We all aspire to bigger and better things. If you’ve ever been on the long drive to work and watched an executive being wafted along in their luxurious limousine, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little jealous. After all, what makes someone important enough to deserve a (presumably paid-for) car of such comfort and opulence?
You may never be able to – or want to – afford the big limo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the same technology and creature comforts, whatever your current car is.
The Mercedes S-Class is arguably the most technologically advanced limousine on the market – so if there’s any benchmark to try and reach, this is it. Of course, it comes with the usual array of infotainment screens, rear-seat entertainment packages and lots of leather – but it’s the heated, cooled and massaged seats that’ll make a big difference on a long journey, as will the air suspension.
So what are the best ways to get S-Class-style technology in your regular old motor? You might be surprised how much of it you can get.
Parrot Asteroid tablet – £204.00
The obvious solution for infotainment is to mount your tablet computer to your dashboard and use one of the apps available on the various app stores to handle navigation and audio/video functions.
We, however, aren’t convinced by any of the apps available so we think you’d be better off plumping for the Parrot Asteroid tablet. This has been designed specifically for use in the car and gets big easy-to-prod icons, sat-nav functionality and it can handle music, voice control, hands-free calling.
Universal headrest tablet holder x2 – £11.98
An important consideration for a long journey for the parent or chauffeur is how to keep the demanding audience in the back seats occupied – be they child or CEO. You can be sure that whatever they want to watch, it won’t be what you put on for them – so it’s definitely best to let them pick their own.
We’d recommend fitting a pair of universal tablet computer mounts so they can play their own music, games of movies. The S-Class package costs thousands of pounds – this can be done for less than £20 (tablet not included). Just remember to clear your browsing history before driving away on holiday – that week in Cornwall could really drag if the kids see what you’ve been looking at…
Garmin HUD+ – £159.95
A feature that’s set to become more common on cars is a head-up display (HUD). A HUD projects speed, navigation and other information onto the windscreen meaning you never need to take your eyes off the road.
There are a number of systems that’ll let you retrofit a HUD to your car – most involving your smartphone placed under your windscreen. This isn’t a very permanent (or secure) solution, but we think the Garmin HUD+ could serve as a good replacement. It features navigation instructions, speed monitoring and bluetooth connectivity.
Chances are your car can already play music – so what? The S-Class can be specified with up to 24 speakers and many thousands of watts of power giving a sound system more powerful and higher quality than those in many people’s homes. The good news is there are many kits that let you upgrade your car stereo to get the most from your music.
Firstly, like Meghan Trainor, good sound is all about that bass (well, it’s a good place to start), and we’ve found this 400W subwoofer and amplifier package that plugs into your stereo and will really expand your music – just don’t set it to 11 and play hip-hop on your local high street at 3am. Match with these Alpine speaker upgrades and your sound system will be legitimately ‘bangin’. Apparently.
AEG Heated seat massager – £29.43
The S-Class’s cabin is so inviting because once you’ve sat in its heated, air-conditioned and massaged seats, you won’t want to get out. Chances are, though, the seats in your car just have a cloth covering and aren’t very inviting on a cold morning. So we’d suggest buying a set of these AEG heated and massaging seat covers.
They come in a “luxurious leather effect” finish which, while it may be a bit short of Mercedes Designo leather, is certain to add a touch of class to your car – a very small touch. Just close your eyes every time you hop in the car though – they’re not the most attractive things.
D2 Air suspension package – £1,599-£1,999
The reason the S-Class rides so well is down to its air suspension. Instead of standard metal springs, the car rides on sealed bags of air. These are more able to absorb impacts from the roads and isolate them before they reach the cabin and its occupants.
Chances are, the springs on your car are the bog-standard units that it came with and, while they might save you from crunching into a pothole, they won’t save you from a trip to the chiropractors. Step in D2 Air Suspension, who’ll make a full air suspension kit for your vehicle. This gives you infinite adjustability in terms of ride height – but set it to comfort, and enjoy the feeling of driving on air.
Osram interior lighting kit – £134.95
It’s a small feature, but the soft blue lighting in the S-Class’ cabin does a huge amount to make it feel special. Lighting lifts the (often black and drab) interiors of cars and makes them seem like much more inviting places to be.
This kit from lighting specialists Osram features a number of spotlights and lighting strips that you can place around your cabin. It comes with a choice of seven different colours and four dimming settings. All lights are rechargeable via USB saving you the hassle of running wires all over your car.
Yankee Candle air freshener – £4.99 for three
The S-Class has a complicated system that sporadically squirts small doses of fragrance into the car. After all, executives who’ve spent the whole day smelling cheap coffee and sweaty coworkers should enjoy a little lavender or cherry blossom moment before coming home.
For once, the S-Class is behind the times – car air fresheners have been around for a while. Karl Benz is even thought to have received a Magic Tree as a gift the christmas after he invented the car!* So there’s no better way to make your motor smell sophisticated than with one of these Yankee Candle air fresheners. Sometimes simpler is better.
Or you could just get a nicer car…
Head over to our homepage and take a look at how much you could save on your next new car. Or, for a new car that’s got lots of S-Class tech on a budget take a look at our review of the Skoda Superb. It really does make you feel like a well-to-do executive, but without all the cost.
* this is not an actual fact