Seats: Mobile office and centre of wellbeing

May 15, 2013
With numerous world firsts such as the ENERGIZING massage function based on the hot-stone principle or active seat ventilation with reversing fans, Mercedes-Benz has raised seating and climatic comfort in the S-Class to a new level. The seat developers have paid particular attention to the rear seats. There is a choice of five different rear seat variants including an Executive seat with a backrest angle adjustable by up to 43.5 degrees, allowing occupants in the rear to concentrate on work or relax in comfort.
Intelligent lightweight construction was the watchword during development of the seats. At less than 20 kilograms, the structure of a front seat weighs around 20 percent less than conventional designs. This is in large measure due to the sandwich construction of the side sections on the seat frame, which consist of a two-piece, high-strength steel shell with integrated plastic inserts. This enables the forces from the backrest attachments to be symmetrically introduced into the seat base. There is a further advantage for the seat belt system: unlike with other seat structures, the belt buckle and anchor fitting not only move with any fore-aft adjustment, but also with seat height adjustment. Whatever the size of the seat occupant, this always ensures the best possible belt fit and maximum safety.
The front seats of the new S-Class are electrically adjustable for length, height, inclination and seat cushion depth. The 4-way Power lumbar support and head restraint height can be equally conveniently adjusted at the touch of a button. If the Memory package is specified for the driver and front passenger, the front passenger seat can also be adjusted by the driver if required.
Thanks to wide-ranging adjustments, occupants of very different sizes are seated very comfortably in the new S-Class. The figures:
  • Fore-and-aft adjustment: 290 millimetres
  • Seat height: 65 millimetres
  • Seat cushion depth: 65 millimetres
  • Head restraint height: 60 millimetres
  • Cushion angle: +/- 2.5 degrees
  • Backrest angle: 27 degrees forward
The sophisticated upholstery structure of the front seat backrests includes Pullmaflex springing and a natural fibre/rubberised hair insert lined with cut foam. In the seat cushion, the flat spring core of the cushion base has a contoured foam insert lined with cut foam. In each case the seat cover has a fleece lining.
The front head restraints are adjustable both vertically and horizontally. Optionally available electric horizontal adjustment (EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint) is new in the S-Class, and optimises the distance between the occupant's head and the head restraint to lower the risk of whiplash injuries in an accident.
Numerous innovative features enhance both seating and climatic comfort – an overview of the most important new developments:
The "Seat Comfort package for driver and front passenger" includes a world first in the form of the ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle. In collaboration with physiotherapists and psychologists, the seating experts at Mercedes-Benz have developed a unique massage system with 14 separately actuated air chambers in the backrest and an integrated warming function. There is a choice of six massage programmes, two of which are heat-assisted. In addition the package includes active multicontour seats with further improved dynamic functions, which have been awarded a seal of approval by AGR, an organisation promoting spinal health.
The climatised seats mark yet another debut: for the first time, so-called reversing fans are used in the active seat ventilation system. Here the rotational direction of the fan, and therefore the airflow within the seat structure, can be reversed. When the ventilation function first begins, cooler surrounding air is drawn onto the seat surface. This enables the surface temperature of a heated-up seat to be reduced much faster than with the previous active cooling systems. After four minutes the fans are automatically switched to blower mode to reduce draughts and therefore ensure sustained comfort. Together with the perforated leather, four fans in the seat cushion and two fans in the backrest ensure a uniform relative air humidity where the occupant's body meets the seat. The intensity can be adjusted in three stages according to individual requirements.
In combination with seat heating, each occupant is able to find the ideal climatic seating comfort. Using the head unit, the customer is able to set an optimal heating output for seat cushion and backrest and activate the quick-response seat heating. In the main seat area this provides a heating output of up to 2000 watts per square metre.
The "EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint" adjusts itself automatically when the backrest position of the driver or front passenger seat is changed. This keeps the distance between the head and the restraint constant. On the front passenger side the head restraint can be folded down or removed, allowing the rear passenger an unobstructed view to the front.
If the S-Class is ordered with the "Chauffeur package", the rear seat occupant on the front passenger side has 77 millimetres more maximum kneeroom. This is because the front passenger seat can be moved 40 millimetres further forward, and a further 37 millimetres of space can be obtained thanks to a 4-link system. In addition to this "chauffeur position" the front passenger seat can be folded forwards or placed in an extended-recline position (for details see next section "The rear seats"). The EASY ADJUST luxury head restraint is standard equipment with the "Chauffeur package", as is a heel support for the rear passenger which extends from under the front passenger seat if the long-wheelbase version is ordered.
Luxury and reclining seat on request: the rear seats
Whereas in Europe and North America S-Class owners are frequently behind the wheel themselves, the flagship model in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car portfolio is very definitely a chauffeur-driven vehicle in Asia. The logical consequence is the particular attention devoted to the rear by the seat developers. The rear seats are therefore right in the forefront when it comes to seating/climatic comfort and passive safety.
Two rear seat variants (static bench seat or individual seats with 37-degree adjustment) are available for the short-wheelbase S-Class, and no less than five for the long-wheelbase version - see table on the next page. The adjustment kinematics have been changed in the luxury and reclining seat variants. Unlike the conventional trailing backrest design, the backrest is adjusted separately so that the legroom and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be separately adjusted for angle and horizontal position.
The maximum backrest angle of the Executive seat (reclining seat) on the front passenger side is increased from 37 to 43.5 degrees, giving it the largest backrest inclination in the luxury segment. The reclining seat behind the front passenger seat features a calf support which is freely adjustable for length and angle. In combination with the heel rest on the folding chauffeur seat (see section "Front seats") and an additional comfort cushion, this allows a reclined position that sets new standards in the automobile sector with respect to sleeping and resting comfort.
The individual seat functions in the rear, and those of the chauffeur seat, are operated via the typical Mercedes control panels in the rear doors. The "resting position" key is pressed to bring the front passenger seat and rear seat into the reclining position.
The most upright backrest position of 19 degrees in the luxury and reclining seat variants allows relaxed working in the rear.
The rear seat variants at a glance:
Rear seat variants
Basic version
Long version
Bench seat with 27° backrest angle
Three-seater bench seat with folding centre armrest
Luxury seat with 19 to 37° backrest angle*
Three-seater with individual outer seats and folding centre armrest
Two-seater with Business centre console in the rear (First-Class rear suite)
Executive seat (reclining seat) with 19 to (on the front passenger side) 43.5° backrest angle*
Three-seater with individual outer seats and folding centre armrest, additional cushion for luxury head restraint
Two-seater with Business centre console in the rear (First-Class rear suite), additional cushion for luxury head restraint
*Variably electrically adjustable
The "First-Class rear suite" (centre console in the rear) is a visual continuation of the front console on the transmission tunnel. It is equipped with innovative thermo-cupholders which use Peltier technology to cool or warm drinks over a longer period of time.
Like an aircraft seat, the centre console is available with two tables which can be easily folded in or out using one hand. Two articulated joints on the stem and underside of the table enable it to be adjusted to almost any position. The table supports and surface are of light alloy, combining great stability with a high-quality look. The table surfaces have leather inserts to provide a comfortable writing surface.
The optional "Rear Seat Comfort package" also makes the innovative ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle available for the rear seats. The package also includes active multicontour seats in the rear (without dynamic control function).
Setting the standard for safety in the rear: new features in the S-Class
Mercedes-Benz has extended the safety system for rear seat passengers further with the seat belt buckle extender, the beltbag and the cushionbag. The first two of these developments are included in the "PRE-SAFE® rear package". With the seat belt buckle extender, an electric motor extends and retracts the belt buckle automatically. In this way, any belt slack in the area of the pelvis and thorax can be reduced so that passengers are secured more firmly in both the sideways and the lengthways direction. The seat belt buckle emerges from the upholstery when the rear doors are opened and is provided with an illuminated insertion slot. Making the belt-fastening procedure easier may lead to increased use of rear seat belts.
The beltbag is an inflatable seat belt strap which can lower the risk of injury to rear passengers during a frontal impact by reducing the loads acting on the ribcage. Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit will trigger deployment and inflation of the beltbag. A gas generator then inflates the multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams to nearly three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area is able to better distribute the force acting on the seat occupant, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
The reclining seat is equipped with a cushionbag as standard. This has enabled Mercedes-Benz to design a comfortable reclining seat which provides a higher level of accident safety than a seat with a trailing backrest.
The airbag is located under the seat cushion upholstery, but on top of the plastic seat shell, which is moved by the seat mechanisms. This means that the airbag is always in the same position on the seat shell, and therefore relative to the pelvis position of the occupant. In an accident, with the occupant in a reclined position on a flat seat cushion, there would otherwise be a danger of the pelvic area sliding beneath the seat belt (so-called submarining). This can be prevented by the cushionbag, as it raises the front section of the seat cushion upholstery. The airbag is only activated if the seat is in the reclined position during a crash. It is not activated in the upright position, as there is then no danger of submarining because of the seat cushion angle.