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2021 S-Class MBUX LEAD 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabin preview – smarter than ever

Ahead of the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class world debut, the German luxury brand has unveiled the technology and features that they hope will once-again thrust them above the competition for comfort and convenience.

This is the second generation of MBUX, the system that found its home in the mid-life refresh of the C-Class and all-new A-Class, doing away almost entirely with analogue dials and displays in favour of customisable digital screens.

Naturally, the new S-Class will take this to a whole new level when it arrives. Mercedes-Benz touts the ability to review presentations on the way to a meeting or “while away the long drive home with the latest online films”.

2021 S-Class MBUX rear-seat
The new S-Class can have up to 3 screens back there!

Now some more sceptical people may say – “why not just bring along your own tablet?”. To that Mercedes-Benz retorts with extended voice commands, and the streamlining of specific in-car controls – for example dropping the awkward “hey Mercedes” from some commands.

But the S-Class is really all about the back seat – not unlike the Lexus LS500 Inspiration Series (reviewed here) with its in-built ottoman and reclining back row, the S-Class brings the full MBUX user interface to the rear quarters.

It’s been done to varying degrees in the past, but it appears Mercedes-Benz is going all-in for the latest S-Class, citing the needs of high-flying business-people in China and the USA who prefer the chauffeur experience.

2021 S-Class MBUX Driver's display Sport
The driver isn’t left out, though.

In front of the driver sits the established OLED display that incorporates information about the task at hand – speed, RPM, fuel consumption etc. In the second-gen MBUX system, Mercedes has included four display styles – Sporty, Discrete, Exclusive and Classic.

Along with the display styles, there are three further modes including displays of navigation, assistance or service, depending on the setting.

Further enhancing the ease of driving is a brace of head-up display options. Primarily an augmented reality system that incorporates 3D tech to display navigation directions and other information over a 77-inch display area. Cool.

2021 S-Class MBUX Driver's display
A more relaxing read-out for the drive home.

There will be a regular HUD with more general information about speed, RPM, gear and navigation, too, presumably on lower-spec models.

Additionally there will be up to five OLED displays on any given S-Class, with a maximum of three in the back. The front seat boasts a generously-sized portrait oriented touchscreen as the command centre – not unlike those found in the latest crop of Volvos.

It’s a trend that keeps growing, the intelligent voice commands, and for the S-Class the “hey, Mercedes functionality has been expanded. That means your near $400,000 Mercedes-Benz will be able to settle pub arguments about animal noises, or fastest-car debates.

2021 S-Class MBUX Screen 1
A portrait-oriented central screen is still the command centre up front.

There are more useful attributes promised, including smart home integration, allowing owners to set the heating or cooling to begin on their way back from the office.

Further features include a smart occupant exit warning, cameras can detect when a door is about to open and cross-reference with rear-view cameras to spot vehicles coming along the road. If a car is detected, for example, the ambient lighting will flash red to alert the occupant of the danger.

Further ease-of-use tech extends to an intelligent rear sunblind that will lower itself if it detects the driver turning their head, and hand gesture operations for the sunroof operation.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S-Class interior
Compare that to this previous-gen S-Class with the original MBUX system.

Further easing the carrying-out of commerce, the S-Class will integrate PIN, fingerprint and face recognition to set-up payments and purchases from the comfort of your limousine. 

High-class limousine drivers may also be excited about the possibility of seven different profiles that instantly adjust the temperature, seat settings and preferred drive-mode when the face or fingerprint of that customer is recognised.

That sounds like an awful lot of well-thought-out tech to us. While this level of comfort and customisation may be out-of-reach to most buyers when the new S-Class arrives, we can be sure that it will trickle down to more reasonable Mercedes-Benz products soon. 

2021 S-Class MBUX Screen 2
3D maps and movies on-the-move for the new S-Class.

We will have more information on the all-new S-Class and its groundbreaking features as they come to light, but this all-new limousine is shaping up to be something pretty special already.

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2020 Lexus ES F Sport red rear end Feisty-looking Lexus ES 300h F Sport coming to Australia

The range of Lexus ES hybrid sedans offered in Australia will be expanded in October with the addition of a sporty-looking F Sport grade, rounding out the ES 300h range locally to three variants.

Complementing the existing entry-level Luxury and top-line Sports Luxury grades, the F Sport will be positioned both as a new middle tier for this range of large sedans, and as the most driver-focussed of the lineup.

The F Sport’s debut comes as part of the arrival of a 2020 model year update for the Lexus ES lineup, which will see all three variants fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring for the first time.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport cobalt driving

The F Sport will retain the same four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain as the other seventh-generation ES sedans on sale in Australia. Badged ES 300h, the trio pair a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine with two hybrid motors to produce 160kW of power. Combined torque is not stated.

While the Australian-spec ES F Sport does not pick up the V6 petrol engine offered in the United States, there are mechanical changes in the form of the addition of standard adaptive variable dampers to the F Sport grade, along with the figment larger 19-inch wheels.

Outside, more assertive styling on F Sport cars includes a jet black mesh grille and the unique availability of an exclusive Cobalt Mica grey exterior colour.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport red leather

The interior colour choices on the ES 300h F Sport include a bold Flare Red option and more understated black hide. The F Sport also picks up a unique design on the ES’s eight-inch digital driver display, plus a smattering of F motifs throughout.

The addition of smartphone mirroring tech for the ES lineup will arrive around the same time as the facelifted Lexus RX SUV, which also gains CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike the RX, however, the ES does not gain a touchscreen at this time, with infotainment still to be controlled through the Lexus Remote Touch interface.

Pricing has not yet been revealed for the ES 300h F Sport – or indeed the range of revised ES 300h sedans for the 2020 model year.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport cobalt driving

With the F Sport parachuting in as the middle tier between today’s ES 300h Luxury ($59,888, $67,279 driveaway) and the flagship Sports Luxury ($74,888, $83,819 driveaway), an educated guess would place the F Sport’s list price somewhere between $65,000 and $70,000.

Standard equipment on the ES lineup will continue to include navigation, DAB radio, front-door keyless entry and start, a sunroof, 10-way power adjustable heated front seats, auto lights and wipers, and dual-zone climate control. All ES grades are also fitted with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

The ES 300h F Sport will add the aforementioned styling changes and adaptive variable dampers, plus safety tech previously reserved for the Sports Luxury — blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera. Additional F Sport equipment additions include cooled front seats and memory for the driver’s seat and steering wheel adjustments.

Pricing for the 2020 Lexus ES range is slated to be announced next month. Lexus are operating a platform for customers to register interest now.

2020 Lexus ES F Sport blue driving
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