New Model News

Next-gen 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class bows with lavish appointments, high-tech features

A new, tech-filled S-Class is on its way.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The just-debuted 2021 S-Class is the epitome of high-tech luxury in the Mercedes-Benz lineup - at least until the Maybach version arrives. The fresh, seventh-generation S-Class was designed to enhance a driver and passengers senses - seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling - and it does just that, going beyond what a traditional car offers.

"The S-Class is the world's best-selling luxury sedan. With the latest generation we want to offer our customers innovation, safety, comfort and quality as never before," says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class The car's wheelbase has been extended by two inches.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The design of the car features a short front overhand, long wheelbase, and balanced rear overhang. It has classic sedan proportions with a wide track and sculpted surfaces. Three-point daytime driving lights are flatter than before and sit on either side of the high-status grille.

Mercedes has made the door handles seamless. They extend when the driver approaches or when the outer surface of the handle is touched. Keyless access is provided.

The new version of the car is longer and wider than the previous version. The wheelbase is also longer but when inside mirrors are considered, the model is narrower than the last-gen. There's a slightly wider track and its height remains the same. Nine out of 10 customers worldwide purchase the long wheelbase version of the S-Class sedan.

Mercedes has increased the model's passenger space. Driver elbow room is up 1.5 inches and rear passengers have up to one inch more elbow room. Rear seat headroom is up 0.6 inches while other interior dimensions remain mostly the same.

The trunk capacity has increased to 19 cubic feet of space.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class At speed these handles seamlessly integrate into the body of the car.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has sourced 216 pounds of components in the model from resource-conserving materials. The number of components containing recyclates is now 120 – more than twice as many as in the preceding model. Around 88 pounds more of the components are made from renewable raw materials.

The new S500 is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that delivers 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Paired with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, the S-Class's powertrain is completed adding 21 horsepower and reaching an additional 184 pound-feet of torque.

The S580 gets its power from a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 that makes 426 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It too has mild-hybrid technology that adds 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

The car has an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph, no matter which engine is chosen.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class There are two engine options in the new S-Class.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes will offer the S-Class with available rear-axle steering to make it more maneuverable in city driving conditions. Mercedes has significantly reduced the turning circle of the car - even long wheelbase models with all-wheel drive have their circle reduced by six feet to under 36 feet.

The car rides on wheels available in sizes from 19 to 21 inches.

The sculptured look of the dashboard, center console and armrests was designed to appear to float above an "expansive interior landscape". One interior option features open-pore wood veneer that is set within real aluminum inlays. Vents are rectangular and slim.

The front passenger seat of the S-Class has up to 19 motors (8 for adjustments, 4 for massage and 5 for ventilation, one for the lumbar support and one to move the monitor when in reverse). There are 10 different massage programs available, each taking between eight and 18 minutes, with two stages of intensity.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class The car is nearly the same proportions as before, a little longer and wider, but inside passengers gain more space.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Models with the Executive Line are able to reconfigured in a variety of seat variations and can include a heatable head restraint cushion.

The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) debuts in the S-Class. It features up to five screens worth of interactivity including some with OLED technology and can process at speeds 50 percent faster than the first-gen system. At the touch of a button, the new 3D driver display allows the driver to enjoy spatial perception of the surroundings with a real 3D effect thanks to eye tracking software.

There's a head-up display with augmented reality content that equals the display size of a 77-inch diagonal monitor. The fully-digital driver information display is 12.3 inches and the infotainment screen measures 12.8 inches diagonally.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Quilted leather seats add to the luxeness of the model.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The driver information display can be configured in four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).

The "Hey Mercedes" command now supports 27 languages with Natural Language Understanding.

Opt for the Burmeister high-end 4D surround sound system and Mercedes will install 30 loudspeakers and eight resonators, two fo which are integrated into the backrest of each seat. A nine-speaker sound system is standard and a mid-grade 15-speaker system is available.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class The tablet-like infotainment screen is new for the automaker.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car features 17-step motors that control the temperature and air distribution in the climate control system. The quad-zone climate control has 20-step motors. These electric motors operate the air flaps . Seven personal climate profiles can be stored, plus a guest profile.

More than 50 electronic components of the S-Class can be updated via over-the-air updates.

Mercedes has installed 250 LEDs around the vehicle as ambient lighting that are linked to the driver assistance system and able to visually reinforce warnings.

The German automaker is selling the car with two Energizing options packages that are designed to provide a future customizable experience for the senses. The programs are available for from and rear seats and provide seven suites of treatments to choose from that initiate massage, climate, scent, sound, entertainment and lighting functionalities within the cabin.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car's Driving Assistance Package allows for predictive compliance of speed limits, taking the choice to speed out of the driver's hands.

A rear airbag is available and adds an additional level of protection in the event of a severe collision where it works to protect the head and neck area of seatbelt-wearing occupants in the outboard rear seats. Additionally, the car has E-Active Body Control, which can raise the body fo the car to reduce the impact of a collision when the car's safety systems detect that a collision is imminent. It processes information at the rate of 1,000 times per second.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class goes on sale soon. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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The Ferrari 812 Competizione comes in two varieties.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

A new variant of the Ferrari 812 Superfast has been revealed. The Ferrari 812 Competizione models are a limited edition series of vehicles in two variants, coupe and targa, known as the Ferrari 812 Competizione and the Ferrari 812 Competizione A.

Both models sport a naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine that achieves 818 horsepower. The power plant is, on the surface, the same that is in the Ferrari 812 Superfast but engineers have tinkered with the fresh version to optimize fluid dynamics of the intake system and combustion, reducing internal friction.

Ferrari has paired the engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that the automaker says delivers a new type of shifting feeling. The setup retains the same gear ratios as the 812 Superfast but has more rpm range. The engine can rev to 9,500 rpm and a progressive growling comes spewing out of the car's exhaust system, which comes complete with a gasoline particulate filter that ensures the car meets modern emissions standards.

Ferrari 812 Competizione & Ferrari 812 Competizione A

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

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A single front air intake works to keep things cool up front marking the first time such an adaptation has occurred on a V12-powered Ferrari. The cooling circuit has also been improved making it 10 percent more efficient and the oil tank has been redesigned to allow for extra flow.

Engineers have given the new Ferraris added braking power. That includes a redesigned version of the caliper that was first used on the SF90 Stradale and other modifications. These changes allowed Ferrari to redesign the car's front underbody freeing up space around the lower front wishbone suspension and extending the area that could be used to generate downforce. The car has a passive mobile aero system.

The backside of the new variants has a unique design with a fresh exhaust layout, diffuser geometry, spoiler volume, patented rear screen, and bumper design. The rear diffuser now extends across the full width of the car and redesigned silencers and tailpipes that are integrated into a single pipe.

Four-wheel steering and independent rear-wheel steering features a new electronic management system. Refinements have been made to the car's response system to deliver a more connected drive experience. It features a new iteration of Ferrari's Side Slip Control system and rides on new Michelin Cup2R tires.

Weight savings abounds throughout the car and though much of it isn't apparent to the untrained eye, it helps the performance of the car. This includes the dashboard and door panels. The door panel pocket juts out from the main structure almost as if it were a floating element.

The 812 Competizione A features a number of modifications that differentiate it from the 812 Competizione including the implementation of a flying buttress design that helps the car's center of gravity to appear lower that the coupe's. When the targa top is stowed, the roll bars jut out becoming a secondary visual element.

Each of the cars comes standard with Ferrari's extended seven-year maintenance program.

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