The next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class may feature a yoke-style steering wheel inspired by the one used by the Vision One-Eleven Concept. It aims to make this style of wheel useable by ditching a traditional steering column and using a steer-by-wire system.
A report out of Germany claims that Mercedes-Benz is keen to adopt a small, square-shaped steering wheel as a way to provide drivers an unimpeded view of the road ahead and of the digital instrument cluster. Such a design will also save space, important given that the new S-Class will feature an advanced semi-autonomous driving system. Indeed, it’s even possible that the steering wheel could be retracted into the dashboard as an option.
Tesla was the first major car manufacturer to introduce a yoke-style steering wheel on a mass-market car but its system was quickly and relentlessly bashed given that it retained a traditional steering system. Lexus has improved upon this system with the RZ 450e EV, pairing a yoke wheel with a steer-by-wire system with a highly variable steering ratio, meaning you never have to turn the wheel 360 degrees.
Handelsblatt reports that Mercedes-Benz intends on doing the same. It asserts that the German brand will implement such a system with the facelifted EQS sedan that could hit the market in 2 to 3 years.
It’s not just the shape of the steering wheel that’s changing; its buttons are too. Many new Mercedes-Benz models have been launched in recent years with capacitive buttons on the steering wheel that respond to light pushes and gestures. While they may sound fancy in theory, they have been lamented by many, with some even noting that they perform particularly poorly in cold temperatures. Mercedes-Benz’s solution? Bringing back physical buttons.
The German publication notes that electric versions of the brand’s more affordable vehicles like the CLA, GLA, and GLB will retain capacitive steering wheel buttons while more premium models like the GLS and S-Class will have real buttons.