Re: "A direct causal link is difficult..."
Yup: BMW Group (inc MINI), VW Group (Audi, etc.), Mercedes. The usual tech feature route is whatever first appears on the S-class will eventually find it's way to all cars - only that's not just limited to the good features.
I think Renault learned that trick from Nissan in their all-but merge - the 1-2m 'plip' range was a 'feature' on a friend's Primera about 15 years ago (even with a new fob battery), and it wasn't even a new car at that time.