Driven

AP­PA­RA­TUS / A dose of gad­getry

- Tech · Cars · Mercedes-Benz · CarPlay · Android · Nikola Tesla · Tesla Motors · Society of Automotive Engineers

arm­rest-mounted tablet that also con­trols au­dio, rear cli­mate and nav­i­ga­tion, and can even be used to browse the In­ter­net.

SMART IN­TE­GRA­TION

Ac­cord­ing to Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class is best ex­pe­ri­enced when con­nected to your smart de­vice via the Mercedes Me app. The sys­tem also sup­ports wire­less Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto, which is good be­cause all six on-board USB ports are the new USB-C stan­dard, so you’ll need to re­place your old ca­bles or use the wire­less charg­ing pad.

When con­nected to the Mercedes Me app, and you opt to use the voice com­mand func­tion, you will no­tice that the 64-colour am­bi­ent light­ing sys­tem is now an­i­mated to act as a vis­ual aid wher­ever pos­si­ble. Turn the heat up on the pas­sen­ger’s side, for ex­am­ple, and red hashes will move across the pas­sen­ger’s side of the dash. At­tempt­ing to man­u­ally change lanes while there is a car in your blind spot, and the am­bi­ent light­ing sys­tem will light up the LEDs on the pas­sen­ger door in yel­low.

All the lat­est pas­sive and ac­tive driver aids are found in the new S-Class. Most no­tably, the adap­tive cruise con­trol has been up­graded to in­clude the Tesla-es­que, driver-ini­ti­ated au­to­mated lane change op­tion that we’ve seen on lesser Ben­zes in pre­vi­ous years. Al­though the car will cen­tre it­self in the lane, the driver is en­cour­aged to be ready to take over from the ve­hi­cle at any time. To en­sure that you are, sev­eral sen­sors – in­clud­ing the eye-track­ing cam­era and sen­sors em­bed­ded un­der the leather of the steer­ing wheel – are used to de­ter­mine driver at­ten­tion.

The SAE Level 2 semi-au­to­mated driv­ing sys­tem can also turn one of its cam­eras into an in­te­grated dash cam in the event of a col­li­sion. The same cam­era also works with all of the other cam­eras around the car to be­come a vir­tual sen­try that will record video if any low-im­pact col­li­sion (in a park­ing lot, for ex­am­ple) is de­tected.

LAST WORD

While some may scoff at the muted de­sign that ap­pears de­cep­tively evo­lu­tion­ary, the new S-Class re­mains a so­phis­ti­cated piece of sheet metal that tricks the eye at al­most ev­ery cor­ner – the au­to­mat­i­cally de­ploy­ing and re­cess­ing door han­dles and in­con­gru­ous tri­an­gu­lar tail­lights be­ing ex­em­plary cases in point. This said, the ex­pertly crafted curves and tra­di­tional MercedesBe­nz de­sign cues eclipse most other mod­els in the Mercedes sta­ble. And while the fam­ily re­sem­blance is pro­nounced, the new S-Class re­tains its title as the brand bench­mark, de­sign icon, and tech thought leader.

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