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2014 Mercedes S550: Is there such a thing as too much tech? (CNET On Cars, Episode 24)

Mercedes' new S-Class resets the bar for car technology; diesel engines explained; ABS on motorcycles; and the most important things to look for in a car audio system.

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Mercedes' S-Class was one of the first high-tech cars, laden with electronics and smart systems back as far as the '80s. But in recent years, it stood out less in terms of technology because competitors offered as much...and then more. With the arrival of an all-new S-Class for the 2014 model year, Mercedes fights back and at the same time takes steps to reduce the car's image as an old man's ride. As you watch the video, note the immersive quality of the two big LCD screens that make up almost the entire dashboard. I wish the interface shown on them were a little more successful, but decide for yourself.

The XCAR guys in London are part of a "dieselpalooza" in this episode as they decide if a diesel sports roadster is an oxymoron in the form of the Mercedes SLK250 CDi. And I explain one of the most misunderstood and maligned engine technologies in the U.S. market: diesel. How diesels work and why they are so primitively elegant makes for a great Car Tech 101.

And don't miss the new XCAR site here on CNET; it just launched, and is packed with great car cinema as only the XCAR team knows how.

Antilock brakes on motorcycles: who knew? I'll admit I didn't, but when we looked into it we found a fascinating story of a technology that didn't just come over from cars but was really translated into a much more interesting technology in the process. It's in this episode's Smarter Driver.

If you enjoyed our Top 5 on car navigation features last time, you'll like its companion piece on the Top 5 audio features in this episode. No. 1 is really important in this list -- keep it in mind when you listen to any car audio system.

As always, e-mail me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.