Let’s talk about cars for a second.
If you’re driving a car manufactured in the past five years, it’s likely it has anti-lock brakes. A standard feature at this point in time, but who came up with it first?
Mercedes-Benz first introduced it on the S-Class line back in 1978. It was a revolutionary technology and the first hint of how digital electronics would change the course of the automotive industry.
The S-Class pioneered many other safety innovations: crash crumple zones, air bags and traction control are a few of the most notable. This line has also become synonymous with comfort and luxury: it was the first Mercedes to be available with an automatic transmission. There’s even an armored version with a customized crocodile, gold and birch interior!
It’s clear this car is in a class by itself: “Sonderklasse”
“S-Class” is an anglicisation of “”S-Klasse,” a German abbreviation of “Sonderklasse,” which means “special class” (in the sense of “a class of its own”). In automotive terms thus refers to “a specially outfitted car”.
The current S600 model sports a 5.5L twin turbo V12 motor with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Enough power to propel a 4,950 lb vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. And that’s before AMG gets their hands on it. Impressive automotive technology, to be sure.
More importantly, these special cars have been recognized as a driving force behind the company’s success.
Another premium technology brand has an S-Class product: iPhone 5s.
Look at the words that dominate the iPhone 5s features page: Forward thinking. That’s a strategy that’s worked superbly at Mercedes-Benz for almost 60 years. I suspect Apple will get a pretty good run out of it, too.