Mercedes Meets Atmos

Serious question: Why do dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows? That question has haunted philosophers for centuries and unfortunately I don't have an answer either. But someway, somehow, it is part of the same mystery of why humans really like to listen to music while driving.

Without question, driving is fun. No, not your gear-grinding, soul-sucking commute to the office. I mean real driving – along twisty hills and dales at a slightly unsafe speed. That is real fun. Also, listening to music is loads of fun. Unsurprisingly, the combination of driving and music is simply intoxicating. When I edit this before posting, I'll find a more appropriate descriptor. In any case, much like gin and tonic, they just go together. This really needs to be edited. Seriously, drinking and driving do not mix.

Which brings us to the ecstasy of high-end car audio. If you've never driven a car with a really good sound system, you are really missing something. If the sound quality of the system is really high-end, and the build quality of the car is equally good, the result can rival the best high-end home systems. I am not kidding.

So when Dolby and Daimler announced that Atmos will be coming to Mercedes Benz vehicles, I was instantly jazzed. Yes, some of the Burmester systems in some Benz vehicles, particularly the S-Class sedans, have ranked among the best mobile sound systems I have auditioned. On the other hand, many of the non-Burmester systems in Benz vehicles have not lived up to the high bar set by the marque.

In any case, with Atmos aboard, there is a chance for some serious sound playback. All Mercedes models outfitted with the new MBUX interface will get Atmos when also equipped with an optional Burmester sound system. Among other perks, Atmos will add its trademark vertical enhancement. The Burmester systems are already tricked out; for example, the 4D system in the S-Class sports 31 speakers (including six speakers positioned overhead), an 18.5-liter subwoofer enclosure, and 1,750 watts of total power.

Atmos should make its first appearance this summer (2022) on the Mercedes Maybach followed by the S-Class. Subsequently, the technology will trickle down to other models. This video is thin on technical details, or any details at all for that matter, but it does tease what's coming.

Honestly, I've never had the pleasure of owning a Mercedes Benz. Lots of Porsches and BMWs, but never a Benz. With Atmos, I'll take a second look, and listen, and it might even persuade me to jump Germanic ships. The joy I get from a good mobile sound system is that important to me. It's the same as when a dog sticks its head out of the window.