“When you drive this, people will think you’re a boss.”
Not many marques say “you’ve made it” better than the three-pointed star. But apart from projecting the desired image to business partners, neighbours, or even potential suitors, owning a Mercedes-Benz also means you’ll get to sample some of the latest and greatest in automotive technologies.
Now, whether these features actually enhance the motoring experience still largely depends on the owner’s tech competence and acceptance to new gadgets. But when Mercedes-Benz Malaysia loaned us the facelifted E 300 AMG Line for a week, a few did truly stand out.
The unnecessarily accurate trip computer
Or more specifically, the fuel consumption meter. While displaying the real-time and average fuel consumption figures is nothing new, the Mercedes’ MBUX system takes it to another level by displaying the actual real-time numbers, way, way higher than necessary or even useful – sometimes up to 60-70 l/100 km under hard acceleration, even though the graphics on the gauge maxes out at 25.
And that’s not all. If the engine is idling when the car is stationary, the fuel consumption of the car is displayed in l/hour instead, finally saving the needle from its age-old awkward resting positions at either side of the FC gauge.
Fuel consumption really isn’t something a RM400k car owner would bother with too much, especially with our subsidised fuel, but it’s still a nice feature to have nonetheless.
The rather tactile capacitive steering wheel
From having just capacitive touch buttons (a la Blackberry… yes, I’m that old) on the pre-facelift model, to now a steering wheel that’s entirely touch sensitive, Mercedes-Benz is truly going for a clutter-free look devoid of knobs, buttons, and toggle switches for its latest crop of vehicles.
While some may bemoan the decision to remove physical buttons, these controls were not missed during our affair with the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line, as the capacitive steering wheel spokes actually did a better job, especially thanks to the flexibility they afford.
For instance, setting the speed for the adaptive cruise control is a quick and easy affair on the right steering spoke; to increase the speed, you can either click on the ‘+’ symbol on top of a groove to increase it in increments of 10 km/h, or slide your fingers directly on the indent if you want a more fine-grain control.
The same method applies to the volume control of the exemplary Burmester system, where the control surface is found on the left-hand spokes. Oh, and on a side note, the adaptive cruise control also works up to a speed of 210 km/h – don’t ask us how we know.
The MULTIBEAM light show
Before you denounce us for calling the rather excellent MULTIBEAM system unnecessary, it’s the “flex” that occurs every time you start the car in the dark that we find excessive. The system would do a horizontal and vertical “range check” with its integrated LEDs upon starting up – potentially drawing unnecessary attention, especially if you are starting your car near places like an open-air mamak.
Other than the unnecessary light show, however, we were absolutely taken away by the true capabilities of Mercedes-Benz’s matrix lighting system. Driving along the sometimes poorly lit trunk roads in Kota Bharu is made so much easier and safer with its Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, which lights up the poorly lit areas without blinding oncoming motorists.
Would these features one day trickle down to sub-100k econoboxes? Well, as the exceptionally well-equipped Perodua Alza has proven, it already did – albeit in a more plebeian format.
So is it still worth paying a premium for these features in a Mercedes-Benz? We would love to hear from you – but from our experience, even though they might be completely unnecessary, we loved them more than having people mistaking us as a boss.