Mercedes-Benz India has followed up the launch of the Maybach GLS 600 ultra-luxury SUV 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 said to be 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 the 150 Launch Edition allotments for India are already booked.
In its latest generation, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is also more tech-heavy than ever. Taking centre stage inside the new S-Class are 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. 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. 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, but it's the basic 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 are a world-first frontal airbag for the rear-seat passenger as well as the Pre-Safe Impulse side function (part of the E-Active Body Control suspension), which lifts the car up by 80mm when it detects an impending side-on crash.