Published on August 13th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


Next-Generation W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Interior Shown

Mercedes-Benz have been teasing their upcoming S-Class quite a bit recently, but last night they went all out. 12 images were shared on their official website, showing the cabin of the new flagship sedan.

Unlike previous images of the cabin, these were crisp, clear and sometimes even shown in multiple environments (light versus dark). They even included a 2000 word ESSAY on the features and highlights on this new interior.

We won’t get into quite as much detail, but the press release is available below if you’re interested in it.

A few design elements worth mentioning are the new steering wheel (seen in leaked images), larger displays with infotainment now portrait oriented, use of open pore wood and real aluminium trim, dual slim vertical air vent design, 3D wrap-around seat cover design, large wood trim element between rear passengers and more.

Two of the biggest areas of innovation for the new S-Class cabin were the Ambient Lighting system and the ENEGIZING Seat Kinetics. The ambient lighting uses transparent fibre optics and some 250 LEDs (one every 1.6 cm). Compared to previous Benz interiors, the light show in here will be a lot more dramatic and pronounced.

As for the ENERGIZING seat kinetics, essentially, the seats in the new S-Class can minutely reposition themselves and there are three programmes based on the length of the journey that best optimise the seats for passenger comfort and health.


Modern luxury attains the next level in the interior of the S-Class. The designers have created a feel-good ambience with lounge character marked by elegance, high quality and lightness. The dashboard with its new architecture, modern surface design and ergonomic display arrangement is a particular highlight. But the feel-good aspect goes even deeper: With high ride quality and low noise levels as well as an extensive range of ENERGIZING COMFORT programmes, the S-Class looks after the well-being of its passengers. They also stay fit thanks to the effective air filtering system, which signals its newly gained capability with the new name ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL.

The S-Class has always been a place for comfortable travel and relaxed working. With the new generation, the interior has fully evolved into a “third place”, a refuge between home and workplace. Nearly all comfort-related dimensions of both variants, the S-Class with short and long wheelbase, have been improved on the front as well as on the rear seats. The sense of space is accordingly generous. This effect is complemented by the revolutionary interior design, including associations with interior architecture and yacht design elements. In addition to the up to five screens, highlights include the large trim elements in the dashboard and in the rear (with the First Class rear suite). A particularly appealing version is open-pore wood veneer permeated by delicate, form-following inlays made of real aluminium.

LED technology enables interactive interior lighting: The active ambient lighting is now integrated into the driving assistance systems and is able to underpin alerts visually. For example, Active Blind Spot Assist warns of an impending collision with a red light animation. In addition, feedback is possible when operating the climate control system or the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant, for instance.

The active ambient lighting furthermore is integrated into ENERGIZING COMFORT Control. At the touch of a button or by voice command, its holistic “Fit & Healthy” approach provides a tangible experience of the in part significantly advanced comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programmes that bundle them into worlds of experience. At the same time, the system creates a suitable atmosphere in the interior – for example, invigorating in case of fatigue or relaxing in case of an elevated stress level. The ENERGIZING COACH even suggests an appropriate fitness or wellness programme based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about the sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a suitable smartphone or wears a fitness bracelet. Mercedes-Benz has developed a special ENERGIZING COMFORT range in China for Chinese S-Class customers.

The new S-Class can be experienced with many senses – vision, touch, hearing and smell. They can be assigned to the areas support, protection, interaction and wellness. Here are the content-related focal points of the third special in a mind map:

Overview of key features

Revolutionary interior design evokes associations of interior architecture and yacht design elements:

  • The new S-Class is geared toward the six guidelines of the design code defined for Mercedes-Benz:
    1. “Unexpected Moments”
      • New interior architecture and new user experience concept for a generous, lounge-type ambience
      • The entire dashboard blends with the body of the front trim section to form a single entity
      • Large displays, the central display is now in portrait orientation
    2. “Stimulating Contrasts”
      • Light versus dark
      • Visually soft (leather) vs. hard surfaces (piano lacquer)
      • Generous size of the dashboard vs. stringent surfaces of the displays
    3. “Stunning Proportions”
      • Unusually large trim elements give the high-quality woods a powerful expression of having been modelled with feeling: Artisanal process on the clay model indispensable for best possible proportions
    4. “Freeform & Geometry“
      • Trim element landscape is structured by ship’s deck and flowing lines
      • The central display rests against the dashboard in a free-floating position and smoothly transforms from a 2D display geometry into a 3D saddle geometry in the centre console
      • The transition from the display to the ‘Black Panel’ trim element is highlighted by the suspended bar housing the upper control panel
      • Design and function of the tailor-made and form-following seat upholstery layouts go hand in hand. They are structured with stitching and perforation
    5. “Significant Graphics“
      • New design elements include the four low-profile centre vents with horizontally mounted adjusters
      • Two slim, vertical side vents on either side round off the dashboard design
      • The systematic reduction in the number of controls underscores the minimalist modern appearance of the interior; as many buttons as necessary, as few as possible
      • Segmentation into clusters (e.g. seat adjustment switches)
      • Graphic design of the ambient lighting (see below for details), the active ambient lighting in the upper plane sits behind a ‘Black Panel’ surface
    6. “Natural Attractions“
      • New seat generation with flowing, three-dimensional design: Embedded into the surroundings like a seashell
      • Waterfall-like large wood trim element between the rear passengers when equipped with single seats in the rear
      • Steering wheel generation with goblet-shaped accommodation for the impact absorber 

Feel-good atmosphere day and night thanks to active ambient lighting:

  • Light envelopes all passengers (ambient lighting also from overhead control panel and back of the front seats)
  • There is an LED every 1.6 centimetres in the fibre optics with about 250 LEDs in all
  • Controlled in real time via CAN-BUS
  • Fibre optics and diffuser make colour progressions and fine-grained animation of a “chase light” possible
  • Brightness is ten times greater than before (200 candelas per m2), easy to see even in daylight; automatic switch between daytime and night-time mode dependent on the ambient brightness
  • Colours and brightness (20 levels) can be adjusted via MBUX/voice assistant
  • Additional functions of active ambient lighting (option):
  • Alert reinforcement, integration into driving assistance systems
    • Red light animation, e.g. with Lane Keeping Assist and Brake Assist as well as with exit warning
  • Operating feedback
    • Setting the climate control system to colder or warmer in individual zones triggers a visible impulse
    • The ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant animates the corresponding seat position, e.g. when the system expects a voice command
  • Integration into ENERGIZING COMFORT
    • Appropriate colour schemes depending on programme

Newly orchestrated and further advanced ENERGIZING COMFORT range:

  • S-Class innovations such as active ambient lighting, large displays and new contents with high-resolution animations are integrated
  • Character of the programmes (Refresh, Vitality, Warmth, Joy, Comfort) has been sharpened
  • More flexible sequence of the individual functions within a programme
    • ‘Join’ mode: Passenger can join running programme
    • ‘Share’ mode: The own programme can be suggested to other passengers
  • In part exclusive use of the comfort systems, e.g. special massage sequence in the ‘Vitality’ programme
  • Integration of the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant: A statement such as “I am stressed”, for example, automatically triggers the ‘Joy’ programme with regenerative character
  • Soundscapes in surround quality tailored to each programme, specially designed by sound agency
  • Special ENERGIZING Comfort range for China, developed there
  • ENERGIZING COACH: Recommends ENERGIZING Comfort programmes based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about the sleep quality and stress level into the algorithm if the driver has a suitable wearable.

Powerful filtering system:

  • ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL: New air filtering system, especially effective against fine dust, pollen and odours
  • Market-dependent: Indication of the air quality
  • AIR-BALANCE Package with ioniser and active fragrancing with two special S-Class fragrances

Tailor-made ergonomics for driver and passengers in both S-Class versions with short and long wheelbase:

  • Significant improvement of the interior dimensions for driver, front passenger and rear passengers
  • Sophisticated dimensional concept
    • Centre axis of the steering and centre of the driver’s seat align: Symmetric driving position for all types of physiques
    • Modification of the adjustment spring of steering wheel and driver’s seat: Even more individual seat adjustments
    • Grip on the steering wheel rim moved slightly back: Even more comfortable position for people sitting tall
  • Automatic adjustment of seat and steering wheel: ADAPT
    • Driver only needs to enter his height in MBUX / tell his height to the MBUX voice assistant
    • ADAPT calculates the optimal driving position for the entered height and adjusts the driver’s seat as well as steering wheel and side mirrors appropriately. Readjustment is possible, of course
    • Developed with the aid of digital human models and validated in studies with real drivers
  • Intuitive display and operating concept: See Meet the S-Class DIGITAL, “My MBUX”
  • Checking of sight lines in a “digital driving exam”:
    • The reflection properties of the interior designs are optimised using high-resolution visualisations created by powerful computers
    • To this end, the computer calculates the positions on all seats based on a representative collective of digital human models in order to be able to study the sight lines from the respective eye points

Comfortable seats with numerous adjustment options and many comfort details:

  • Completely new head restraint (especially more space at knee height in the rear in fully reclined position)
  • g. chauffeur and reclining seat with much improved adjustment range / angle
  • Extensive, expanded range of comfort details
    • ENERGIZING seat kinetics for the first time in the S-Class: Supports orthopaedically beneficial changes in the seating posture by means of minute changes in the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest
    • Neck warmer in the “comfy pillow” of the rear seats: Surface heat by means of integrated heating mat, power supply via press studs (no impeding wires)
    • Climate-controlled seats now with radial fans
    • Cushion massage: With six air bladders
    • Massage function: Bladders are closer to the surface, closer to the passenger. As a result, the massage function can be felt more clearly
    • Near-ear loudspeakers integrated into the front seats
      • Optimisation of the surround sound
      • Infotainment announcements, e.g. navigation instructions or/and telephone information can be directed more precisely at the driver’s position
    • All seats with AGR (Healthy Spine Campaign) quality seal
    • Up to five rear seat variants to choose from, with two and three seats, reclining seat function, folding centre armrest or business centre console

Quiet driving pleasure thanks to extensive NVH measures and excellent ride quality thanks to innovative suspension systems such as E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL

The major innovations in detail

Ambient lighting: It uses fibre optics made of a transparent material. The light of the primary colours red, green and blue generated by the LEDs is reflected at the boundary between the optically more dense and the optically less dense material. In addition to a static light, the colours can alternate along the entire fibre optics in order to stage productions. The active ambient lighting is generated by a light band comprised of about 250 LEDs distributed side by side at a distance of 1.6 centimetres in the vehicle interior as an additional light plane. The optics are designed to create a continuous line of light. The networked LEDS are controlled in real time via a CAN data bus. Thanks to the actuation frequency of up to 25 Hz, the human eye is able to perceive dynamic lighting scenarios.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics: ENERGIZING seat kinetics uses the electric seat adjustment. When the driver selects this programme, the inclination of the seat cushions and backrests is repeatedly adjusted minutely using the seat settings selected by the driver and the front passenger as the starting point (the “Home” position). The changes are only minimal – a few degrees or millimetres. The seat first moves into the “closed” position (whereby the seat cushion is inclined backwards and the backrest forwards), followed by the corresponding “open” position with the opposite inclination. If multicontour seats are installed, the ENERGIZING seat kinetics also includes the lumbar support function. ENERGIZING seat kinetics improves spinal health, because the natural strain and relief of muscles, joints and discs can lead to muscle relaxation and an improved supply of nutrients to the joints and discs. ENERGIZING seat kinetics is based on a patented algorithm and offers three programmes for short, medium-length and long journeys. These are different depending on the number of adjustment cycles. Convenient selection of the programmes is visually supported via the central display of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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