A clever combination of sensors and suspension adaptation transforms the Mercedes-Benz S-Class into a “flying carpet”: MAGIC BODY CONTROL.
Mercedes-Benz MAGIC BODY CONTROL | S-Class By Mercedes-Benz
The epic commercial shows a bunch of chickens keeping their heads in the same place while being moved around at the sound of “Upside Down” in its original recording with Diana Ross. You can’t help but laugh at the show. At the very least, it makes people curious about what the Magic Body Control does – if they don’t figure out right away the clever analogy that the German carmaker used.
Birds have a very accurate gaze stabilization system that allows them to keep their heads in the same place despite what their bodies are doing. That way, they do not rely only on their eyes. In other words, the steady head helps the eyes better perform their job. It is a way to be effective when hunting prey or avoiding becoming one. Curiously, the Magic Body Control relied on a similar system to keep the car body steady regardless of the terrain.
The S-Class had a road-sensing system based on stereo cameras. It helped the vehicle anticipate how the terrain was 15 meters (49.2 feet) ahead at speeds up to 130 kph (81 mph). That allowed the suspension to predict the obstacles instead of reacting to them, as cars with regular suspension systems do. The other video embedded below shows how that works.
The idea was pretty well received by Mercedes-Benz customers – at least the ones with no money concerns. The Magic Body Control eventually evolved and received an update called Active Curve Tilting, which leaned the vehicle in up to 2.65 degrees into a turn. That was a way to counter the effect of inertia in curves, keeping passengers more comfortable inside the car. The most recent price for it was $6,500, which made the system an expensive option. But some vehicles offered it as standard equipment.
We cannot say that the chickens used in the commercial below were comfortable with being held and moved around, even with Diana Ross being a blessing to all ears. In 2013, animal protection organizations already had plenty of power, so rest assured that they were not harmed during the shootings.
What is sure is that anybody who watched the short film at the time must remember it until this day. That’s the fate of remarkable commercials: to be remembered even years after the products they were trying to sell are no longer available. The Magic Body Control is now called E-Active Body Control, if we are not mistaken.