Teen Driving

Texas Mercedes-Benz dealership helps teens learn to navigate risky driving situations

As part of their owner and community outreach program, Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land recently held a teen driving school.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land

The entire car shuddered as the Mercedes-Benz skidded over the large puddle. My head hit the roof of the car, nearly breaking my sunglasses (and yes, I was wearing my seatbelt). My phone went flying. The high-end camera of the journalist sitting next to me flew out of his hands and landed at my feet. Thankfully this didn't happen on the open road, but in a controlled environment created for teen drivers to learn, among other skills, how to regain control of a car when it hydroplanes.

After pulling the car to a stop, driver Winnie Chang, a 17-year-old senior at Clements High School, turned to Kory Enders, an Indy Pro 2000 driver, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, for his advice on how to improve the next time she drove around the skid pad. Meanwhile, the other passengers and I gathered our belongings off the floor of the backseat.

2020 Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land Teen Driving Winnie Chang, 17, learns how to pilot a car through a skid.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land

Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land (MBSL) has been offering a quarterly Teen Driving Safety School at the Motor Speedway Resort (MSR) Houston for the teen children of its customers for about four years now. Prior to December 2019, MBSL had trained about 275 teen drivers. That month, for the first time, MBSL held an additional event for twenty Clements High School students.

Like the others, this event was co-sponsored by MBSL and Enders. Enders' father, Kenneth, owns MBSL, for which Enders is a brand ambassador. Influenced by his father, who wanted to be a professional racecar driver himself, Enders has been part of the racing world since childhood. Enders began club go karting at age six. While a student at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Enders began driving cars at MSR Houston.

Although he now travels the world racing, Enders has not forgotten his roots. Enders graduated from Clements in 2016 and has been working for several years to coordinate this event with the high school, which has about 2,500 students from 9th-12th grade. Clements High School students were invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in the Teen Driving Safety School. Fifty students applied and about 20 were randomly selected to attend at no cost.

Seeing some teens' incorrect and even illegal driving habits compelled Enders to give back to the community by helping teens learn to drive correctly. Enders wants "to give kids a toolbox." His two pieces of advice to teen drivers? "Don't text and drive," and "Understanding the core fundamentals of how a car functions and drives could save your life one day."

After a morning of classroom instruction, the students headed outside to test their skills. The high schoolers beelined to the group of waiting cars hopping into either the driver or passenger seat. To get the full experience, I knew I needed to be a passenger, yet was a bit hesitant to ride in a car with a teen driver who may have only recently gotten their license.

At the signal of a Teen Driving Safety School instructors, the teen driver of the car I was riding in gunned the engine and drove as fast as she could towards an orange cone directly in front of her. The objective was for her to drive as close to the cone as possible, but brake before hitting it. This seemed counterintuitive to me – why practice a dangerous driving maneuver like this? According to the instructor, it's good for the teens to practice in a safe environment how to react when faced with a risky road situation.

For about an hour, the teens continued doing drills, then slowly trickled back inside to the classroom to use a Comcast Distracted Driving Simulator. Comcast originally created this simulator to train its technicians and kindly gifted one to the MBSL Teen Driving Safety School to enhance its programming.

I got to try the simulator too. I sat down in the plastic seat and took the wheel. The simulator looks very much like one of those car video games you see at arcades. My goal was to drive through the course in a safe and timely manner. The game deducted points for traffic violations. I struggled to navigate the course – I accidentally rammed my pretend car into walls and ran red lights. I began doing even worse when Derek Brown, MBSL Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, began calling out prompts. "Take a selfie of the group." "Now text it to your boss."

2020 Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land Teen Driving Teenns used a driving simulator to learn how distracted driving can impact their time behind the wheel.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land

By the time I finally finished the course, the group of us was in stitches over how poorly I had done, but we knew that safe driving, or lack thereof, was no laughing matter. Even now when I'm tempted to look down at my phone when I hear a text come in while I'm driving, I think back to this exercise and refrain.

I asked Clements student Haris Jhaveri why he applied to be part of the MBSL Teen Driving Safety School. "I follow Kory on Instagram. I've seen [the school] on his social media all over the place. People have talked about how it's a really nice experience and you learn from it. You get to drive a Mercedes… I also did this because my friend told me to. I like Mercedes, ok?". After participating in the training, Jhaveri noted "my driving is better".

That was the goal of all the adults in involved – improving teen driving. As Phil Morgante, Assistant Principal of Clements High School, noted "safety's number one with us – getting the kids to and from school".

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EQS buyers will have access to two years of free charging.

Electrify America

The Mercedes-Benz EQSis set to start hitting dealers' lots in just a few months, and the automaker is working drum up excitement for the all-new EV. Today, Electrify America announced that it will partner with Mercedes to offer charging services to buyers of the upcoming vehicle.

The agreement means that EQS owners will have two years of free charging, which includes 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America locations. The services go a step further, however, and will include the ability to plug and charge. This means that EQS owners who have activated their Mercedes me Charge accounts can start a free charging session just by plugging the vehicle into the charger. Electrify America says that no authentication or initiation steps will be required.


2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS is due to hit the market in late 2021.Mercedes-Benz


The agreement between Mercedes-Benz and Electrify America will also extend some services to future EQ battery-electric vehicles, as well as future Mercedes plug-in hybrid vehicles. The company notes that there may be costs to charge for those vehicles, but drivers will still be able to use the Mercedes me app to initiate sessions.

As more automakers jump in the EV game, free charging partnerships are becoming a bigger deal. Just last month, Hyundai announced that buyers of its Ioniq 5 EV will receive two years of free charging from Electrify America, and Ford offered free charging to its Mustang Mach-E customers, also through Electrify America, though The Blue Oval's offer only extended to 250 kilowatt-hours.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The partnership with Electrify America will provide access to chargers across the country.Mercedes-Benz


The EQS itself is Mercedes' first vehicle in what will become an electric sub-brand for the automaker. It will hit the market as a 2022 model late in 2021, and will be offered in two models. The entry level machine features 329 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, while the up-level EQS 580 4Matic will see 516 horsepower and 611 pound-feet of torque. Beyond its electric powertrain, the EQS will offer several advanced tech features, including a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 17.7-inch touchscreen. Even the passenger gets a display in the new car, as a second 12.3-inch screen will be positioned on the right portion of the dash.

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The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan goes on sale in 2022

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup, the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan will make its way to U.S. shores in early 2022, bringing with it 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque.

Distinct features set this Mercedes-Maybach apart from others including a Maybach-exclusive front bumper, engine hood trim strip, illuminated seamless door handles, and stainless steel illuminated panels. Buyers can request a two-tone paint job from their choice of 10 different color combinations.

The flagship model's power plant is a 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine that gets it from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The all-wheel drive sedan is able to deliver up to 31 percent of its toque to the front axle and 69 percent to the rear. Mercedes touts the car's rear-axle steering, which makes the model easy to drive on city streets. A special “Maybach" dynamic selects drive mode comes standard on the car.

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan The car has an available panoramic sunroof.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has fine-tuned the car to include active road noise compensation that the automaker refers to as headphones with noise suppression. The automaker says that the technology works like headphone systems with noise suppression tech by using counter-phased sound waves to balance out exterior sound waves. The technology is deployed via the car's Burmeister High-End 4D Surround Sound System.

The inside of the car also gets Nappa Leather upholstery and finishes including on the headliner, dashboard, instrument panel surrounds, armrests, glovebox, window frames, pillars, sun visors, backrest pockets, and door sill panel inserts. The rear seats feature diamond quilting, contrast piping, and the Mercedes-Maybach emblem. There's also wood trim, a Maybach pedal cluster, and Maybach-specific scent.

Owners can use the electronically-powered comfort doors at the rear, which can be controlled via a button or hand gesture. The same goes for the power sliding panoramic sunroof.

2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic Sedan's interior is luxe.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Adaptive rear lighting in the back seat of the car changes the LED spotlights' position and size. This allows for everything from reading lights to lounge-style lighting.

Two 11.6-inch high-resolution entertainment screens sit in behind the front seats. Between the rear seats are available silver-plated champagne flutes and a refrigerated compartment. Two matching holders in the center console hold the flutes in place when the car is on the move.

Mercedes has installed new rear seat airbags are designed to deploy in a gentle manner when needed.

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