Luxury car makers want their customers to feel comfortable. This is a fact. But some are going further – we are talking about relaxation capsules on wheels.
The extended wheelbase Bentley Bentayga, for example, can save you a trip to an osteopath, while the Mercedes EQS SUV uses lights, animations and smells to boost your mood.
The Bentayga EWB has seven inches of additional legroom and that’s good news if passengers want to put their feet up and recline the rear seats 40 degrees. Bentley no longer makes the Mulsanne looking like a limousine – instead, it believes that what VIPs want is a really big, attractive SUV.
The USP when it comes to the Bentayga’s 22-way adjustable rear seats (an £8,395 option on top of the car’s £211,300 base price) is that they’re designed to enhance well-being. These smart seats offer two notable invisible innovations. The first is a fatigue prevention system, which makes postural micro-adjustments to the occupants’ sitting positions – like a Pilates bed, if you will, but in the form of a seat.
State-of-the-art air cells allow complex twisting movements through the front, lower back, lumbar and upper back pads to defeat dead spots and invigorate muscles. There are six independent pressure zones and three intensity settings that can provide 177 adjustments in a three-hour rotation.
The second seating innovation is a thermal comfort system, whereby the seats measure the body temperature and humidity of the occupants and provide optimal thermal comfort through heating and ventilation. To do this, the system uses a complex predictive algorithm to move air across the seats and dehumidify passengers.
The idea is for its occupants to leave after each trip feeling better than before stepping through its extra-long doors.
Mercedes, meanwhile, has moved away from the doctor and focused on atmosphere and serenity when it comes to its EQS all-electric SUV.
The £129,170 Mercedes offers three ‘energizing nature’ programs designed to snooze away, via its Burmester stereo – Forest Glade (birdsong and leaves rustling), Sound of the Sea (gentle surf and squeaks of seagulls) and Summer Rain (raindrops on leafy canopies and distant thunder). The sensory oasis these sound archives create is heightened by ambient lighting and visuals of stars and whatnot, which stream across the panel’s screens.
That’s particularly impressive thanks to the MBUX Hyperscreen (an extra £7,995), whereby the entire dash can be transformed into a high-tech instrument panel made up of three continuous screens. Never has a car been so digitized. It has eight CPU cores, 24 GB of RAM and 46.4 GB per second of RAM.
The driver’s seat reclines electrically, the sunroof and window blinds operate, the air is ionised (the patented EQS air filter is the most effective on the market) and the ambient lighting is adjusted. Soothing sounds and the starry sky appear on the center panel, and the massage functions lull you into a soporific stupor.
At the end of the power nap program, the soundscape changes along with the massage program and seat ventilation. The seat automatically returns to the upright position and the blinds move back down. Time to keep driving.
Say ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate voice activation and request ‘Energying Coach’. Tell the car how you feel and it will respond. For example, ‘I’m stressed’ will trigger your Joy regenerative program to calm, reassure and improve the driver’s (or passenger’s) mood. Adding to the spa effect is the car’s built-in fragrance with top notes of violet, orange, currant and raspberry.
In both cases, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan was compared. The Roller’s ride and craftsmanship are impossible to fail, but in terms of seating and wellness, Bentley and Mercedes are ahead (the Rolls can still sport its ‘star’ roof lights from 2015, but there are no thermal seats or soundtracks of rainforest naps).
The only things missing are a Buddha, some yoga mats, and a pool decorated with candles. And relax…
Ask the Car Doctor: What is a Tire Tag?
Cazoo Automotive Editor Leo Wilkinson says: ‘If you’re buying new tires, you might have noticed that each one comes with a rating label that gives you information about its fuel efficiency, how much grip it offers in wet weather, and how much noise it makes.
‘A physical label is attached to each tire when it is manufactured and you will see the same label next to each tire when comparing them online. Ratings range from A to E for fuel efficiency and wet grip, and from A to C for noise. A is the best and tires that score all As can be expensive.
‘Should you always go straight to As? It depends on your priorities. You may be willing to compromise in one area or another, but a good all-rounder will score at least Bs and Cs across the board.’
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