Wearing perfume as well as a heavenly host of safety and convenience features, the new Mercedes-Benz flagship sedan made its world debut for journalist drivers here this week.
No kidding. In what is claimed to be a first among luxury cars, the 2014 Mercedes S-Class offers a $350 option that wafts perfume through the car. A small container fits into a receptacle inside the glove compartment and becomes part of the automatic climate control system.
Called "active perfuming," it adjusts the smell of the car's interior for mi'lady or her gentleman. It can be turned on and off manually, and adjusted to suit the owner's tastes.
There are four mood scents: Nightlife, Sports, Downtown and Fireside. Of course, the owner can substitute his or her own perfume, cologne and, presumably, shaving lotion. The system atomizes the perfume and distributes it throughout the passenger area.
"It neither changes the interior smell permanently, nor are perfume molecules deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing," Mercedes-Benz said in a statement. "The fragrance is discreet and mild, and dissipates rapidly."
Active perfuming is but one of many innovative features, including a system that automatically stops the car before it hits a pedestrian and a night vision camera that can distinguish between humans and animals. The new S-Class also is said to be the first to use light emitting diodes (LEDs) exclusively inside and outside of the car instead of incandescent bulbs. There are nearly 400 in all.
The 2014 S550 sedan, in two- and four-wheel drive versions with 455-horsepower V8 engines, goes on sale in the United States in the fall. Prices are expected to range from nearly $100,000 to more than $200,000, depending on the model and options.
(Reach DriveWays columnist Frank A. Aukofer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)