Published on February 14th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mercedes E-Class gets new infotainment system
It’s amazing how fair car entertainment systems have come in the last decade or so. The move from a conventional head unit to an LCD display opened up a world of possibilities, allowing users to fine tune settings with easy to use interfaces. Controllers have evolved over time, from rotary dials to touch pads and touch screens, but it is the way the system ties together that is largely important for ergonomics and user-friendliness. Connectivity has improved vastly with the introduction of Bluetooth, and car manufacturers have worked closely with phone manufacturers to develop applications and streamline pairing.
2015 sees Mercedes-Benz adding a new internet-enabled telematics generation, boasting high-performance multimedia devices and navigation systems and enabling convenient use of the versatile options afforded by modern communications technology. Paired with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone with data access, the modern COMAND Online multimedia system in the E-Class offers internet functionality, enabling the internet to be surfed without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary. While on the move, Mercedes-Benz Apps such as “Mercedes-Benz Radio” and “Service Mercedes-Benz” can be used unlimited. This sort of restriction is part of legislation and rulings in certain countries that try to limit the amount of distractions present to a driver- and surfing the internet on the move is considered quite hazardous.
As standard the E-Class comes with a basic telephony feature, which connects the mobile phone with the vehicle via a standardised Bluetooth interface and is fitted with a hands-free function. Optionally it can also be used with the new, fast LTE mobile phone network. As previously, three multimedia systems are available for the E-Class.
The Audio 20 CD multimedia system is fitted as a radio with twin tuners, traffic information decoder, CD drive (MP3 and other music formats), Bluetooth interface with address transfer from mobile phone to the head unit, Media Interface integrated into the head unit for the support of iPhone or iPod, two USB ports and an SD card slot.
The optional Garmin MAP PILOT navigation system stores its map data set on an SD card and boasts the attractive and well-established look and feel of Garmin. It can be operated via the controller as well as voice control – the Integrated Speech Dialog System (SDS), including Text-to-Speech (TTS). The necessary software to enable this is also stored on the SD card. The navigation system provides the three-dimensional display of terrain and various buildings in a particularly clear and realistic manner. Points of Interest (POI) can also be input and displayed by the navigation software. Furthermore, route destinations can be downloaded via the internet and followed.
As an alternative to the Audio 20 CD, Mercedes-Benz offers COMAND Online as a multimedia system in the E-Class, including DVD single drive. Navigation, phone, audio, video, internet – with the COMAND control and display system the driver is able to maintain an overview, as well as control of, these and many other functions. A topographic map display including 3D POIs and city models is also available, with the ability to store/import/display of personal POIs on the map.
There is a Live Traffic feature that Mercedes-Benz touts will be highly effective as it constantly crowd-sources information regarding traffic flow and patterns, but the catch is that the system only works in Germany and other parts of Europe. It requires data access via your phone naturally in order to connect to the system, but until the infrastructure is developed for other parts of the world is is unlikely we will see this system locally. In the mean time, Waze works perfectly fine for the smartphone users among us.