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I've said before how marvelous and extraordinary even the most basic cars of recent vintage are, when compared to the offerings of 30 years ago, and much of that is ergonomics. You hop into a Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry and things are where they ought to be, no matter if you're 5-1 or 6-7, 88 pounds or 388. That's amazing.

Even the cheap interior bits feel better and last way longer than the vinyl dashboards and seats we endured in our glory days. Praise materials science! Praise polymer chemistry! Honestly, when was the last time any of you took a modern car seat to an upholsterer because the seam split?

It's all so damn much better we want to go back to the '50s!

—except we don't.

Half of us on here spend most of our spare time and energy trying to make our clown cars more like our DDs!

Can I get an amen?

I love how absurd the featured cup holders are. They are cutely and niftily stupid.

Nothing like the feeling I'd get if someone did a similar review/critique of those ubiquitous center console TV touch screens, with their nine layers of menus to remotely adjust the passenger A/C gimbal vent. Frustrating, pointless and a legit safety hazard: one of the very few areas where modern cars have become measurably worse.

@edsnova posted:

I've said before how marvelous and extraordinary even the most basic cars of recent vintage are, when compared to the offerings of 30 years ago, and much of that is ergonomics. You hop into a Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry and things are where they ought to be, no matter if you're 5-1 or 6-7, 88 pounds or 388. That's amazing.

Even the cheap interior bits feel better and last way longer than the vinyl dashboards and seats we endured in our glory days. Praise materials science! Praise polymer chemistry! Honestly, when was the last time any of you took a modern car seat to an upholsterer because the seam split?

It's all so damn much better we want to go back to the '50s!

—except we don't.

Half of us on here spend most of our spare time and energy trying to make our clown cars more like our DDs!

Can I get an amen?

I love how absurd the featured cup holders are. They are cutely and niftily stupid.

Nothing like the feeling I'd get if someone did a similar review/critique of those ubiquitous center console TV touch screens, with their nine layers of menus to remotely adjust the passenger A/C gimbal vent. Frustrating, pointless and a legit safety hazard: one of the very few areas where modern cars have become measurably worse.

What's even more bizarre is jumping in a 70's MB with perfect MB Tex seats.

Last summer, I couldn't figure out why my Transistions lenses weren't transitioning in my ML. UV blocking glass. Saves the dash, neccesitates sunglasses.

I think the uber-engineered cup holders are an attempt to justify the high cost of the cars. Both BMWs I’ve had have been about the least expensive available in their respective years and both had simple molded cup holders in the consoles.  The fancy shmancy models have the fold-out, articulated thingies.

I think you've got it turned around. The quality and cost of the car demands the fancy-schmancy totally over-the-top cupholders. Because the manufacturers think their buyers want complicated crap. And I guess some of them do.

I bought my Cayman because it is the prettiest, best handling, stopping, turning, sounding and fastest daily I can afford. Best bang for buck so to speak. And most importantly, the purest feel, most analog, and it's even got a stick shift.

Plus, if I ever really want to, I can turn off the PSM(Porsche Stability Management) or nanny as I call it. I've had no need to, the car is far more capable than I am. I haven't tracked it, yet.

To some, it's not a "real" one, as it isn't a 911. It did come from the factory with a name I didn't have to add...

The Cayman cup holders suck. I bought a console that wedges between the seats which has a more reasonable cup holder.

My BMWs, 3 series 2009-2011 both had similar cup holders that were ridiculously stupid. The wife spilled copious amounts of coffee in both of those cars, simply by getting in. She would tap it with her leg and it would springboard the cups out and onto the floor.

@Alan Merklin - Didn't you order the WeatherTech mats for that Hoss?  Shame!

I had two (yes, TWO) Bimmer 740 Tii and never used the cup holders, nor am I aware of where the heck the cup holders were hidden.   Neither of them was out of the service shop long enough to take a long trip to have a need for cup holders.

Last Christmas my wife bought me a nifty cupholder mount for my cell phone because the state said hands-free phone use only, and that's a good thing.  You've probably seen them advertised on TV.

However!  The cupholders in both of our cars are in the center console, right under your elbow, so to see the phone screen you need to take your view completely off of what's ahead.  Not cool.  So I got a couple of phone holders that slip and lock into the CD drive slot so now the phone is up closer to the windshield view.  Not perfect, but way better than before, especially if you're using the phone for GPS guidance.

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I have no doubt that somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Mercedes-Benz future technologies department, legions of sober engineers are working on the cupholders of tomorrow.

The problem with modern cupholders is that too much is still up to the driver. The human component is left to decide which cupholder to deploy and when to do so, and that cannot be optimally efficient. It must certainly be safer to allocate these tasks to onboard computers.

We're already scanning the driver's face to detect diminished concentration, so it's a small step to look for signs of thirst, or even frustration. (Why not have the car decide when others are driving poorly and automatically honk the horn when appropriate?)

Automatic cupholder selection and deployment can easily be coordinated with voice activated navigation commands and user profiles. If the car knows your favored order is a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha Coffee Frappuccino and that you're left-handed, it can deploy the appropriate cupholder and adjust it to the proper size just as the navigation rolls us into the drive-thru at the nearest Starbucks.

This is really just a follow-up to the heated and cooled cupholders that are already on the option list.

And this opens new opportunities for the marketing department, too. These will no longer be mere 'cupholders', they're now the Mercedes Enhanced Hydration system (MEH). Which, unfortunately, is available only as part of the Conspicuous Consumption package, so you'll also be stepping up to the 24" alloy rims if you want in.

Remember, you read about it here first.

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Oh, by the way.

Merriam-Webster defines a 'cupholder' as "...a sports contestant successful in the latest trial for a cup."

If I'd bothered to pay attention to the title of Gordon's original post, I would have learned that the correct spelling of the automotive accessory is two separate words.

Despite how worked up we may get about the future of the automobile at the hands of a few obsessive engineers, I still believe that spelling counts, so my sincere apologies.

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My first job out of college (1974) was at Hamilton Standard Electronics Division (HSED) in Connecticut.  "Ham Standard" started out as a maker of propellers (seemed like everything flying during WW II had their props) but they branched out into electronic stuff and also made space suits in their Space Systems Division - just the suit, not the helmet (from the David Clark Company) or the boots and gloves.

Anyway, while I was there NASA had competitions for all sorts of stuff for the space program (highlighted in the "NASA Tech Briefs" magazine) and one was for "Zero G Drinking Apparatus" for the astronauts that would work with no gravity.  A couple of engineers at HSED came up with something that I thought was absolutely brilliant in it's simplicity:  A soft vinyl, reusable "drinking bulb".  It was shaped like and about the same size as a light bulb, had a removable stem that had a valve similar to what's common today on sports water bottles and endurance water bladders - the kind you bite slightly to open the flow and it re-closes when you're done.  They were easy to fill even with the valve on, easy to use - just bite and squeeze, easy to use and easy to clean.   You could put them down anywhere and they would more-or-less stay put and most importantly, they didn't leak, even if you dropped one off a desk.  At zero G there was no leakage.  They also had an insulating sleeve for hot (or cold) drinks so your coffee would stay hot for 15 - 20 minutes.

They didn't win the competition (I don't know what they're using up there these days) but the bulbs showed up all over the company for a while - Even had the HS Space Systems Division logo!  In the days before Keurig machines some other engineers (I think in the Environmental Systems Group) even came up with a way to fill the bulb with coffee, any way you wanted it, in about five seconds without spilling a drop.  This proved to be a boon to all of the highly caffeinated engineers working there.

I have only seen this concept used in sci-fi movies once, and that is on the Amazon series "The Expanse".   Even so, I thought it was a great idea.....   You wouldn't even ned a "bulb holder" for it.  Put it down and it just sits there, but maybe needs a small fence around it for those 1.5G corners you guys all take.

I think the Germans, particularly Porsche engineers, were ticked off that Americans insisted on cupholders. So they designed the most complicated devices they could, simply to spite us.

My 2018 Boxster's are cool because they disappear. But I don't trust 'em for anything other than a closed water bottle. Especially the one intended for use by the driver, as it puts your cup right over the edge of the console!

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