S550: A Final Grab Bag of Little Things
So many features. It's an infinitely deep well, and I suspect most S Class owners don't even use a majority of the little features that Mercedes engineers throw into this car. After a year's ownership, I'm not sure I've done more than scratch the surface. But, alas, my year of #SClassLife has ended, so let me sum up for posterity a bunch of little things that I did use and appreciate:
- Media Register: these cars have a built-in 10 gigabyte hard drive that can copy CDs from the CD changer or copy files from a USB drive. It's a built-in iPod, essentially. I'm guessing most owners have no idea, especially as "Media Register" is hardly an evocative name.
- Rear Seat Privacy Screens: window tinting? Way too low rent for an S Class. Instead, there are perforated screens that roll up from the rear doors and rear deck, allowing rear seat passengers to obscure themselves without any cheap-ass "tinted windows."
- 360 Camera: in addition to having six cameras to assist you with parking, you get a 360 degree overhead view that stitches all the images together. This is increasingly common in contemporary luxury cars (and all Teslas), but it was certainly an advanced feature in 2015. And I never want to be without it again, as it makes parking so much easier.
- Reverse Tilt Side Mirror: when you put the car into reverse, the right-hand mirror automatically tilts down to give you a view of the curb and your rear tire. This is relatively common in European luxury cars (my 2002 Porsche 911 had it), but it's an invaluable feature for preventing curb rash.
- Front Seat Massage: this was mostly a feature Jennifer loved, but yes, this car offers in-seat massage (several different patterns and intensities) for both the driver and front passenger.
- Active Front-Seat Bolsters: when you go into a corner, the car automatically inflates the side seat bolster opposite from the direction you are turning, the better to brace you against sliding around in your seat. I left this feature deactivated, but some people like it.
- Easy Entry/Exit: when you turn off the ignition, the driver's seat automatically adjusts down and backward to make it easier to get into and out of the car. I initially turned it off, dismissing it as an "old man" feature. And then I realized I am an old man and turned it back on. :-)
- Rear Comfort Seats: the rear seats are independently everyway adjustable and offer 3 memory settings, just like the front seats. Oh, and the passenger-side rear seat also has the ability to control the position of the front passenger seat. You know, so a busy executive sitting back there can adjust the leg room without having to ask anyone up front.
- Brake Hold: this apparently is standard across the Mercedes line, but was new to me. When stopped, a firm press on the brake pedal puts the car in "hold" mode, so you can take your foot off the brake without any rolling. I think this should be standard on all cars with automatic transmissions!