• A fragrance for the new S-Class.

The fragrance of the future.

At the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen, there is a very special secret hidden: a room which invites you to feel good from the moment you enter it; a room that exudes a completely different flair from the other offices. Between comfortable art deco armchairs and ceiling-high bookcases, Sabine Engelhardt sits at her computer. As a futurologist in "Social and Technological Research" for Mercedes-Benz, she is responsible for tracing social developments, cultural movements and sociological changes. Values and wishes, trends and creative tendencies: these are all genres that she examines in the world's "global cities". She uses scientific methods to analyse zeitgeist and long-term social trends. The research results then flow into strategies and products, most recently into the new perfume atomiser which is soon to enhance the interior of the new S-Class.

Seismographs of future trends.

Together with her colleague Alexander Mankowsky, Sabine Engelhardt has travelled around the world and looked at where innovation and creativity are born: seen through "female" and "male" eyes, so to speak. The feminine plays a crucial role in futurology. And yet it is not about "the" type of woman. The focus is on the feminine moment in the sense of quality of life, sensuousness, beauty and luxury. "When we approach a new topic, we first look at the past, then at the present, and then based on that we make statements about the future," explained Engelhardt. On the basis of her trend analysis she has developed a product of her own: a perfume atomiser which is unique worldwide. "When perfuming a Mercedes it must be done openly and actively!“

Olfactory challenge.

But what should a Mercedes-Benz smell like? Until now Claudia Schempp and her olfactory team have been working on the perfect interior odour. But reinforcements have now been sent in, so to speak, in the form of Sabine Engelhardt and Marc vom Ende, the senior perfumer at Symrise.

He has already created scents like “Iceberg Homme”. Together with Marc vom Ende, Sabine Engelhardt braved her way to the exciting creation of an “automotive room scent”.

Tip of the nose.

Perfumer Marc vom Ende visited Sabine Engelhardt, the information science graduate, at work and drew inspiration from the design centre. Together, and with the aid of catchphrases and mood boards, they slowly approached a common understanding of the terms which were to serve as leitmotifs of the fragrance: luxury, urban and quality of life. A fragrance composer has more than 2500 basic substances to draw on: approximately 400 natural substances, essential oils and extracts and also a range of synthetic substances. For each perfume motto, Marc vom Ende created four or five samples: these only differed from one another by a nuance and each fragrance was captivating in its own way. "The process was nerve-wracking," said Sabine Engelhardt. After all, cultural aspects of buyers are also important.

Freeside Mood as the standard fragrance.

Marc vom Ende created four perfumes for Mercedes-Benz. Freeside Mood – "an unobtrusive but present citrus scent, very rounded, without any rough edges"; Sports Mood – "a very pleasantly natural scent with a freshness emanating from green tones of young pale-green leaves and rounded off by light flowery nuances"; Nightlife Mood – "the scent of a heavy leather armchair in front of a fire in a room lined with dark wood, a glass of cognac on a small table (mild fruity tones) and a cigar"; and Downtown Mood – "transparent floweriness with a subtle metal effect, pleasantly sexy thanks to warm musk tones, and the most feminine of the scents with a hint of powdery, sensual tones". The standard scent ex factory is Freeside Mood, together with samples of the other perfumes.

Sabine Engelhardt's favourite scent is the spring-like Sports Mood. 'I tend to favour one-dimensional fragrances which envelop a fragrance direction. The Sports Mood fragrance does exactly this with utmost exuberance.'

A completely new definition of luxury.

Apart from fragrances, which general development trends does the futurologist observe? The tendency to redefine quality of life in more and more zones. Instead of chasing after short-lived trends, there is a growing desire for the authentic, the unique, and preferably that which has been signed personally by hand. Seals of quality such as "Made in Germany" or "Made in the USA" are set to become more important again. And European culture with its understanding of enjoyment, elegance and style is now viewed again as a desirable life model. The challenge, said Sabine, lies in redefining European luxury as a life quality in a world which is becoming more "green" – green luxury, in other words. For Mercedes-Benz this social change is a good omen. "Our cars precisely fulfil people's new heartfelt wishes."

In the new S-Class, Sabine Engelhardt announced, 'we will experience a completely new definition of luxury in the interior and the handcrafting.' She has made a not insignificant contribution to this herself.