The new S-Class is bigger than the car it replaces but not significantly so. The long-wheelbase version is 34mm longer than before, at 5255mm, with a 51mm increase in the wheelbase, at 3216mm. Width is also up by 55mm, at 1954mm, and the new car is 12mm taller, at 1503mm.
Rear leg room is claimed to have risen by 24mm in the long-wheelbase model, although rear shoulder room has actually decreased by 32mm. Boot capacity is up by 20 litres to 550 litres.
Despite a larger frontal area, Mercedes says, the drag co-efficient has been reduced from a previous 0.24 to a class-leading 0.22, making it one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars to enter series production.
In contrast to the evolved exterior, the interior has been comprehensively redesigned with developments that will be mirrored on future Mercedes models, including the upcoming fifth-generation C-Class due in December.
Up front, there’s a new-look dashboard with substantial trim elements, including open-pore wood veneer with aluminium inlays, and four centrally mounted rectangular air vents in the upper fascia. Key features include a 12.3in digital instrument display with an optional 3D function as well as an 11.9in portrait-format central touchscreen dominating the centre console. Climate functions are incorporated into this screen.
There are 27 fewer analogue controls than before, with the emphasis shifted to swipe, voice and gesture controls via a further developed MBUX operating system. An advanced new head-up display featuring augmented reality and a display area claimed to be equivalent to a 77in monitor comes as an option, as does a new 30-speaker, 1750W Burmester 4D sound system that has subwoofers in the backrests of the front seats.
The rear, meanwhile, receives two optional 11.6in touchscreen displays sited in the back of the front seats, also using MBUX software, in combination with a control tablet that can be used both in and outside the car. Other key developments include a rear-seat airbag that deploys from the back of the front seats.
At launch, the new S-class will be offered with two in-line six-cylinder engines – both carried over from the outgoing sixth-generation car – in an initial four-model line-up.