Does it work? Mercedes’ re­lax­ation sys­tem

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

NOW THIS IS some­thing a lit­tle bizarre to be do­ing while driv­ing: vig­or­ous mus­cle stretches. Mercedes’ En­er­giz­ing Com­fort sys­tem, which first de­buted on the S-Class, in­ter­con­nects var­i­ous func­tions in the cock­pit such as the air-con, fra­granc­ing, au­dio and seat heat­ing/cool­ing/mas­sage func­tions to help boost the com­fort of its oc­cu­pants or even change their mood. Depend­ing on which Mercedes you have, there are up to six pro­grammes: Fresh­ness, Warmth, Vi­tal­ity, Joy, Com­fort and Train­ing. That’s Train­ing as in a per­sonal trainer of sorts: a voice sug­gest­ing mus­cle-stretch­ing tech­niques to ac­ti­vate, re­lax or bring ‘bal­ance’ to your body. We tested it us­ing an AMG E53 Coupe fit­ted with Fresh­ness and Vi­tal­ity pro­grammes that tweaked the fra­grance, au­dio and air­flow, plus Train­ing. (The car wasn’t fit­ted with mas­sag­ing seats, with­out which you can’t get the Joy and Com­fort pro­grammes.)

Fresh­ness cer­tainly wakes you up; the vents in­ter­mit­tently blast cold air like a gusty wind (not all that wel­come on an al­ready chilly au­tumn morn­ing) ac­com­pa­nied by a heavy spritz of the in-car fra­grance, while Vi­tal­ity plays high-bpm mu­sic. (In a car with mas­sag­ing and cool­ing seats, Vi­tal­ity would de­ploy both to pro­vide even more in­vig­o­ra­tion.)

The Train­ing tu­to­ri­als are 10 min­utes long, with a prim-and-proper fe­male voice ac­tor start­ing off by warn­ing you to re­main in con­trol of the car, to not get dis­tracted and to stop the work­out at any time if your drive re­quires it. That’s Merc’s back­side cov­ered. Now to re­lax your back­side. The voice tells you to tense cer­tain body parts, from your neck and shoul­ders right down to your but­tocks, and then re­lease the ten­sion, al­low­ing you to revel in that chilled feel­ing. But some of these tech­niques are a lit­tle odd to per­form in tran­sit, like rais­ing your shoul­ders to your ears, or tens­ing a sin­gle butt cheek.

All the while the firm voice as­sis­tant in­sists that ‘you are now feel­ing the sen­sa­tion of re­lax­ation’ more than enough times in 10 min­utes for it to wear thin fast and po­ten­tially ruin your chances of achiev­ing the re­laxed feel­ing you’re chas­ing.

When the car isn’t mov­ing the screen dis­plays graph­ics show­ing the move­ments be­ing de­scribed, mean­ing it may be more ben­e­fi­cial to do this kind of thing if you’re stuck in traf­fic. As long, that is, as you don’t mind other road users gaw­ping at you as you do the driver’s equiv­a­lent of the down­ward-fac­ing dog in an M4 tail­back.

E53 is com­fort­able and en­er­giz­ing; yoga in­struc­tion an an­swer to a ques­tion no­bodywas ask­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.