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Mercedes Doors Have a Signature Sound: Here’s How

The 2014 Mercedes S-Class.
The 2014 Mercedes S-Class.

Hop into a new $115,000 Mercedes S-Class limousine and the door will close with a satisfying, vault-like thunk. Do the same in a beat-up version from 1992 and you'll hear a sound that's eerily similar. That's because for the past several decades, Mercedes has been engineering its doors to sound reassuringly, consistently, the same.

This is harder than it sounds. (Pun intended.) As technology has evolved, car doors have too. Everything from the steel exterior (now either aluminum or a light-weight, high-strength steel), to its insulation, to side curtain airbags, to the electronics crisscrossing the interior has all changed. And that means to recreate that "thunk," technicians have had to do a lot of tweaking.