While a lot of recent Mercedes news has been on their electrification efforts, they’re still producing vehicles with gasoline engines for the foreseeable future. And that includes their flagship sedan, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which sees an extensive redesign.

So we recently got some seat time in the new S-Class for a first drive as we headed up the East coast to Rhode Island!

The exterior sees smoother sheet metal across the slightly larger body. It is certainly more elegant all-around and that is enhanced with the new seamless door handles.

The S500 4MATIC comes with a 429-horsepower turbo inline-6 while the S580 4MATIC is powered by a 496-horsepower twin-turbo V8. Both are paired with EQ Boost electric assist which helps keep the engine noises to a minimum.

“Listen, I knew that the new S-Class’s ride was going to be impressive but it just glides over these North Eastern roads, and they are not in good shape. The suspension just soaks up every bump, every pothole, every rough patch for just a comfortable, smooth, awesome ride.”

That smooth ride is courtesy of the AIRMATIC air suspension and optional rear-axel steering makes turns feel easy in this full-size sedan.

But inside is where things really get impressive with tons of luxury and technology that is very driver-focused.

The 12.3-inch dash cluster and 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen are intimidating at first, but become easier to use once you get the hang of it.

The S-Class is the first Mercedes to see the second generation of MBUX, which is 50% faster than the previous gen. A quick ask to “Hey Mercedes” is available in any seat position and it can even respond to a multitude of indirect questions. 

We are pretty used to the ambient lighting in Mercedes vehicles at this point but the S-Class takes it to another level by supporting the driver assistance systems and flashing when using MBUX. It almost feels like you’re having a conversation with the car.

The all-new Augmented Reality Head-Up Display system within MBUX is a treat and incredibly helpful on unfamiliar roads, by putting directional markers directly on the road for the driver to see.

And for those who will spend some extended time in the rear seats, Mercedes now offers available rear seat airbags.

Three trim lines are available: Luxury, AMG, and Executive. The Luxury trim starts around $110,000 while the rear-passenger focused Executive Trim begins just over $130,000.

You can expect the new S-Class to begin arriving in dealerships this summer. We’ll have more on the Mercedes flagship sedan, coming up soon on MotorWeek!