The Evolution of the Driver’s Seat

Sean C. RiceCar and Driver

From the September 2022 difficulty of Motor vehicle and Driver.

We have driven a auto even though sitting on a milk crate, but that will not suggest we like it, particularly when contemporary driver’s seats supply luxuries these as heating and ventilation, lively help in corners, and a lot larger crash defense than the crate. Mercedes-Benz has a very long heritage of comfort and ease, as even the Benz Patent-Motorwagen had a bench perfectly cushioned ample for Bertha Benz to make a 65-mile street vacation in 1888. It was roomy, too—her two teenage boys went with.

Contemplating that the Patent-Motorwagen marked the delivery of the contemporary automobile, Mercedes can lay declare to having the 1st automotive seat. Inventing the car is all well and superior, but the German manufacturer was one particular of the to start with to put massaging elements within auto seats (the S-class in 2000). Now that’s brilliance. Also fantastic: bun warming through in-seat heaters, a element Cadillac 1st provided in the 1966 DeVille. It was Saab that experienced the cool notion of ventilated seats in 1997.

1979 mercedes benz 450sel


1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL

The formal begin of the S-class arrived in 1972 with the W116 line, which emphasized the two luxurious and safety. Back in 1979, driving off in a new 450SEL would depart your lender equilibrium $31,000 lighter (about $124,800 in modern dollars). Collector charges are going up, but you can even now park oneself in a seat like this for all over $20,000.

1979 450SEL Seat

Length: 24.1 in
38.3 in
28.5 in
65 lb
Blue pleated leather-based, metal body, horsehair inside, headrest, armrest
$300–$500 on eBay

2022 mercedes benz s500


2022 Mercedes-Benz S500

The recent W223 S-course continues to emphasize safety while featuring a comfy journey. These times even the most deluxe machines purpose to have a sporty facet, and the S500’s supercharged and turbocharged six sends it to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. All of that rapidly course costs a bit much more today—try $127,330 to get into this tech-packed seat.

2022 S500 4Matic Seat

Length: 23.3 in
39.5 in
20.9 in
80 lb
Diamond-pleated nappa leather-based above foam and air bladders, aspect airbag, up to 19 motors, pyrotechnic pretensioner, 4-way lumbar guidance, headrest with cushion, seat memory, heating factor, 6 followers, 10 massage features, optional speaker and fireplace extinguisher

Have a Seat

We in comparison a 2022 S500 driver’s seat with the 1 in a 1979 450SEL, element of the very first Benz era to be called the S-class. Higher-close leather-based and thickly padded comfort and ease are popular to equally. But the new seat’s deep-scooped form and air-crammed lateral assist suggest this S500 can hold the driver at .92 g, a selection the common automobile could only aspiration of. The present day seat also demonstrates crash-protection developments, this kind of as pretensioning seatbelts and airbags.