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S-Class Gets Next-Gen User Experience

Mercedes wants you to take a seat. Any seat. Then sit back and enjoy the experience.
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The German luxury marque is introducing its second-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) with the redesigned 2021 S-Class sedan. Featuring a long list of functions and capabilities, the upgraded system promises to be more detailed, thoughtful and individual.

As many as seven different user profiles can be stored and uploaded to the cloud via the Mercedes Me app. Occupants can access their info from any seat in the S-Class, as well as in any other future models equipped with the next-gen tech. Once connected, MBUX automatically adjusts seating, climate control, infotainment and other settings to a user’s preference. With the help of artificial intelligence, any necessary tweaks can be done on the fly, such as adjusting mirror positions to a person’s height and personal preference.

Mercedes is introducing its next-generation MBUX user interface on the 2021 S-Class. (Image: Mercedes)

The standard 12.8-inch, portrait-oriented center touchscreen allows users to control a growing number of infotainment and vehicle systems. In addition to touch inputs with optional haptic feedback, the system responds to conversational-type voice commands (in 27 languages), swiping, hand gestures and even eye movements. Mercedes claims the setup eliminates 27 buttons and switches from the center console. But safety-related features (lights and windshield wipers) still are operated via traditional steering wheel stalks.

The digital instrument cluster uses what’s described as stereoscopic technology with a special pixel structure and aperture grille to create a 3D effect. Cameras are used to continuously adjust and optimize the display based on the driver’s eyes and head position. Two augmented reality head-up display systems also are available. The technology can superimpose icons, such as turn indicators, onto graphic representations of current and upcoming traffic conditions.

Enhanced Safety and Rear-Seat Controls

Recognizing that many S-Class owners are chauffeured (particularly in China), Mercedes offers as many as three touchscreens for rear-seat passengers. Two are attached to the front seats, while the third is integrated into the central armrest. Buyers can upgrade all screens from conventional LCD displays to more advanced OLED (organic light-emitting-diode) devices, which provides improved resolution, more color and bolder imagery.

Next-gen head-up display superimposes information onto graphics.

There also are some cool safety enhancements. Teaming the car’s blind-spot and facial monitoring systems, for example, can help prevent occupants from opening a door and stepping into traffic. The ambient lighting flashes red to alert users of potential danger.

Meanwhile, cameras in the overhead control panel use learning algorithms to recognize and anticipate an occupant’s intentions based on head position, hand movements and body language. Examples include lighting an area of the car where an occupant appears to be searching for something and pre-selecting controls for features at which a driver is looking.

In case you’re wondering, drivers also can opt for an “understated” mode. That’s if they just want to enjoy the ride, old school style.

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