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Cooley On Cars
2016 Mercedes Maybach S600: Sublime and a bit ridiculous (CNET On Cars, Episode 66)Maybach S600 transports us to the 1 percent side of the tracks, rear seat airbags are on the way, and what exactly is a "compliance car"?
[CAR SOUND] [MUSIC] Mercedes re relaunches mybox. Will it work this time? Air bags in places you never expected them. And is it time for dash cams to start coming from the factory? Time to check the techs. [CAR SOUND] We see cars differently. We love them on the road and under the hood but also check the tech. And are known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good, the bad, the bottom line. This is CNET OnCars. Welcome to CNET OnCars, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Now, most of us are never going to buy a car like a Mirach. The problem is, most of the folks they thought were going to buy one didn't buy one either. And they killed off the very luxury derivative of Daimler back in 2012. But now the name is back as a Mercedes derivative. An ultra high end version of the S class. This should be fun, lets drive the all new Mercedes Maybach S600 with a big old brawny biturbo 12. And check the tag. [MUSIC] I can give you short story on the Miback S 600 in ten seconds. It's an eight inch Longer fully loaded S Class 600. And the eight inches longer gives you a whole bunch more room in the back, that's where the focus is on the extra length. [MUSIC] Notably it doesn't pick up a whole lot of extra weight. It only weighs about 230 pounds more than the short S Class Otherwise the sheet metal on a S class versus a Maybach is so similar you should look for the badges, the one here on the sale panel and the one on the rump. You won't find those on any other Mercedes. [MUSIC] Now, getting into a Maybach S600 is not shockingly different. Than an S class. First thing your eyes are drawn to are the dual 12.3 inch widescreen LCDs. I don't think I've got that much LCD real estate in my TV room. The one on the left, of course, are your virtual gauges, which occasionally move out of the way to allow night vision to take over the center. This big screen we've seen before. It's the command system that has navigation that is well rendered but doesn't. Strike any new ground, beyond all the in car broadcast, satellite, and external media sources you've also got the ability to have tunein as a streaming radio choice and an in car hotspot, but that's part of a telematic. Telematics subscription at $450 a year. Now all of this is controlled by two controllers, no touch. German, remember. I must say, you might think this track pad is gilding the lily with a control knob right near it but this does wonders. That touch pad is also good for hand riding, and pinch and zoom on the map. It's right about now, diving into all the menus you can access with these control, that you realize there's too damn much going on in this car. If you are working hard enough to afford this, you don't have time to be playing with your car's menus. You're making money. Chief example, go to to the HVAC ribbon of buttons here, and just press the one that says menu. Then spend the next afternoon or so, figuring out all the ways you can set up the climate in this car. From the temperature, to the air distribution, to the air flow. You can blow hard, soft or moderate. To footwell air flow, climate mode, the air freshener, which is separate from the ionizer. Really? And similar layers and layers and layers of possibility occur on almost every system in the infotainment head unit. You don't need a loan to buy this car you need a degree in engineering. And you know you're not in a Lexus in this car completely different design language of course but the seats are hard. A Lexus always has plus seat, this one does not. Now lets talk about some visual tech going on in this car. I told you about the night vision that we had in between the main gauges. We've also got the best 360 bird's eye view camera in the business. Look how beautifully it stitches the four camera's together, it doesn't even appear to be four angels, that's pretty slick. And we've got the magic sky controls Sunroof, front and rear, hit this little button right by the sunroof control, and it goes from dark blue to nearly clear electronically. They apply high voltage to a crystal instucture inside the glass panel to have it either reflect Or pass light, I bet your Hyundai doesn't have that. And my last visual trick to show you is this one. You find that little icon, looks like a book, and now you've enabled split view. On the passenger side right now I'm seeing media, from the driver's side right now you might be seeing navigation. Same screen, same time but at this 45 degree angle it feeds two different displays. That's pretty hot. The audio in this car is off the charts and that's base, 1540 watts, 24 speakers from Bermister. There's even a ceiling speaker in the rear and a separate sub in the trunk that gets its own 400 watts. Feeds. The tweeters even rotate. I'm not sure why. And this is low tech but really cool. The hinge on the console changes depending on where you open it. I couldn't get enough of this. I played with it all day. Now driving the Maybach is not much different than any other S-class. You've got the sort of old school electronic column shifter here. Paddles on the wheel by the way. Over here in the centre console you've got a sport or economy mode for the power train, and below that is ABC. Not a spelling lesson, that's automatic body control. That's the active suspension/ Either sport or comfort. The adaptive suspension on this car is not just mechanically based, it uses a camera To look at the road and to know when there's a big bump or divot coming and pre-adjust the suspension, not wait for the impact to happen. This drives me nuts, though, about the rear compartment and the front, for that matter. You don't have infinite door checks. You got old school three positions notched hinges. This thing is gonna cut your shin off, it did it to me several times. Then since you have to work 18 hours to afford one of these, they give you some nice tables to do your work upon. And what's interesting about these compared to some other cars of this luxury category is that these are Pretty darn good. This is like what you get in the airplane, illuminized and they come to the right place. Dual tablet-like screens. These are not iPads. These are Mercedes proprietary screens that can be playing either plugged in media, DVD, or it gets you access to almost anything at the front. Or let you bring up media that gets sent to the front for master system distribution. Let me tell you, this is better than my office. Cup holders are so Passe, instead you want a heated and. It's cooled cup holders. Just press the button for which you want, and the little light inside changes accordingly as well. These people are nuts. And of course, in a car like this you have to offer the coupe-de-grais of luxury silliness. The bottle cooler. The fridge. Right here behind your elbow. Holds a couple of what it looks like full sized bottles of champagne though I'm sure they don't officially endorse that. Problem is look how much room in the trunk it takes up. There's barely enough room for the owner's ego in there anymore. [MUSIC] The Maybach S600 shares an engine with a standard S600 luckily it's a lot of engine. A 6.0 Liter Twin Turbo V12 Doing 523 horsepower and 612 pound feet of torque. Rear wheel drive only through a seven speed automatic. 0 to 60 in five seconds is only a half a second slower than a short S class. And the weight, at 5,269, is only 28 more pounds per inch of added length. 1320 mpg escapes single digits but not by enough to escape a gas guzzler tax. First thing I noticed in terms of its driving behavior is if you have it in this economy mode and if you have auto start stop enabled. This may be the most laggardly driving experience on the road. Part of that is to make it a more comfortable, less transitional ride. Between stop and go. When you put it in sport mode, though, and trounce it, good grief. How can something is big go that fast is what you think. We do have a heads-up display on this car which is not necessarily something new from Mercedes but I will say, take some lessons from BMW, it's not real satisfying. The overall smoothness is Incredible as you'd expect, partly because we've got over 5000 pounds to dampen out road ongelation. In all, the power that is available, buried as it may be. The heaviness, the adaptive road control, and of course, who knows how many hundreds or thousands of pounds. The sound dampening insulation add up to a sublime driving experience. Okay, base, if you can call it that, a Maybach S 600 is about $193,000 proposition. But of course Of course, we gotta go see that style. We're gonna add a few grand to that in the following fashion. Those rear tables and heated and cooled cupholders. Gotta have those for two grand. The fridge is 1,100. I'm gonna skip that all day long and get some trunk space. Split view. I love it. 700 bucks. Magic sky control is a pricy overhead toy. 5,000. But boy, is that slick. And of course the gas guzzler tax, that's $1700 you could have spent in a lot better ways. All in, about $203,310 the way we would do it. Now, if you're going to buy a car like this. You sure don't need my opinion whether you need it or not. It's not a need product. But, it's a whole lot ostentatious and over the top, than the old Maybach 57's and 62's. It utterly separates driving. From the chore of driving. Find our full review on the Mercedes Maybach S600 over at cars.cnet.com. Well we've become used to airbags popping up all over around the front seats and dash like mushrooms in last ten years. But there was one part of the car that was curiously Basically devoid of them. Even that's changing as the smarter driver's about to find out. When cnet on cars returns. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Air bags positively litter the front row of late model cars. But here in the back, you kind of get table scraps. Maybe one of those side curtain airbags reaches back this far. And maybe one of the recent, and rare seatbelt airbags. The shoulder strap is actually an airbag, housed within what looks like a traditional belt. But if there's an accident sensors determine when the inflatable belt should deploy, signaling the belts tubular airbag to inflate with compressed gas. An IIHS survey found 12 percent of people injured in the crashes, were in the back seat, and even more notable rate when you recall that often that seat's empty So automotive industry supplier TRW has now developed two rear air bags. One deploys down from the roof, the other out of the back of the front seat. Now these back seat airbags look a little odd right, but the dynamics that led them to that shape were based on a study of German car accidents from 99 to 2013, a lot of years. [MUSIC] TRW found that the majority of folks who were injured in the backseat in the crash either got hurt by slamming into the back of this front seat. [MUSIC] Or because they only had a shoulder belt on and nothing else restraining them. All the force was concentrated here and they got a thorax or chest injury. The air bags seem to distribute that force. Much more gently. [MUSIC] In smaller cards, TRW expects the seat mounted air bag is gonna work out best. In larger vehicles, the roof mounted design could be a better idea. And by the way, rear air bags are not just about protecting people in the back According to Japan's Institute for Traffic Research and Data Analysis, serious injuries and fatalities to front seat occupants declined by 25% to 28% when the rear passenger is restrained. Because they in the front no longer have this one or two hundred pound projectile in the back hitting their seat and causing more impact. Air bags back here would be expected to even further reduce front passenger injury due to rear passengers. These new bags are likely to arrive in Europe first where some new rear seat crash standards are rolling out soon. The U.S. has yet to develop a framework for even evaluating them, but the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Is working on that. So why has it taken so long to get rear airbags into momentum like this? Well, two major factors. One is economics. Car makers aren't really crazy about jacking up the MSRP by adding features even if they're safety features sometimes. That are not gonna be used very often. Under appreciated and unsung if you will. Secondly, 14 states in the US right now don't even require that you use a backseat seat belt. So in many ways this is the low hanging fruit even before we put some inflatables back here. [MUSIC] It pays to doublecheck your state's rear seatbelt laws, the availability of rear air bags, in the car you buy in a few years, and regardless of either, that your passengers are using the restraints they've already got in the back. [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNET on cars, coming to you from our home at the Mt. Tam motor club, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well California has long been a big trend setting in the auto industry. Very much dictating styles but more importantly, emission standards. Which has led to a curious beast known colloquially as a compliance car. Makes for a very interesting and intriguing car tech 101. [MUSIC] Whenever you find the word compliance, it usually suggests someone is doing something they didn't want to do because someone else made them do it. In this case, someone who did the telling was the State of California, which in 2012 pulled all the large and intermediate sized car makers in the State that a certain percentage of their annual sales had to be zero emission's vehicles. That means battery electric cars or the even more rare hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. All of a sudden oddities like electric Fiats and Smart 4-2's and Honda Fits and RAV 4s cropped up. Carmakers that fail to sell the minimum percentage of zero emissions vehicles, and this is figured out by a formula far too complex to relate here. Would then be subject to penalties that they can satisfy by buying expensive zero emission credit from companies that do sell more than their share of zero emission vehicles. For example, Tesla has made millions of dollars the last could years Selling credits because all they make are zero emissions vehicles and they can sell them to car companies that make gas engines and not enough that don't spew. Not to say all zero emissions are compliance concession. The all electric Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are bona-fide sellers. But those two cars make up some 70% of the U.S. EV market. Leading the rest of the list to be painted with the compliance car brush. Here's where it gets tricky. Plug in hybrids. They use both emitting gas and zero emissions electricity. They can run some, all or virtually none of their [UNKNOWN] Zero emissions, depending on how the owner uses the car, not depending on the technology the automaker built in. So it's not in the carmakers control. Now recently those automakers in California have gone to the state and said, hey, give us a much bigger credit toward zero emissions when we sell a plug-in hybrid because they're using studies now that show Frequently when plug in hybrids are used in the real world, they are in a zero emissions state that is closer to that of pure EVs and Fuel Cells. [MUSIC] In a moment, where are the dash cams? And my top five luxury car tech options when CNET on Cars continues. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [NOISE] From 2005 to 2015, just 450 of these were built and over that decade it became a household name, the most famous car on the planet. And right now [UNKNOWN] the fact to make. My God. So fast. Find more from the XCAR team of cnet UK at cnet.com/xcar Welcome back to CNET on Cars, I'm Brian Cooley. Part of the show we take one of your emails, and this one comes in from Julius in Massachusetts, who writes, "I was wondering why car manufacturers don't offer dash cams on their models." He means factory built-in. "There are so many cameras on new cars nowadays, and since some cars have hard drives built-in, why not use them?" He He says, together to help see who's at fault or to remotely view your vehicle from a smartphone. Well, Julius, a couple of things I believe are going on here. First of all, once you leave the US, there's a huge appetite for dash cams. Strangely, in the US we're not that into them. Once you kind of get away from people like us, who watch this show. Who are really into internet, smart phone connectivity, and car technology. There's not that much awareness of dash cams. At least in the U.S. market right now. So if you're out there looking at the marketplace that the automaker wants to develop for. They're probably going to put their R and D dollars a lot of other places before they start developing a lot of built in dash cams. Another aspect here is a legal one. If they put in cameras in cars that connect to storage, hard drives like you mentioned, and internet connectivity, they've suddenly made a very elaborate surveillance system that you might then point at someone who has an expectation of privacy out there in the world. And now you've got a problem with a car maker. Might be brought in to some kind of a lawsuit for invasion of that privacy. Now there are a ton of dash cams out there, at very low prices. It's another reason why car makers probably don't see a great market here. How do you compete with a pretty good hundred dollar clip on dash cam you can stick on your windshield? And the markets littered with those. By the way, we did a piece on dash cams back in August of 2014. I'll put the link to that in our show notes for this episode, over at CNETonCars.com. Now, one car that we've driven that has a factory cam of sorts, kinda like what you're looking for, is the '15 and newer Corvettes. They have a track cam option. Again, it's oriented for track use, not for security or collision evidence use, but it gives you a beautiful view of what the driver sees going forward and overlays great Driving telemetry on top of that image. My colleague, Tim Stevens, did a nice look at that. I'll also put a link in our show notes. Now since we spent some time cosseted in that Mercedes Maybach S600 earlier in this episode, I thought it'd be a good time to run down a list of some of the most over-the-top luxury technology options out there in the auto biz right Now get your checkbook out, here's my top five list of luxury tech. These are my top five technologies that I think really set serious luxury cars apart Somewhat the rest of us drive. Number five is Big Name Audio, now I put this down in five because high end audio is popping up all over a different carts with Meridian, Beats, Fender, B&O, Naim and others getting into the cabin. But the really expensive audio rigs that had five to even $10,000 to a cart price that still top shelf. Ironically most buyers who can afford such cars are at an age where they can't even hear a high pitched doorbell, but those speaker grills are sure impressive. Number four, a V12 engine. The trend these days is to get more power from fewer cylinders, all the way down to three. Even Ford's new super car only has six. So, what are some of these luxo-barges doing with 12? Because that says, I make more money than you do. Oh, and it also has a certain, innate smoothness. Number three is night vision tech. Now, head-up displays are moving to the mainstream, but these James Bondian night vision screens Still remain in your financial planner's dashboard not in the one in the Mitsubishi he said you can afford. Number two lounge rear seats still the very emblem of class warfare because they're all about luxury and repose While not even driving your own car! And they'll always remain in this vaunted position because you can't install em in a car that isn't already huge. Before I get you to number one, here's a luxury car option that isn't even in the car. When rich folks have bought the most high end car they could find, they've then raised the stakes further with where you keep it. I hate it when I envy a car's bedroom. Number one is of course the fridge. The backseat cooler. It takes the cake because it's just as sybaritic as those lounge seats, but even less necessary. I mean c'mon. There's a 7-11 full of cold drinks every three blocks. Across this country you'll make it. But you probably don't want to emerge from behind your privacy screen. Huh I should of added those to the list. [MUSIC] Thanks for watching. Hope you enjoyed this episode, tell a friend who doesn't know about us. Send them right over to CNETonCars.com. That will be your good deed for the day. I'll see you next time we check the deck. [MUSIC]