Car seats, like the vehicles themselves, are available in a variety of materials with a wide range of manual and electronic controls. My old 1977 Dodge Aspen, for example, had a front-row bench that moved as one, like a faux-brocade couch on rails. It had no ventilation, no heating and definitely no massage functions. Car seats have come a long way since then.
He First production car with optional heated seats. It was the 1966 Cadillac DeVille, and decades later massage seats appeared in the 2000 Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac models. Bentley, however, has taken the spa-like cabin to the next level with its “available”airplane seat specification” configuration; The British brand says the specification of its super-luxury airline seats is a world first.
This $11,000 option on the extended wheelbase (EWB) version of the Bentayga includes not only heat, but also cooling, massage, recline, and small tray tables that fold out like those on a commercial airline. The seats in this SUV even have sensors that predict that you’re about to start sweating before you even realize it and adjust the temperature preemptively.
This is how they work.
First class seats
When travelers on an airplane upgrade to business class or first class, they gain a significant amount of legroom and room around their seat. Bentley decided to call this Bentayga EWB configuration “airline seat specification” to convey the message that this is a spacious, first-class experience. As soon as you sit down, the large number of positioning options is dizzying: the rear seats can be adjusted in 22 positions, not including the rear footrest behind the front passenger seat.
Steve James, Bentley’s head of interior design, has been developing seating for the luxury brand since 2006. His first task when he joined Bentley was to come up with the initial concept for the seats for Bentley’s then-new flagship model, the Mulsanne. . While the super luxurious Mulsanne model included heated, cooled and massaging seats, the Bentayga EWB says “hold my Dom Perignon” and turns it up even further to prevent fatigue, not just treat it.
“High-end cars focus quite a bit on fatigue recovery; If you get tired in the car, the massage function is designed to help you after the fact,” says James. “But we think the true luxury experience is doing something to stop the fatigue in the first place. “We saw an opportunity with the Bentayga EWB because we have more space to work with.”
Science, research and “perfect posture”
James explains that Bentley focused on two key metrics during the development of the first class seats: posture and thermal response. Bentley collaborated with an American chiropractor and Global movement comfort (CMG), a company that partners with research universities to test its proprietary technologies. Through research he discovered that make small adjustments to the angles of your legs and back Tilting a vehicle seat (just one or two degrees) results in a positive increase in blood flow, increasing alertness and reducing fatigue.
Bentley seats are equipped with 12 electric motors and three engine control units with pneumatic valves. Unique algorithms developed in conjunction with CMG apply 177 individual pressure changes, shifting stress points from one area to another to stop the onset of fatigue. And the Bentayga’s leg rest feature is positioned at a particular angle to create what James calls “perfect posture” that slightly bends your legs for maximum comfort and blood flow.
“As you may have experienced if you are on a plane or sitting still for a long period of time, fatigue sets in,” says James. “The postural system is a system of pneumatic bladders inside the seat and they make small micro-adjustments that fine-tune the angles of the pelvis and thighs, and help movement occur constantly. Small movements that give the client the option to regulate them. “They really make a difference.”
Another important element of Bentley’s high-end seats is what it calls “thermal comfort.” (There is a default calibration, but it can be adjusted based on the passenger’s average temperature preference.)
Bentley incorporated two sensors into the seats, each of which constantly measured the humidity and temperature levels of the bottom and back of the seats. With that data, the car can automatically activate its seat climate system for heating or ventilation to maintain the passenger’s individual comfort level. James says the system detects temperature variations of 0.1 degrees and records trends up and down, and the human brain doesn’t realize before the delta is 0.5. Thus, constant control of the seats prevents perspiration even before it occurs.
While the concept began to take shape in 2015, the brand didn’t create a working prototype until 2019, after years of data collection and validation. The team had to do quite a bit of calibration on the thermal comfort side, as different passengers feel comfort at very different temperatures depending on a number of factors. And it turned out that one of the engineers became a real-time case study; He became ill during development and began to feel hot and sweaty. As designed, the system measured that and calculated the delta in its calibration preferences.
“The really clever thing about the system is that it can detect even a tenth of a degree Celsius at any time,” says James. “It can measure how you feel and the trend of your temperature. So if you start to feel a little hot or sweat a little, we can see it before you feel it.”
In a conventional car with heated seats, you may find that turning them on full power feels wonderful in cold temperatures until you start to overheat. At this point, the seats retain residual heat that is uncomfortable until it cools down. Bentley seats are designed to strike an ideal balance between hot and cold so you feel consistently satisfied.