My newly-purchased 2017 Mercedes Vito is packed with technology and recently I drove her the 15 km from Amalfi to my garage and I then returned to Amalfi in my cherished Audi S4. The S4 is 2005 vintage and the S4 was a very expensive car new (more than 50k UKP), top of the range, packed with extras. And I learned today that the S4 has 31 ECUs!!!!
So what did I discover driving the van and the car “back to back”. Well, loads really. I was staggered at the way that technology has made such massive strides over these 12 years considering too that the Audi was a top of the range luxury fast car whereas the Vito is a commercial van with extras:
- Sensors and intelligence. The Vito has some smart sensors which alert me through the steering wheel if I change lanes. PLUS a red light on the dashboard tells me if I am too close to the vehicle in front. PLUS a red triangular light in each external mirror to warn me if these is a vehicle in my blindspot. Fantastic.
- Gearchange. The Vito has the auto lever on a stalk next to the wheel so no longer down at the bottom of the dash, mine also also has paddles on the steering wheel so I can change manually if I want to. The S4 also has these paddles. BUT the Vito is 7 speed and super smooth (my old Vito van was 5 speed) and the Audi has 6. All 3 are ZF boxes as far as I know.
- The stereo on my Vito is a non OEM Alpine unit which includes SatNav, CD, DVD, DAB and Bluetooth and the 2 door speakers are fantastic. The stereo on the Audi is also excellent and has Bluetooth but the Satnav is a very early version and so rather slow.
So???? You may ask.
The semi-new van has far more technology than a car which only 12 years previously was top of the range. AMAZING. Really. And I am sure that I will discover more as I get to know the van. For instance I just discovered that the van has pressure sensors in the tyres which relate the tyre pressure to the driver on the dashboard, wow. SURELY more will come as I discover more features. Ps during a service on my Audi S4 the guys told me that she has 31 ECUs!!!