Driven - - MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS -

Con­tin­u­ing its rep­u­ta­tion for ul­ti­mate safety, the new S-Class uses the E-Ac­tive Body Con­trol sys­tem to quickly raise the body of the S-Class if any of its side-mounted radar sen­sors sense an im­pend­ing side-on col­li­sion. By rais­ing the car’s body by as much as 7.5 mm, the door­frame is po­si­tioned to ab­sorb more of the im­pact, and to re­duce the de­for­ma­tion of the pas­sen­ger cell.

LEGACY OF LUX­URY

As more non-lux­ury brands make more tech avail­able at a lower price, Mercedes-Benz has to care­fully toe the line be­tween im­press­ing the owner, and im­prov­ing their driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. In an era where tra­di­tional tac­tile lux­ury in­creas­ingly suc­cumbs to the guiles of tech­nol­ogy-in­spired con­ve­nience, the new S-Class suc­ceeds in fus­ing these con­cepts by im­prov­ing the na­ture, and func­tion­al­ity, of its MBUX on-board en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem.

Nat­u­rally, this be­gins with the driver, who is en­cour­aged by Mercedes-Benz to set up one of seven profiles for po­ten­tial driv­ers, to con­trol func­tions and set pref­er­ences for ev­ery­thing from au­dio lev­els and fre­quent nav­i­ga­tion des­ti­na­tions, to cli­mate set­tings and seat po­si­tion. Each pro­file is ac­ti­vated ei­ther by fin­ger­print swipe, face- or voice recog­ni­tion, or a PIN. To avoid abuse of the sys­tem, the car’s owner can re­serve the right to re­strict how much ac­cess other profiles have to ve­hi­cle set­tings.

All func­tions are con­trolled by the MBUX sys­tem’s 12.8” OLED por­trait touch­screen. Hav­ing re­duced the num­ber of phys­i­cal but­tons in the car to the bare min­i­mum, most func­tions are now man­aged via vir­tual con­trols.

Some con­trols of­fer you the op­tion by be­ing ei­ther touch-sen­si­tive or can be phys­i­cally pressed. Sim­i­larly, the steer­ing-wheel con­trols are all touch­sen­si­tive and recog­nise swipes, as do the pow­erseat con­trols on the doors. Mercedes ex­plains that this mix of touch-sen­si­tive and phys­i­cally ma­nip­u­lated con­trols of­fers “ana­logue lux­ury” in places where buy­ers de­mand it, and tech­nol­ogy where the lat­ter makes more sense.

The new S-Class is also an in­cred­i­bly sen­sory car, with tac­tile re­sponses adding to the ar­ray of au­dio and vis­ual feed­back loops. Ac­cord­ing to Mercedes-Benz, ev­ery hap­tic feed­back sen­sa­tion has been de­lib­er­ately de­signed to feel and sound good. The op­tional 1,750-watt 4D Burmester pre­mium au­dio sys­tem in­cludes shak­ers that are at­tached to the seat frames, which vi­brate to the beat of the mu­sic to make it feel as though the bass is vi­brat­ing the whole car, without dam­ag­ing your hear­ing. An in­tu­itive “sound pro­file” setup tool ad­justs low fre­quen­cies, high fre­quen­cies, and the seat shak­ers with an au­dio loop that adds more in­stru­ments as you progress, un­til you have a com­pletely per­son­alised pro­file. When the seats are not shak­ing, they of­fer ten dif­fer­ent mas­sage pro­grammes and in­cor­po­rate near-ear speak­ers that per­son­alise the au­dio, such as re­serv­ing nav­i­ga­tion in­struc­tions only for the driver.

Sup­pose you’re more ac­cus­tomed to rid­ing in the back of the S-Class. In that case, your con­trol op­tions in­crease through the use of the cen­tre

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