Whenever a model as important as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class gets any sort of an update, the automotive world is put on notice because those updates often help it retain it's luxury benchmark status.
We've already seen a couple of the changes that Mercedes have made to the W222 S-Class. Granted, those leaked images weren't very high-res, but they still gave us a pretty good look at the updated interior, as well as the front and rear end of the car.
Now, Mercedes have went ahead and released a set of official images, showing an updated W222 prototype on the road, making good use of its extended driving assistance functions.
Thanks to systems such as Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist, the S-Class will be able to maintain a safe distance as well as steer itself, while its speed will be adjusted automatically in the bends and at road junctions.
The way Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC works is by predictively reducing speed according to the route ahead, as the car approaches any turns or even toll booths. For example, if the car is in the slow lane, it will decelerate when approaching a desired motorway exit. By the way, the reduction of speed also differs depending on the selected transmission mode (ECO, COMFORT, SPORT) - just to give you an idea of how clever the updated W222 S-Class will be.
Other semi-autonomous features include Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, Car-to-X Communication, Active Parking Assist and Remote Parking Assist.
With Active Lane Change Assist, the driver needs only to nudge the indicator stalk and the car will take action. Once the stalk is activated, the sensor system checks whether the next lane is clear (alongside and behind the vehicle), while also taking into account other vehicles' speeds. With the Active Speed Limit Assist system, one of the coolest features is that the updated S-Class will be able to make stops of up to 30 seconds in stop-and-go traffic.
Speaking of cool features, the Evasive Steering Assist function can now help the driver take action when pedestrians are detected in the danger zone in front of the vehicle. The system will apply additional steering torque in the direction in which the driver is performing an evasive maneuver, helping him or her evade the pedestrian in a controlled manner.
While the rest of the systems are pretty self-explanatory, the Car-to-X Communication function does have a pretty interesting trick up its sleeve, where it will actually warn the driver via voice output when approaching a hazard - which should prove much more efficient than by just flashing a notification.
As for the design of the dashboard, the steering wheel will feature a three-spoke look (as previously seen), while the digital instrument panel seems to have been slightly altered and appears larger.