(NBCNEWS) — There was a time when luxury cars were defined by their sheer size and mass, their power, performance and, of course, exclusive details like leather seats and wood trim.

Those factors distinguish the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but there’s more to the redefined German flagship that fit the changing nature of the auto industry. From its LED lamps to the 3D cameras, radar and night vision systems that allow the new sedan to virtually drive itself, the new S-Class is a technical tour de force that will likely have competitors racing to catch up.

The long-awaited remake of the classic full-size luxury sedan was staged at an Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany – no surprise because parent Mercedes-Benz also holds a stake in the French airline manufacturer. But the venue was clearly chosen to underscore the technical sophistication of the new S-Class.

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