2014 Mercedes S-Class Interior Raises Comfort to New Levels

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers five rear seat variants including an Executive seat with reclining backrest for added comfort

by  John Clark  | 

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Continuing on with our 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class coverage, we’re now bringing you an in-depth look at the seating found in the S-Class and what makes it so unique.

As we previously mentioned, in an effort to give you all the information as quickly as possible, we will be posting the complete press releases throughout the day.  Stay tuned and continue to check back often.

If you’ve already looked through all the photos and still want to learn more, check out the Journey to the 2014 S-Class here or check out more information on the S-Class interior overview here and more about the S-Class interior luxuries here.

The seats: Mobile office and center of well being

With numerous world firsts such as the energizing massage function based on the hot-stone principle or the active seat ventilation with reversing fans, Mercedes-Benz has raised seating and climatic comfort in the S-Class to a new level. The seat developers paid particular attention to the rear seats. There is a choice of five different rear seat variants including an Executive seat with a backrest angle adjustable by up to 43.5 degrees, allowing occupants in the rear to concentrate on work or relax in comfort.

The occupants of the new S-Class benefit from the moderate increase in vehicle size by an improvement in all the interior dimensions: there are 12 millimetres more maximum headroom for the driver, as well as 14 millimetres more shoulder room and 10 millimetres more elbow room in the front. Thanks to the 14-millimetre increase in rear kneeroom travel becomes even more comfortable for passengers in the rear. Shoulder room in the rear has been improved by up to 11 millimetres.

Intelligent lightweight construction and innovative functions: the front seats

Intelligent lightweight construction was the watchword during development of the seats. At less than 20 kilograms, the structure of a front seat weighs around 20 percent less than conventional designs. This is in large measure due to the sandwich construction of the side sections on the seat frame, which consist of a two-piece, high-strength steel shell with integrated plastic inserts. This enables the forces from the backrest attachments to be symmetrically introduced into the seat base. There is a further advantage for the seat belt system: unlike with other seat structures, the belt buckle and anchor fitting not only move with any fore-aft adjustment, but also with seat height adjustment. Whatever the size of the seat occupant, this always ensures the best possible belt fit and maximum safety.

The front seats of the new S-Class are electrically adjustable for length, height, inclination and seat cushion depth. The 4-way Power lumbar support and head restraint height can be equally conveniently adjusted at the touch of a button. If the Memory package for the driver and front passenger is specified, the front passenger seat can also be adjusted by the driver if required.

Thanks to wide-ranging adjustments, occupants of very different sizes are seated very comfortably in the new S-Class. The figures:

  • Fore-and-aft adjustment: 290 millimetres
  • Seat height: 65 millimetres
  • Seat cushion depth: 65 millimetres
  • Head restraint height: 60 millimetres
  • Cushion angle: +/- 2.5 degrees
  • Backrest angle: 27 degrees forward, rearward inclination limited by characteristic mapping to prevent collision with the luxury seats in the rear

The sophisticated upholstery structure of the front seat backrests includes Pullmaflex springing and a natural fibre/rubberised hair insert lined with cut foam. In the seat cushion, the flat spring core of the cushion base has a contoured foam insert lined with cut foam. In each case the seat cover has a fleece lining.

The front head restraints are adjustable both vertically and horizontally. Optionally available electric horizontal adjustment (EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint) is new in the S-Class, and optimises the distance between the occupant’s head and the head restraint to lower the risk of whiplash injuries.

Numerous innovative features enhance both seating and climatic comfort – an overview of the most important new developments:

The Front Seat Comfort package includes a world first in the form of the ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle. In collaboration with physiotherapists and psychologists, the seating experts at Mercedes-Benz have developed a unique massage system with 14 separately actuated air chambers in the backrest and an integrated warming function. There is a choice of six massage programmes, two of which are heat-assisted (for details see section “Under the microscope”). In addition the Front Seat Comfort package includes active-multicontour seats with further improved dynamic functions, which have been awarded a seal of approval by EGR, an organisation promoting spinal health.

There is yet another debut within the Seat Climatisation package: for the first time, so-called reversing fans are used in the active seat ventilation system. Here the rotational direction of the fan, and therefore the airflow within the seat structure, can be reversed. When the ventilation function first begins, cooler surrounding air is drawn onto the seat surface. This enables the surface temperature of a heated-up seat to be reduced much faster than with the previous active cooling systems. After four minutes the fans are automatically switched to blower mode to reduce draughts and therefore ensure sustained comfort. Together with the perforated leather, four fans in the seat cushion and two fans in the backrest ensure a uniform relative air humidity where the occupant’s body meets the seat. The intensity can be adjusted in three stages according to individual requirements.

In combination with seat heating – which is also part of the “Seat Climatisation” package but can be ordered separately in conjunction with leather seats – each occupant is able to find the ideal climatic seating comfort. Using the head unit, the customer is able to select the heating output for himself and activate the fast-action heating function. In the main seat area this provides a heating output of up to 2000 watts per sq. m.

The “EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint” adjusts itself automatically when the backrest position of the driver or front passenger seat is changed. This keeps the distance between the head and the restraint constant. On the front passenger side the head restraint can be folded down or removed, allowing the rear passenger an unobstructed view to the front.

If the S-Class is ordered with the “Chauffeur package”, the rear seat occupant on the front passenger side has 77 millimetres more maximum kneeroom. This is because the front passenger seat can be moved 40 millimetres further forward, and a further 37 millimetres are available thanks to a 4-link system. In addition to this “chauffeur position” the front passenger seat can be folded forward or placed in an extended-recline position (for details see next section “The rear seats”). The “EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint” is standard equipment with the “Chauffeur package”, as is a heel support for the rear passenger which extends from under the front passenger seat if the long-wheelbase version is ordered.

Luxury and reclining seat on request: the rear seats

Whereas in Europe and North America the owner of an S-Class is frequently behind the wheel themself, the flagship model in the Mercedes-Benz passenger portfolio is very definitely a chauffeur-driven vehicle in Asia. The logical consequence is the particular attention devoted to the rear by the seat developers. The rear seats are therefore right in the forefront when it comes to seating/climatic comfort and passive safety.

Two rear seat variants (static bench seat or individual seats with 37-degree adjustment) are available for the standard-wheelbase S-Class and no less than five for the long-wheelbase version– see table on next page. The adjustment kinematics have been changed in the luxury and reclining seat variants. Unlike the conventional trailing backrest design, the backrest is adjusted separately so that the legroom and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be separately adjusted for angle and horizontal position.

The maximum backrest angle of the Executive (reclining) seat on the front passenger side is increased from 37 to 43.5 degrees, giving it the largest backrest inclination in the luxury segment. The reclining seat behind the front passenger seat features a calf support which is freely adjustable for length and angle. In combination with the heel rest on the folding chauffeur seat (see section “Front seats”), this allows a reclined position that sets new standards in the automobile sector with respect to sleeping and resting comfort.

The individual seat functions in the rear, and those of the chauffeur seat, are operated via the typical Mercedes control panels in the rear doors. The “resting position” key is pressed to bring the front passenger seat and rear seat into the reclining position.

The most upright backrest position of 19 degrees in the luxury and reclining seat variants allows relaxed working in the rear.

The rear seat variants at a glance:

Rear seat variants Basic version Long version
Bench seat with 27° backrest angle three-seater bench seat with folding centre armrest standard standard
Luxury seat with 19 to 37° backrest angle* three-seater with individual outer seats and folding centre armrest optional optional
two-seater with Business centre console in the rear - optional
Executive (reclining) seat with 19 to (on the front passenger side) 43.5° backrest angle* three-seater with individual outer seats and folding centre armrest, additional cushion for luxury head restraint - optional
two-seater with Business centre console in the rear, additional cushion for luxury head restraint - optional

*Variably electrically adjustable, S = Standard, SA = Optional extra

If the First Class Rear is specified (with rear centre console), the front console on the transmission tunnel is visually continued to the rear. It is equipped with innovative thermo-cupholders which use Peltier technology to cool or warm drinks over a longer period of time.

Like an aircraft seat, the centre console is available with two tables which can be easily folded in or out using one hand. Two articulated joints on the stem and underside of the table enable it to be adjusted to almost any position. The table supports and surface are of light alloy, combining great stability with a high-quality look. The table surfaces have leather inserts to provide a comfortable writing surface.

The optional “Rear Seat Comfort package” also makes the innovative ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle available for the rear seats. The package also includes multicontour seats in the rear (without dynamic control function).

Setting the standard for safety in the rear: new features in the S-Class

Mercedes-Benz has extended the safety system for rear seat passengers further with the belt buckle feeder, the beltbag and the cushionbag. The first two of these developments are included in the “Rear PRE-SAFE® package”. With the belt buckle feeder, an electric motor extends and retracts the belt buckle automatically. In this way, any belt slack in the area of the pelvis and thorax can be reduced so that passengers are secured more firmly in both the sideways and the lengthways direction. Fastening seat belts in the rear has also been made simpler: the seat belt buckle emerges from the upholstery when the rear doors are opened and is provided with an illuminated insertion slot. Making the belt-fastening procedure easier may lead to increased use of rear seat belts.

The beltbag is an inflatable seat belt strap which can lower the risk of injury to rear passengers during a frontal impact by reducing the loads acting on the ribcage. Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit will trigger deployment and inflation of the beltbag. A gas generator then inflates the multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams to nearly three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area is able to better distribute the force acting on the seat occupant, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

The reclining seat is equipped with a cushionbag as standard. This has enabled Mercedes-Benz to design a comfortable reclining seat which provides a higher level of accident safety than a seat with a trailing backrest.

The airbag is located under the seat cushion upholstery, but on top of the plastic seat shell, which is moved by the seat mechanisms. This means that the airbag is always in the same position on the seat shell, and therefore relative to the pelvis position of the occupant. In an accident, with the occupant in a reclined position on a flat seat cushion, there would otherwise be a danger of the pelvic area sliding beneath the seat belt (so-called submarining). This can be prevented by the cushionbag, as it raises the front section of the seat cushion upholstery. The airbag is only activated if the seat is in the reclined position during a crash. It is not activated in the upright position, as there is then no danger of submarining because of the seat cushion angle.

READ MORE: Autos, Mercedes-Benz, S-Class

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