Watch Electronic Seatbelt Presenters Freak Out MotorWeek In This 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC Review

Gif: MotorWeek/ YouTube (<a class="link " href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fair Use;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas">Fair Use</a>)
Gif: MotorWeek/ YouTube (Fair Use)

Modern cars are full of automated features ranging from massaging seats to power doors to summon modes that allow cars to drive autonomously in parking lots, but back in 1985 things were a lot different. MotorWeek said the base price of this particular Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC was about $57,000 back in 1985, which equates to a base price of nearly $170,000 when adjusted for inflation. That’s a seriously hefty base price, and in fact a modern Mercedes buyer would only face a comparable base price if they were looking at a Mercedes-Maybach GLS SUV which starts at $174,350. When MotorWeek tested the 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC, the brand’s large, then-flagship coupe, the team was especially confused by one particular feature.

The lack of a B-pillar on the SEC meant that the coupe’s seat belts had to be anchored far away from the front seat occupants, but a buyer of a flagship Mercedes-Benz shouldn’t be forced to reach for their own belt. Mercedes’ solution was a simple seat belt presenter that would extend and bring the belt closer to the front seat occupants to simplify the act of buckling up, but MotorWeek didn’t perceive it as such. The presenters call the seat belt presenter “a real illogical touch,” and liken its function to that of a gremlin. It’s hysterical to see the journalists’ confused reaction to this now-simple convenience function.

John Davis, the current host of MotorWeek has been reviewing cars since the program’s inception in 1981, so his head must spin when he gets into a modern Mercedes-Benz with all of their screens and electronic wizardry. 1985 doesn’t necessarily sound that long ago, but almost 40 years have passed since the 500 SEC was the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. As much as many modern car enthusiasts bemoan the transition to electric vehicles and constant focus on minimizing emissions and maximizing safety, it’s always fun to look back and be reminded how far automobiles have come.

For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.