There was much hullabaloo—at least within the industry—when Mercedes-Benz introduced a host of high-tech active safety features and a high-def dashboard display in the 2017 E-class before those same bits hit the range-topping S-class. Traditionally, Benz’s latest and greatest technologies have come to market on the S-class before trickling down to lesser models—but things are moving too fast for that rollout strategy these days. That doesn’t mean the S is left out, for we’ve learned that the biggest Benz sedan will gain the E’s for-now-exclusive gear soon enough.
According to Mercedes, the E-class’s Drive Pilot semi-autonomous tech (the ability to drive itself on highways for up to 60 seconds at a time and execute autonomous lane changes, late-availability enhanced self-parking system, and Active Emergency Stop Assist, which brings the car to a stop if the driver becomes unresponsive) will run uphill to the S-class when the larger sedan is refreshed in a year or two.
Furthermore, Benz hinted that the S-class could also receive the E-class’s stunning high-def 12.3-inch dashboard display (and an optional second 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, wireless phone charger, and nifty steering-wheel touch control buttons—and possibly “more.” After all, the S-class should have at least a few new tidbits, right? More relevant to the 99 percent are Benz’s other hints that the E-class’s safety tech will spread throughout its lineup, both up and down, even to the C-class, in short order.
Why be so inclusive? Introducing the latest technologies on sub-S-class models has as much to do with Mercedes’ intention to furnish its customers with the best of the best as it does with the increasingly frenetic pace at which new technologies are being developed. In the past, new developments happened slowly enough that Mercedes could wait and roll out its latest tricks on the next generation of its flagship and technological showcase S-class models. These days, the automaker can’t afford to wait five to six years to bring the latest gadgets and safety gear to a new S-class and then take additional time before spreading those features to less expensive models. That’s good news for consumers, even if it steals some stature from the S-class.