I was driving around the other day, and I got passed by a mid-2000s Mercedes M-Class. If your brain doesn’t immediately pull up an image of this particular M-Class, I’m not sure how to describe it to you. Just think of a dull SUV with a Mercedes badge on the front.
I remember when this particular M-Class came out, back in 2006, because it was panned for including a column shifter. A lot of automotive journalists — and, frankly, vehicle owners — laughed at the idea that a modern luxury brand would use a column shifter, the mark of the full-size pickup in the 1980s.
“And now Mercedes is using one?” they would say. “Mercedes?! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!”
Then the journalists laughed and laughed, while Mercedes was simultaneously developing autonomous cars that would one day render these journalists useless.