Despite its length of time on the market--almost seven years--the current Mercedes S-Class doesn't lack for the latest infotainment features. In fact, it's still adding them as it nears the end of its life cycle.
All S-Class cars sold in the U.S. come with a raft of standard features including leather upholstery; dual power front seats; power locks, windows, and mirrors; a sunroof; a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; an AM/FM/CD/HD/XM audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and an SD card slot. A navigaiton system is standard, too, and it's hosted on a hard drive with 4GB of space reserved for music, and overlays Zagat travel information with its maps.
Most versions, from the S550 on up, have even plusher accoutrements, including ventilated and heated front seats; a wood and leather steering wheel; ambient lighting; and a power trunk lid.
The main driver of the S-Class' infotainment system is COMAND, which uses a knob controller or voice commands or steering-wheel controls to run phone, audio, navigation, climate, and other ancillary features. It displays on the center stack's LCD screen, and also on a smaller LCD pane on the gauges, where an available Night Vision system also shows obstacles detected in the dark. New this year is a SPLITVIEW screen that layers images on the center display, so that drivers can observe navigation, for example--while passengers see a movie or audio information, simply by virtue of the viewing angle.
One complaint of the COMAND system is that some features—such as those for the multi-contour seats—are accessible only through the interface, and don't have more easily controlled buttons of their own. That interface, despite being significantly improved, is still a weak point compared to the latest systems from Audi and Lincoln (as well as the much-improved BMW iDrive).
Optional on the S400 Hybrid, S550, and S63 AMG are a rear-seat entertainment system; four-zone automatic climate control; and multicontour rear seats. All those features are standard on the S600 and S65 AMG.
Other features offered on various models include a heated steering wheel; a panoramic sunroof; and a power rear sunshade.