by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Mercedes-Benz TecDay "S-Class Ambience: The Essence of Luxury" (II)

VII. Climate control: Many new features for a pleasant atmosphere

During the systematic further development of the entire climatic system, a particular focus was placed on the development goals of performance, air quality, precise regulation, noise level and efficiency. As a new feature, the AIR-BALANCE package comprises perfume atomisation, ionisation and even more efficient filtration compared to the standard model. The THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control in the rear has two additional zones to improve thermal comfort. Electric heating of the armrests, is a completely new feature.

The newly developed climate control unit of the THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control included as standard has a mass flow regulating concept whose automatic operating principle meets individual comfort requirements for every occupant. New features include completely autonomous adjustment options for the driver and front passenger sides with respect to temperature level, air distribution and air volume, for the front footwell temperature with a warmer or cooler tendency and also for the individual automatic modes with their climatic settings of "Focus", "Medium" and "Diffuse". The profiles, which differ in air volume and air distribution, can be conveniently set via the COMAND Online system.

The AIR-BALANCE package: perfuming, ionisation and improved filtration

As a world first, the new S-Class Saloon has an "active perfuming system" as part of the AIR-BALANCE package. 'Active' means that the perfuming system is switched on and off manually, with manual adjustment of the intensity. The perfuming system has various operating modes:

- On/Off

- Intensity control "low – medium – high"

- Perfume selection by exchanging the flask in the fragrance generator

A high-quality fragrance introduced into an already luxurious interior like a perfume enhances the sensual impression of the Mercedes-Benz interior by appealing to the sense of smell. In all advanced cultures, high-quality fragrances are part of the repertoire of sensual pleasure and individuality. Perfuming individualises the smell of the interior. The interior smell is not changed permanently, nor are the perfume molecules deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing. The fragrance is discreet and mild, and dissipates rapidly. Four interior fragrances (FREESIDE MOOD, NIGHTLIFE MOOD, DOWNTOWN MOOD, SPORTS MOOD) are available in attractively designed flasks. The fragrances were developed in collaboration with the perfume specialist Marc vom Ende (see "Under the microscope").

The perfuming system consists of two parts: a glass flask with an atomiser head and the fragrance generator in the glove compartment. The system uses the effect whereby there is a constant exchange of matter on the surface of a solution. In the process, molecules enter the gaseous phase (volatilisation) while other molecules are returned to the liquid. If a partial airflow is passed over the surface of the liquid, the air can be enriched with the molecules of the chosen fragrance. The perfumed air is then passed directly into the vehicle interior via a separate aperture. A bypass system allows the flow rate per unit of time to be variably adjusted. This active perfuming system is a further development of the fragrance ball familiar from the MAYBACH ZEPPELIN.

Air filtering: fresh air for a fresh interior

Another component of the AIR-BALANCE package is filtering of the outside air fed into the vehicle interior by the climate control system, and of the air recirculating in the interior in air recirculation mode. The filter system is now even more efficient, and is able to reduce the peak levels of certain gaseous emissions while lowering their concentration below the perception threshold. The filter system consists of two combined fine dust/activated charcoal filters between the intake and air distribution system of the air conditioner.

Activated charcoal is used as the filter material for the interior by virtue of its good ability to absorb gaseous pollutants and odours. It is produced from coconut shells. The sophisticated pollen filter technology in the fine dust filter component is particularly useful for allergy sufferers. At Mercedes-Benz these filters are examined for effectiveness in both new and used condition, to ensure that their filtering efficiency is maintained at least until the next vehicle service.

Ionisation is another component of the AIR-BALANCE package, the air from the climate control unit being conducted into the interior via an ioniser. In a combined operating mode this renders certain viruses, bacteria and spores inactive (cleaning effect). At the same time the air can be freshened by an increased concentration of negatively charged oxygen ions (relaxing effect).

Warmth Comfort package: heated armrests and seat heating Plus

The new S-Class Saloon is available with the optional Warmth Comfort package for all engine variants. This includes:

- heated front armrests (door and centre armrests)

- fast-action seat heating Plus for driver and front passenger

- heated steering wheel

- heated rear armrests (door and centre armrests)

- Seat heating Plus in the rear

The innovation in this package is the armrests, whose surfaces can be heated by heating elements on the same principle as seat heating. Originally conceived for the energy-efficient heating of electric cars, this panel heating in the S-Class makes for a particularly cosy environment. The armrest heating is switched on and off using the seat heating switch in the door panel, and can be deactivated via COMAND Online. The heating output of seat heating Plus can reach up to 2000 watts per sq. m., and can already be felt in the sensitive lumbar area after ten seconds.

Climate control: multiple adjustments, high efficiency

The new climate control system in the new S-Class combines energy efficiency with comfortable temperatures on every seat, and sets new standards in terms of the adaptability of automatic operation to the individual wishes of the occupants.

The new automatic climate control is operated via:

- the newly developed control panel below the centre vent

- the climate menu in COMAND Online

- the rear control panel in the rear centre console (if the optional rear climate control is specified).

To improve climatic comfort in the rear even further, a newly developed, water-flow controlled two-zone THERMOTRONIC rear automatic climate control system installed in the centre console is available as an optional extra. The air is taken into the interior of the centre console. The cooled air flows through a water-flow controlled heat exchanger, and is distributed to the separate left/right centre vents, the rear footwells and the vents in the B-pillars. Air distribution to both sides is automatically controlled by four step motors.

The basic functions of the air conditioning, i.e. automatic operation, temperature adjustment, air volume, residual mode, recirculation, defrost and heated rear window can be directly controlled by buttons in the front control panel. Other climatisation functions such the auxiliary heater, perfume atomisation, ionisation and footwell temperature can be accessed via the climate status display in the head unit, where the air distribution and ventilation modes are also accessible.

The air volume and distribution control have been developed further and improved in comparison to the climate control system in the preceding series. This means:

- Automatic modes "Medium" (comparable to the same mode in the previous model), "Diffuse" (for the lowest possible airflow, and not aimed directly at the occupants; most of the air flows into the interior from the defrosting and footwell vents) and "Focus" (a higher volume of air mainly from the ventilation vents)

- Separately adjustable fans for the driver and front passenger

- Front footwell temperature can be individually made warmer or cooler in five stages, and separately for the driver and front passenger.

The heat exchanger in the heating circuit has an output of 9.7 kW at an air volume of 8 kg/min. Diesel models are equipped with a heat exchanger featuring three integrated PTC heating element rows with a selectable six-stage heating output of 1.5 kW. An electronically commutated auxiliary water pump allows residual heat operation when the ignition is switched off. The flat-tube evaporator in the refrigerant circuit has an output of 8.8 kW. In non-hybrid models the refrigerant compressor is variably externally controlled, and incorporated into the belt drive system via a magnetic coupling.

A large number of sensors are used to regulate the automatic climate control, e.g. venting and evaporation sensors, potentiometers in the vent selector wheels, multifunction sensor with moisture measuring cell and a ventilated interior sensor for the interior temperature in the area of the overhead control panel. Solar radiation is registered with the help of two separate solar sensors on the left/right of the interior, a sensor in the cockpit and a sensor on the parcel shelf. GPS navigation data are used to determine the direction of the sun and the altitude above sea level (elevation). In case GPS navigation data are not available, a fallback calculation of the sun's direction is made on the basis of the vehicle-encoded country of delivery, the time of day and the date.The air conditioning control system is then able to respond to a heat build-up caused by direct solar radiation, even when the solar sensors have not yet registered any change in the interior, e.g. if it is wholly or partly shaded by the A/B/C-pillars or roof.

Energy-efficient climate control: economical heating and cooling

Various measures have been incorporated to make the climate control system as energy-efficient as possible.

- Energy-efficient controlwith variable evaporation temperature and misting sensor

- PWM (pulse width modulated) blower control unit

- Internal heat exchanger with efficient cooling circuit

- Externally controlled refrigerant compressor with magnetic coupling (non-hybrid models)and internal oil separator

- Electronically controlled refrigerant compressor which can be operated within the most efficient range, whatever the engine speed

- Maximum heating combustion as efficient auxiliary heating for diesel models

- Green-tinted thermal insulation glass all-round as standard

- Optional extra: thermally and noise-insulated, infrared-reflecting laminated safety glass all-round

- Efficient surface heating as an optional extra

- Thermal insulation of the interior in combination with NVH measures.

As an optional extra, an auxiliary heater with radio remote control is available as part of the climate control system. In this way the interior of the parked vehicle can be heated or ventilated with fresh air, with activation as follows:

- Control panel in the vehicle

- Preset function using COMAND Online and the central control panel. The activation time is calculated automatically as a function of the vehicle's external and internal temperature

- Radio remote control with acknowledgement of successful transmission, also display of the remaining heating or ventilating time.

VIII. Under the microscope: Interview with Marc vom Ende - The fourth dimension of sensuality

Marc vom Ende developed the fragrances for the new perfume atomisation system in the S-Class. The 44 year-old is a senior perfume specialist for the fragrance manufacturer Symrise in Lower Saxony, heads its perfumery school and is a member of the jury for the innovation awards of the German perfumery retailers association. We spoke to him about his creations for Mercedes-Benz.

Mr vom Ende, you have already created world-famous perfumes such as "IcebergHomme" or "Alain Delon". Was it a particular challenge to create fragrances for a vehicle this time, for the new S-Class?
When I apply a body perfume I am expressing my personality and the mood I happen to be in. The requirement is similar for the interior smell of the S-Class: here too we should reflect the character of the individual driving the car, and also the atmosphere of the car itself. It was fundamentally important to me that the fragrances reflect certain personalities and characters. I did not want bland fragrances without a clear profile, but rather distinctive fragrances as an expression of a distinctive personality – in keeping with the ideals of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

How does a perfumery expert tackle this task, how were the perfume compositions for Mercedes-Benz created?
We always work with images that inspire us, and which we try to recreate with fragrances. As perfumers we know the entire range of available raw materials, and experience tells us which combinations lead to what results, creating certain harmonies. We gradually approach this ideal image.

When I started the development work I paid a visit to the interior designers in Sindelfingen. We had a very interesting exchange of views which caused me to deviate from the approach I had envisaged. Originally I wanted to work with the smell of leather, but then realised that the car itself smells of leather, and that my fragrances must go hand in hand with this. A visit to the research workshops allowed me to see the brand from a completely different point of view, and gave me new ideas for suitable fragrances. The presentation of the F800, for example, inspired me to create the perfume DOWNTOWN MOOD. The car is so delicate in structure, so light and airy, and I went home with the idea of this perfume in my mind.

So when creating the perfumes you took your inspiration from the interior of the S‑Class?
Yes, I already got to know the S-Class during an early development phase. But far more important to me was the brand itself and the working approach of the designers. I was very impressed with the care taken when selecting the individual materials and colour combinations. This gave me a new stimulus and point of view for my own assignment.

Have you had an opportunity to experience the perfume atomiser in the new S‑Class 'live'?
Yes, I was able to test the perfume atomiser in an S-Class, and during the creative work I also had a portable atomiser available. Being able to test the perfume atomiser was extremely important to ensure that the intensity of the fragrance is at the right level. We initially work with strips of paper, but the result produced by the technology used in the S-Class is different. In this case the perfume reveals its entire sensuality.

Could you briefly characterise the four S-Class fragrances – FREESIDE MOOD, DOWNTOWN MOOD, SPORTS MOOD and NIGHTLIFE MOOD?
Lightness predominates in FREESIDE MOOD, with pleasant, high-quality citrus touches. The fragrance is very balanced without excessive nuances, and therefore does not polarise opinion. It is unobtrusive yet present. DOWNTOWN MOOD outstandingly suits the interior, and has a floweriness with a subdued metallic effect. Warm, musky nuances make the fragrance sexy, and thanks to a touch of powdery sensuousness, it is the most feminine of all the perfumes. After a while the fragrance has a very atmospheric effect on the interior, without really being prominent. During the test drives I absolutely fell in love with this fragrance. SPORTS MOOD enlivens with a pleasant, natural freshness reminiscent of young light-green leaves, rounded off with slightly flowery nuances. And right from the start, NIGHTLIFE MOOD reminds one of opening a box of expensive cigars bedded in an aroma of warm, luxurious wood. A touch of ambergris accentuates the high quality of this fragrance. I associate NIGHTLIFE MOOD with the image of a heavy leather armchair in front of the fire in a room panelled with exotic wood, a glass of brandy on the side table (lending a fruity touch) and a cigar.

IX. Under the microscope: actuators make the S-Class more comfortable - More than 100 little helpers

The new S-Class features highly sophisticated, automatic climate control functions. The seats likewise lay claim to being the benchmark in automobile engineering. In both cases this is accompanied by maximum operating convenience, ensured by numerous actuators and electric motors – there are over 100 of these in the interior alone.

In the fan filter tract of the air conditioning unit the air is taken in by a blower consisting of a twin-shaft motor and two impellers. The temperatures in the four air mixing chambers are regulated to the desired vent temperatures by the use of mechanically coupled cooling and warming flaps. A total of 14 step motors control the flaps of the mixing zones and air vents, and three step motors (four if the optional THERMOTRONIC rear automatic climate control is specified) control the flaps in the air ducts to the side vents and rear centre vent. There is also a step motor in each of the two air deflectors in the rear footwell. Plus there is the rear fan and a fan for the temperature sensor, making a maximum total of 21 motors.

With full specifications, up to nine seat adjustment motors bring each of the front seats and EASY ADJUST luxury head restraints into position. There are also six seat ventilation motors. In the rear there are up to twelve motors for each seat. This means that in an S-Class, 54 actuators take care of occupant seating comfort, while two more move the steering wheel to the desired position. There are also 14 pneumatic massage cells per seat, each of them activated by solenoid valves.

Other motorised helpers:

- Four power window motors

- Five motors controlling exterior mirror adjustment, folding and the parking position for the front passenger mirror

- Five motors for silent closing of the doors and boot lid

- Two motors move the tweeters in the mirror triangles if the Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound system is ordered (incidentally this has 24 speakers)

- A vibrating unit in the steering wheel in conjunction with Active Lane Keeping Assist

- A fan motor for the central display

- Two motors powering the panoramic sliding sunroof and sunblind

- Three motors powering the electric sunblind for the rear window and those in the rear doors

- Two motors for the rear belt feeders, two motors for the reversible belt tensioning in the front

- Two motors for the DVD players.

Credits: Daimler AG

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