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The car that keeps its cool when you're not in it


Tired of returning to hot car? You need one that cools itself before you get in it.
 
A day at the beach no longer means returning to a stifling hot car and seats that can burn the back of your legs.
 
A new smartphone app can switch on the air-conditioning up to 10 minutes before you're ready to get in the car.
 
There is just one catch: for now the technology is only available on a Mercedes-Benz limousine that's expected to cost $310,000 when it goes on sale next year. But it will be available on more affordable models within two years.
 
The feature is standard on the company's first ever plug-in hybrid car, the Mercedes-Benz S500 Plug-In Hybrid.
 
It can travel 33km on battery power alone before the petrol engine takes over for a further 800km of driving.
 
The technology has created a new dilemma: save the planet with petrol-free driving range, or save your skin? 
 
The same car also has technology that teaches you how to drive economically. 
 
A radar system can tell if you're too close to the car in front and will 'pulse' the accelerator pedal to tell you to back off. 
 
"As our flagship model, the S-Class always has our leading technology but you will these features on other models over time," said Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy.

The Mercedes-Benz S500 is not the first car to cool itself, however.
 
In the 1990s Mazda introduced a car with solar panels in the sunroof to keep the car cool while parked.
 
Mazda abandoned the technology, but Toyota reintroduced it on the most expensive version of the latest Prius hybrid introduced five years ago.
 
However, unlike the Mercedes system, the Toyota Prius keeps the cabin at an ambient temperature whereas the Mercedes will cool the car to a chill.