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The ten most important and most irresistible details of Mercedes-Benz, which I love, which are unforgettable, and which make my car a “brand shaper.” Where did Mercedes hide its stars in 1980?
Star 1: Forthcoming & clever
Door handle. It’s forthcoming, and this motion defines it. I pull on the door handle, and it does exactly what you expect a door handle to do: It leaves its gleaming resting place and comes toward me, the driver. It’s the physical metaphor of a door, and it opens faster than the door itself. There’s something clever about this “lock butler.” And the sound it makes is also very pleasant.
Star 2: Soft & megacomfy
Driver’s seat. Nowadays there are driver’s seats with a massage thingy, a ventilator for the back of your neck, and the ergonomically designed musculature of a bodybuilder. My driver’s seat has exactly the features I expect it to have: It’s megacomfy, wide, flat, and totally cozy. Even the few milliseconds it takes me to sink into it are full of pleasant anticipation. It’s like landing in a pile of goosedown. Soft and spacious. Perfect for bottoms of every shape and size. I think the designers were very broad-minded!
Star 3: Yin & yang
No buttons. Thanks for the empty space under the car radio. That’s all I need to say. Here there’s nothing to turn or adjust, no button-itis. Except for a couple of matching buttons (one black, one white), whose function I still haven’t identified. Mere decorations?
Star 4: Lamellae 4-ever
For me, they’re an absolute highlight. If I were the designer, I’d put them all over the interior of my Mercedes. That way the coupe would have design support from the inside, because this is what it looks like: as though the wind is being smoothly captured in the back and each light lamella is sending a fine and elegant breeze around the rear of the car. It’s the ultimate, iconic crowning touch of a Mercedes-Benz. The way I would spell this royal detail is “lammmmmmellae” — pure pleasure!
Star 5: Covert & concealed
An invisible detail from the world of Harry Potter. Just try to open my engine hood. It’s actually a safe! I could lock up all my valuables under this hood, because only an expert can open it. The lever is perfectly concealed. I won’t tell you where — the secrets hidden under the hood will stay there, safe and sound.
Star 6: A mega-effect & wow!
Headlamp wipers. A nice extra! These miniature cleaners are simply incredibly decadent. I love them. They’re tiny, they don’t remove anything or get anything done, but they’re just like mascara: a mega-effect and wow! In any case, I’ve turned my headlamp wipers off for good, because they’ve often made the light go out from the speedometer etc. In the long run, that was a bit too dark for me.
Star 7: Less is more
No star. My car has no Mercedes star on its radiator. Initially it was somehow alienating to have nothing in front of me except this round blue thing which I don’t know the name of. But because the entire car is soooo clearly a Mercedes, with practically an overdose of elegance and coolness, it doesn’t need a star. Less is more — in this case, it’s a good concept.
Star 8: A garage in the car
The trunk. Some cars have a trunk, but in my car I’ve got a garage. It’s really incredible — the designers invented so much space. But it’s just like every spacious apartment in an old building: The more space you’ve got, the more opportunities you have to stash things away. But I don’t stash away things that are messy — only things that are good for my car: its favorite oil, the washing lotion for its big windshield wipers (a good supply of about 20 thirsty liters), lots of soft paper towels for removing fly shit, and about five square meters of the finest velvet carpeting.
Star 9: Door shut
The driver’s door. The door closes all by itself. Any more questions?
Star 10: Big ones
The rear lights. My rear lights are the cultural highlight of the pre-LED era. You could call them baroque lights, because they’ve got a very curvy surface and they’re gigantic. They make things very clear to the person driving behind you: Here we are, and we own this space. They’re downright oligarchic, my two huge rear lights. When I step on the brakes to park my car backwards at home, the whole row of houses glows red. My rear lights are the exact opposite of the delicate mini headlamp wipers in the front.