Mercedes-Benz has been teasing its flagship next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class for quite a while now. In its last teaser, the German luxury automaker showed the car’s front end. This time, it’s now showing off the S-Class’ range of touch screens.
Current Mercedes-Benz vehicles utilize either the outgoing COMAND infotainment system or the current touchpad and touch-screen based first-generation MBUX. With the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it seems the company is ditching the touchpad entirely for a purely touchscreen-based interface. In the process, the German luxury automaker has also ditched quite a number of buttons from the current generation model.
Dubbed as the second-generation MBUX, this new system gains more screens and a set of new talents. Saying “Hey Mercedes” will not anymore be a necessity in some functions, such as when answering a call and other quick commands. MBUX will also have the capability to provide instructions to the driver when needed, such as the location of the first aid kit or how to connect a smartphone via Bluetooth.
This next-generation of MBUX also gains a number of security features, too. Alongside the classic entry of a PIN, a new authentication method ensures a high level of security. Fingerprint (via the home button), face, and voice recognition are combined for top-notch security. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.
Also new for the S-Class is he high-resolution head-up display (HUD). It uses a digital mirror device by Texas Instruments that consists of 1.3 million individual tiny mirrors that constantly adjust the image it projects. This design allows the HUD to feature augmented reality (AR) technology. For instance, the HUD can highlight an approaching object right at your line of sight or superimpose arrows into the intersection your eyes are seeing so you know where to turn when the navigation is turned on.
Now, the main highlight of MBUX is its ability to use a wide range of vehicle systems and sensor data to monitor the vehicle’s occupants. Creepy? Depends on who you ask. For example, the exit warning function in the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class now uses cameras to recognize that an occupant wants to leave the vehicle. If another vehicle is approaching in the vehicle’s blind spot, the active ambient lighting becomes part of the exit warning system and flashes red.
Because of these interior sensors, the next-generation S-Class debuts what Mercedes calls its Interior Assist feature. These sensors are able to monitor the driver’s movements and actions and anticipate their every need. For example, if the driver wants to look over his shoulder or at the rear, the S-Class can automatically lower the sunblinds if needed. If the driver is also looking for something in the front seats, the interior lights will turn on automatically. Interior Assist is also able to check whether the child seat is correctly attached to the front passenger seat. Lastly, along with the car’s Attention Assist system, those same cameras, sensors, and other parameters can detect drowsiness from the driver and avoid a microsleep.
Of course, with so many new features packed into the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a lot of power is needed to operate this. Mercedes-Benz is proud to highlight that MBUX has a 12.8-inch portrait touch screen with a resolution of 1,888 x 1,728. The screen comes in an LCD panel as standard, though buyers can opt for an OLED panel with deeper blacks, richer colors, and a 30 percent improvement in power-efficiency. MBUX’s brain has also been given a major upgrade, with its graphics processing unit (GPU) now generating 691 gigaflops of power to handle the flexible user interface. It also has a 16 GB RAM and a 320 GB solid-state drive (SSD) for a lag-free experience.
We have to wait until September to see how the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class truly looks like. From what we’re currently seeing, the next generation of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship is certainly going to be worthy of its flagship status.