Mercedes MBUX: Auto Tech Revolution
The Mercedes MBUX is the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system which began it’s debut in the 2019 Mercedes A class. “MBUX” stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience. I have to say I am blown away by it.
I have spent more than my fair share of time in Mercedes models prior to the release of MBUX. I have to say the infotainment systems in models prior to MBUX were not the highlight of my Mercedes-Benz experience. Of course, the systems were sleek, stylish, and functional, but I couldn’t help to compare the user-interactive components of the Mercedes-Benz to other pieces of modern technology such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Mercedes-Benz was on par or ahead of the automotive competition but when compared with these technologies it felt lacking. Inputting long strings of characters into the GPS was daunting, at times it was difficult to find locations using the search function, and at times the features felt limited.
This has all changed with the introduction of MBUX. In my opinion, MBUX is a complete game changer. It many ways the MBUX system goes above and beyond and is expected to remain on the cutting edge of technology and user experience for the next decade.
MBUX comes with two flat screen displays One on the top of the center console above the control panel and one behind the steering wheel. This is where a gauge cluster is typically found. Interactive buttons are located on the steering wheel and a track pad in the center console behind the cup-holders.
The first thing you may notice about the screens is that there is no lip above them protecting them from direct sunlight. The reason for this is that the screens are designed to have the level of quality and brightness so that direct sunlight does not affect their ability to be visible. This makes for an extremely modern and sleek appearance.
The center screen is not only a touch screen but senses your finger before it even touches the screen and begins making your selection. Not only does it sense you approaching but MBUX detects who is making the selection. MBUX has the ability to decipher whether it is the driver or passenger making selections. Certain tasks such as switching camera view is considered an essential task of the driver and only the driver can switch the camera view via the touchscreen.
MBUX allows you to set selection presets. You activate your preset by pressing the touchscreen with two fingers. You are able to customize what your preselection actually does but it is recommended that your preset is navigation to your home for maximum convenience. This touch preset feature also applies to the central touchpad.
Driver’s Side Screen
The driver’s side screen digitally displays your speed and other key information that would typically found in a gauge cluster. The display settings are controlled by buttons on the left half of the steering wheel. The options you can access on the driver’s side screen include assistance,telephone, navigation, trip, radio, media, driving dynamics, styles, and service.
The assistance feature on the dash gives you information about auto piloting.
The telephone menu allows you to view your contacts and previous calls as well as dial phone calls. Of course, MBUX is compatible with both Iphones and Android. This is something that sounds like it should be standard yet, competitors are having difficulty matching.
You can view previous destinations, view the map, and see directions based on your currently selected destination. This driver’s side navigation allows you have the GPS displayed simultaneously on the central touchscreen as well as the driver’s side screen.
Within the trip settings you can view a series of gauges depicting various information. There is a gauge for rpms, speedometer, fuel consumption, Eco Display, and average fuel consumption from the start of your trip.
The Radio menu allows you to change the radio station from your steering wheel.
The media menu allows you to connect to music via bluetooth.
The Driving Dynamics menu shows you a measure of G-forces as well as your power in torque.
The Styles menu allows you to change between “classic” and “sport” styles. The choice of style changes the color scheme on both the driver’s side dash screen and the center touchscreen. The classic style is accented in blue and the sport style is a black and red color scheme.
The Service menu allows you to view error messages, tire information including pressures and temperature. You can view recommendations as to when you should next service your car, coolant levels, engine oil level, and fuel consumption information.
The GPS is many times more user friendly than previous designs. The touchscreen screen makes panning and zooming much more user friendly and the voice command makes it extremely easy to search and find the locations you want to find. The map can be viewed in 2d or 3d which looks really stunning.
MBUX has a feature called “augmented reality” which basically means that the GPS is integrated with the car’s cameras. You can be looking at a camera view on the main central touchscreen and can have directional arrows and points of interest displayed and illuminated directly on the camera screen. Honestly, it looks fake at first glance, like a video game or something.
The lighting system is very sensitive to whom is using the lights. The lights on the rear view mirror can be activated simply by waving your hand in front of it. If it is the passenger that waves his/her hand in front of it than the passenger side light turns on. The same is true for the driver and the driver side. If you open the car door at night time, it will be that side of the car’s lights that turn on. You have the ability to turn off the lighting assistance from the touchscreen setting menu.
The ambient lighting, illuminating on the doors and center console can be changed on a whim. There are 64 colors to choose from. You’re going to need a matching outfit for each color!
The MBUX equipped Mercedes has cameras on all 4 sides of the car and you can easily switch camera views from the center touch screen.
Like the center screen, the touch pad senses your finger approaching and determines whether it is the driver or a passenger making the selection. You can swipe through the menus and make any selections that you could using the touchscreen. One new and rather innovative option is the to input characters using the touch pad. You can spell out a location or a contact’s name right on your touch pad which is much quicker than the older system which would require you to cycle through the alphabet, letter by letter.
Steering Wheel Touch Control Buttons
Every option that you can select from the touchscreen you can also select right from the steering wheel. This is considered a huge safety component of MBUX.
The right half of the steering wheel is controls for the center touchscreen There is a small touch pad for swiping through the menus and making selections by tapping. There is a home button to quickly jump to the home screen, a voice command button for prompting the system for verbal commands and a phone call button for completing calls.
The left half of the steering wheel has buttons to control the screen behind the steering wheel as well as buttons for controlling cruise control.
The voice command system is leaps and bounds ahead in technology. There is no need to press any buttons to activate it. You can simply say the words “Hey Mercedes” and your car is ready to listen to your commands. Additionally, there is no need to memorize direct commands. MBUX is effective and listening to casual phrases and acting on your desires. Not only can ask you ask about traffic and weather, but MBUX can answer thousands of questions. The car literally learns your preferences so when you ask for a dinner recommendation the answer will be personalized just for you.
Being that the MBUX system literally learns your preferences Mercedes took into account that some cars may be shared or have more than one driver. To remedy this, up to 7 user profiles can be saved. MBUX will learn the preferences for each driver and saves their preferred settings.