (priced at Rs 2.19 crore, both prices ex-showroom, India).

The new S-Class is a clear leap over the outgoing model on the technology, comfort and safety fronts. The ‘Launch Edition’ of the S-Class – limited to 150 units – gets select high-end features that may or may not be available on the standard S-Class variants that will follow later. Mercedes-Benz India has confirmed that more than half of India’s 150 Launch Edition units are already booked. As standard, the Launch Edition models feature the AMG Line styling package, which adds sportier-looking front and rear bumpers, chrome embellishments, 20-inch multi-spoke AMG alloy wheels, a flat-bottom sports steering wheel and AMG pedals.

Compared to its predecessor, the new S-Class has grown 34 mm in length, 22 mm in width, and 12 mm in height. The wheelbase, too, has been lengthened by 51 mm, which creates 24 mm of added legroom for rear-seat passengers. Boot capacity has also increased by 20 litres to 550 litres. Mercedes-Benz says the new S-class is one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars globally, with a drag coefficient of 0.22cd. In India, the new S-Class will be available in five exterior colours – Diamond White, Onyx Black, Anthracite Blue, Rubellite Red and Emerald Green. On the inside, there are two colour schemes to choose from – Macchiato Beige on Magma Grey and Sienna Brown on Black.

In its latest generation, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is also more tech-heavy than ever. Taking centre stage inside the new S-Class is a 12.8-inch tablet-style OLED infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument display. The car gets the latest MBUX infotainment system and features fingerprint and voice recognition. Also, part of the package are ventilated front seats with memory function; a 31-speaker Burmester 4D surround sound system, powered rear seats with massage function, wireless smartphone charging for both front and rear passengers and an optional Chauffeur package (which adds a powered leg rest for the outer rear seat). There are a total of three screens for rear-seat passengers in the new S-Class – two displays mounted on the front seatbacks for entertainment purposes and a portable tablet incorporated into the centre armrest, which can be used to control vital functions.

Introduced in S 450 4MATIC and S 400 d 4MATIC forms today, the new S-Class gets 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol unit makes 367 hp and 500 Nm of torque, while the diesel puts out 330 hp and a colossal 700 Nm of torque. A nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. In terms of acceleration, Mercedes says the petrol S-Class will do 0-100 kph in 5.1 seconds, and the diesel version will do it in 5.4 seconds. The top speed is limited to 250 kph. A plug-in hybrid version (with up to 100 kilometres of electric-only range) is also set to follow. Mercedes-Benz is also likely to bring the new-generation Maybach S-Class to India later this year.

There’s also an active ambient lighting system with a total of 263 LEDs. However, certain high-end features available for the S-Class abroad – such as the head-up display with augmented reality and Interior Assist (which uses cameras to track movements of the car’s occupants and proactively trigger certain functions) – have been given a miss.

Interestingly, the India-spec S-Class also gets rear-axle steering. Still, it’s the basis of the two options available globally, which steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front ones by up to 4.5 degrees to ease manoeuvrability in the city. The higher-spec option available abroad steers the rear wheels by up to a significant 10 degrees to make the new S-Class even more agile in tight spaces.

Part of the safety kit is a world-first frontal airbag for the rear-seat passenger and the Pre-Safe Impulse side function (part of the E-Active Body Control suspension), which lifts the car by 80mm when it detects an impending side-on crash.

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