MBUX 2.0: Faster, cleverer… easier?
Mercedes’ updated infotainment system – My MBUX – looks like a complicated way to make life simpler.
Does it work?
The S-Class has traditionally been the most cutting-edge model in Mercedes range, so it’s no surprise the new, 2021 car is bristling with gadgets. A 5.3-metre showcase of all the technology Stuttgart has to offer, the key question is whether all this cleverness and processing power makes life better for the car’s occupants or simply blinds us with science.
You get more choices about how you interact with the new My MBUX system. In addition to the vocal commands of the previous version, the upgrade also gets biometric functionality, gesture commands, mobile office software and a lot more. The new S-Class will learn your face, voice and fingerprints all in a bid to make security faster and easier. And if you want a final layer, it will let you set a PIN code. The benefits are two-fold: the car only responds to a registered driver, and it’ll also automatically configure itself to a saved driver profile, covering preferences including temperature, seating position and audio settings.
The 12.8-inch portrait-format touchscreen now boasts haptic feedback, so you can feel icons react to your swipes and prods. It’s a pleasant halfway house for those who prefer physical buttons, but it also has some safety benefits too. The touchscreen’s haptic response stops you glancing at the screen to confirm your inputs, and that means your eyes spend more time on the road.
Gesture control reaches a new level in the S-Class. There are obvious commands such as a ‘pull back’ movement to open the panoramic sunroof and more subtle ones. Reach for your seatbelt, for example, and MBUX will bring the belt to you. Sounds gimmicky, but actually works well here – understanding your usual movements rather than training you in weird, deliberate ones. The head-up display is much improved, and now features augmented-reality functionality. Previously, MBUX would overlay virtual arrows onto a live feed of the road ahead, and relay it all onto the car’s infotainment screen. The latest version of MBUX skips the screen entirely, beaming virtual guiding arrows directly onto the windscreen itself.
The result? Arrows seem to float directly on the road ahead, and there’s no need to divert your gaze. This effect is also used when adaptive cruise is enabled; the Mercedes will apply a subtle glow below the car ahead, just to remind you it’s tracking the distance.
Does it work?
Yes. This evolution of MBUX smooths the edges and melts the tech into your driving routine. The biometric systems add security without hassle, and the voice control seems to be much improved too. It’s there if you want it; easily ignored if not.
CHOICE CUTS HOW IT WORKS
1 FACE, VOICE, FINGERPRINTS, PIN The Mercedes gives you a few options when it comes to security, much like a smartphone
2 3D BUT NOT 3D
The dials use a lenticular display that gives the depth of 3D, but without the need for glasses. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to deactivate
3 NOW YOU SEE IT
More useful than the previous arrows on the info screen, latest augmented nav goes to your eye-line via HUD