11 years ago Mercedes introduced the Ambient Lightning feature in its COMMAND infotainment system which enabled the driver to choose between a few colors and intensities. The lightning diodes were used to highlight specific parts of the dashboard and make the cabin a more pleasant place to spend time.
Since then, Mercedes started offering ambient lightning in pretty much every newer Mercedes model. And the current stage of the ambient lightning technology has debuted in the 2022 Mercedes S-class. Now the ambient lighting is much more than just a dim light source underneath the dashboard gaps.
Modern-day ambient lightning technology consists out of hundreds of different colors and intensities that can be mixed and matched to the driver’s liking. Mercedes is also keen to expand the functionality of the ambient light system as years go on.
Ambient lighting package
Nowadays Mercedes includes the 64-color LED ambient lighting feature as standard on every newer model. This system is made out of many small LED light diodes situated throughout the car, front and back that encapsulate the occupants in a comfortably lit environment.
Mercedes and many customers say that these features offer a greater sense of luxury and calmness, but some deem these lights as distracting and way too blingy. It’s safe to say that these are not up to everyone’s taste, but it is certainly striking when the entire interior is lit like a 2000s techno-pop nightclub.
Mercedes is keen on further developing the system in an effort of making the system more capable of different functionalities as many still do believe that this system is just a gimmick. Ambient lightning functionality has become one of the greatest car-trends of these days, and manufacturers are racing to offer the best system yet.
W223 Mercedes S-Class Ambient Lighting technology
The next step in the ambient lighting technology world might just be the system offered in the newest Mercedes S-class. This system has increased the number of diodes from 247 to 263, and all of the diodes are now brighter, more configurable, and offer a bunch of additional functionality.
This system is called Active Ambient lightning, and it serves as an additional option on the new S-class. This system is now integrated with the driver’s assistance systems, which means that the ambient lightning now serves as a safety feature as well because it can reinforce visual alerts and signals.
Furthermore, this system is also able to work with the climate control systems, so whenever you change the temperature, the light starts blinking red if you opt for a warmer temperature, or blue if you opt for a colder temperature.
This system is also able to work with the ‘’Hey Mercedes’’ audio assistant as the lights will flash when voice input is expected. This system now also takes advantage of the Mercedes ENERGIZED COMFORT feature that combines the AC, Ambient lightning, seats heating/ventilating, and many other systems to create a specific mood in the interior.
Ambient lightning safety issues and aftermarket ambient lighting packages
As mentioned previously, some people think that the Ambient lightning feature is just a gimmick, and not only that, the system in itself also poses a serious safety concern as it can distract and isolate the driver from the outside environment.
There are no specific data on ambient lightning being a safety issue, most of the reports about the effects of ambient lightning are positive and most of them are also fond of the system, as it does provide more comfort and stress negating properties.
Many aftermarket companies are offering ambient lightning for a fairly attainable price, but none of these are actually integrated into the car’s infotainment systems. Furthermore, most of them don’t offer any additional functionality besides the lightning itself.
This might make some sense if your car does not come with ambient lighting, but it is safe to say that these systems are not as reliable as the ones offered in current premium German car brands.
Does every car manufacturer offer ambient lighting?
Most of the premium segment offers ambient lightning, some brands like BMW also offer further safety functionalities such as door blinking ambient lightning to alert oncoming cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians that the door is opened.
Many of the more affordable car brands are also starting to offer ambient lighting, and it is expected that almost all newer vehicles are going to offer ambient lighting soon. It seems as consumers predominantly like the feature, which means that ambient lighting might come as standard on many new vehicles to come.
Are there any more advanced ambient lighting systems currently available?
Some car manufacturers like Rolls Royce take the ambient lighting features a whole step further. Rolls Royce offers a feature called Starlight Headliner which consists out of a large number of specifically placed light-emitting diodes that look like a star-filled sky.
These systems can be optioned to match the star constellations on the day you were born or any other day for that matter. Furthermore, these systems also offer a feature called ‘’shooting star’’ which basically means that the system will imitate a shooting star effect now and then to make the interior that bit more luxurious.
How advanced are the light systems in modern-day cars?
Many modern-day car trends are surrounding the light systems. One of which is the ambient lighting systems, many cars these days also come with advanced dancing lightbars and advanced lighting functionalities and features.
Some brands like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes also offer Laser lights that are a lot more powerful compared to regular LED lights. These lights can light up the road to 600m and they only function at higher speeds and if the light pollution is low enough.
Furthermore, modern-day light systems are also able to project specific light fixtures on the road surface that enable you to see specific road signs, road lines, and much more.
They are also able to blank out a part of the beam to not dazzle the oncoming drivers or highlight pedestrians or animals on the side of the road. These systems are incredibly advanced, moreover, they are also really expensive to replace if you end up breaking them.