Amid the semi-autonomous driving features and perfume dispensers, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class' styling doesn't get much attention. Robert Lesnik, Mercedes' chief exterior designer, gave it plenty of attention, though. In these videos he explains seemingly every detail of the S-Class' design.
An important part of that design was eliminating undesirable elements from the previous W221 S-Class, such as the bulbous wheel wells that made the car look a bit bloated. Also gone is the front-to-rear rake or "wedge," which normally gives cars the feeling of performance. Instead, the 2014 S-Class sits level, with lines flowing away from its prominent grille like the wake flowing around a boat's hull.
Designers like Lesnik have to balance aesthetic appeal with engineering considerations like crashworthiness and aerodynamics. Meeting those performance targets was one of the big challenges of the S-Class' design process.
It's hard to appreciate all of the detailed work required to make a car look and function properly from curbside. For example, an A-pillar might not get much attention from the layman, but according to Lesnik it's a "benchmark in terms or aerodynamics and aero-acoustics." Yes, the shape of an A-pillar may not sound like the most enticing topic, but it's all an essential part of modern car design.
The 2014 S-Class will first appear in the United States as an S550, starting at $93,825. An all-wheel drive S550 4Matic and performance S63 AMG 4Matic will join it, with base prices of $96,825 and $140,425, respectively.
After watching these videos on the S-Class' design, if you desire even more Mercedes design insight, check out this video of Mark Fetherston explaining his work on the CLA-Class.