Mercedes' new in-car infotainment system replaces 27 physical buttons

Polycount

Posts: 2,470   +549
Staff member
In brief: Traditional vehicle instrument panels are slowly being phased out in some vehicles, and Mercedes upcoming 2021 S-Class sedan will be one of the latest examples of this trend. When the vehicle enters full production, it will ship out to customers with a massive, 13-inch OLED touchscreen infotainment system, which replaces dozens of ordinary buttons -- 27, to be precise.

Mercedes hasn't offered a comprehensive list of all the physical buttons its new touchscreen (called the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX) is replacing, but to name a few examples, things like climate control, music playback, and radio adjustments will be all-digital starting with the 2021 S-Class.

The carmaker says this screen is the most advanced infotainment panel that's ever been implemented into one of its vehicles. It can be configured with cameras for facial recognition (which enables various extra features), it has haptic feedback technology, and it supports voice and fingerprint authentication measures for boosted security. You can even scan QR codes and make digital payments from the display.

You can have up to four of these screens in a 2021 S-Class -- three in the backseats, and one in the front. Mercedes says both back and frontseat passengers will have access to most of the same comfort and infotainment features, though we expect some functionality to be limited to just the driver.

If you do opt for multiple screens, you'll be able to share content between displays easily, though Mercedes did not specify what sort of content will support this feature.

Another major change arriving under the MBUX umbrella is the new augmented reality instrument panel. At the touch of a button, the vehicle's digital instrument panel can be converted into a 3D heads-up display, allowing for a "spatial view" without the need for 3D glasses or other special equipment.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,045   +2,862
My father, Uncle and Aunt each have a Mercedes S-class. Personally I prefer the current Mercedes W222 design for the infotainment system and I am not a fan of vertical TESLA-like touchscreens. It works for Tesla because self-driving is such a focus, but I feel that the driver's eyes need to stay on road.

If people "driving Teslas" had to interact with the car more, they'd realize how mundane the driver's experience actually is.

Mercedes COMMAND system is better with the physical dials, knobs and buttons used to control things like HVAC, volume and radio stations. Older people especially love button redundancy.

The current S-class 2014 - present may be the best grand touring car you can own.
 
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brucek

Posts: 422   +483
And if you put these in the backseat, I bet you your kids still use their own tablets because that's where they have all their content, data, settings, and that's what they are used to from the rest of their life.

Which is pretty much why I insist on CarPlay for my vehicle. Even setting aside the literally billions of dollars in R&D advantage that Apple/Google have in making their devices; and that they will have probably a dozen major updates over the car's life while the car may be lucky to see even one; even if the car maker could overcome all that, at the end of the day all my data is on my phone. There's no getting around that. Any car maker who tries to make me choose between their car and my data is going to find out their car is the luxury, my phone is the necessity.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,045   +2,862
And if you put these in the backseat, I bet you your kids still use their own tablets because that's where they have all their content, data, settings, and that's what they are used to from the rest of their life.

Which is pretty much why I insist on CarPlay for my vehicle. Even setting aside the literally billions of dollars in R&D advantage that Apple/Google have in making their devices; and that they will have probably a dozen major updates over the car's life while the car may be lucky to see even one; even if the car maker could overcome all that, at the end of the day all my data is on my phone. There's no getting around that. Any car maker who tries to make me choose between their car and my data is going to find out their car is the luxury, my phone is the necessity.

#1 CARPLAY... I have used rental cars with Carplay as well as my Mother's new Cadillac and I must say that Carplay is so good that it essentially eliminates my desire for a factory Navigation system.

Google Maps is undisputed ruler of Map apps. It is so easy to find locations using Google maps that everyone else is at a loss.

The phone's USB connection lets me listen to whatever my phone has access to - even Youtube - over car speakers...and is less troublesome than the Bluetooth stereo feature.

The phone is simultaneously charging while connected over USB which solves yet another issue.



#2 As far as kids in the backseat... These companies would do far better simply making the monitors with maximum inputs (RCA, HDMI, USB C,etc) than trying to define the content themselves. Yeah you can pop in a DVD for very young children, but older children will be on Switch or something else.

Thing is, when you have the proper rear entertainment system in the backseat, there are tray tables for laptops and built in Wifi in the car's infotainment. My aunt moved from a Jaguar XJ-L I built for her with heated/cooled rear seats and walnut tray tables to a Mercedes S-class with all that stuff and recliners with heating cooling.

What more could a kid want?

Hell, I'd rather sit in back than drive.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,342   +2,817
I can't stand cars that try to replace physical buttons with a touch screen. I've seen in many cars where the layout of the buttons become a beautiful design feature. They are manufacted out of high quality materials that feel as good as they look. Cars that replace everything with a touch screen lack design character and it just feels lazy. It's also often a cost saving measure.

If I was to spend the amount of money that a true Mercedes commands, I want the beauty of a well designed button layout. You don't spend that kind of money to be given a cost saving measure such as putting everything in a touchscreen.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,005   +3,883
TechSpot Elite
S-class has always been about 2 things - luxury and comfort. And now they are turning it into an entertainment on wheels, a discotheque, with flushing lights and overloaded with useless functions.

The S-class, for the purpose it was conceived, is now dead. A-man!
 

nejc02

Posts: 8   +1
My father, Uncle and Aunt each have a Mercedes S-class. Personally I prefer the current Mercedes W222 design for the infotainment system and I am not a fan of vertical TESLA-like touchscreens. It works for Tesla because self-driving is such a focus, but I feel that the driver's eyes need to stay on road.

If people "driving Teslas" had to interact with the car more, they'd realize how mundane the driver's experience actually is.

Mercedes COMMAND system is better with the physical dials, knobs and buttons used to control things like HVAC, volume and radio stations. Older people especially love button redundancy.

The current S-class 2014 - present may be the best grand touring car you can own.
tell your father uncle and aunt that they are driving a dream car
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,903   +2,273
Looks like Mercedes is going to learn the hard lesson Honda learned wiht the current gen Civic. It too launched with touchscreen controls and no physical buttons, and sales began to flatline in favor of the corolla, jetta, golf, and hyundai and kia sedans/hatchbacks. Two years later they shifted into reverse HARD and brought physical buttons back.

touchscreens shouldnt be in cars. Hell screens shouldnt be in cars. Cars are for driving, not playing angry birds. All these screens and touch interfaces are a distraction, and even a skilled driver will struggle to adjust HVAC on a touchscreen while driving.