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Does The New Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W223) Interior Design Has Serious Problems?

Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed the interior design of the next-generation S-Class W223. Typically, the features you would see inside one S-Class model would be very similar ten years later on subsequent models, including safety technologies such as ESP and the pre-crash system. This time, Mercedes have broken the mould.

The brand is pushing the boundaries with its functionality, with touch-sensitive buttons or tiny touch screens included in its new model for the seat climate controls. The centre console of this S-Class is akin to the likes of the Audi A8, the Tesla Model S, and the Range Rover. There is a complete absence of physical buttons; now you control everything via a state-of-the-art touch screen. It is very much reminiscent of an iPad experience; however, it can be difficult to alter the aircon temperature, for example, whilst you are driving. The lack of real feedback of a physical button when using the touch screen is a concern, and this is a well-known issue.

The S-Class has taken the touch screen control to an entirely new dimension, with even the controls for seat temperature being controlled in this way! Heating and cooling controls for seats used to be psychical buttons. Notably, the Audi A8 still has these, which I consider to be the optimal experience. Now, if you wish to heat your seat, you have to look at the button area to see whether you are touching the correct one; otherwise, you can quickly cool down your seat on a cold winter drive!

Physical buttons allow us to gauge the pressure we apply to the button, and also how many times we have pressed it. These would be much more practical for users when in the motion of driving – something Mercedes have overlooked.

Regrettably, addiction to touch screens will increase the opportunity for a new type of accident. Until now, we haven’t experienced accidents due to driver distraction from touch screen controls, but this could be on the horizon with drivers of cars like this model having to overt their eyes from the road to manage the screen controls. Pre-crash technology systems may prevent such accidents, but there is no need to invent a new type of accident when the existing solutions work perfectly.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Digital Interior W223

Photo Credit // Daimler AG

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Cars

Mercedes-Benz New MBUX Technical Details

Mercedes-Benz recently revealed their next-generation user interface system for the upcoming S-Class. I didn’t have a chance to try the system, so my assumptions are based upon what I have observed from press releases and others’ experience.

Since the Tesla Model S was launched, there has been a trend to remove all buttons from the dashboard, instead of replacing all controls via a touchscreen glass panel. On paper, it is a great way of minimising the clutter of buttons on the dashboard, whilst upholding a current on-trend aesthetic that is technologically savvy. Undeniably, it also looks great from a design perspective; who doesn’t admire Bauhaus (form follows function)?

By removing all necessary physical buttons and replacing them with a touch screen also created a new source for vehicle accidents; I crashed while I was trying to adjust the climate control temperature.

This problem is ousted by Mercedes-Benz’s voice-activated technology. The system assumes that people will say something and the car will simply understand; wishful thinking? There are so many accent and sentence structures, it is extremely challenging for a computer to understand what we want. You can also control everything from the interior buttons and knobs whilst driving, therefore it is very easy and safe.

Of course, Mercedes-Benz didn’t simply release a funky user interface. They introduced probably the best navigation system launched yet. By implementing augmented reality into the front screen, the navigation system will show arrows and provide direction directly from the windscreen, placing them at the correct points, instead of telling you ‘turn right after 200 meters’.

I loved the augmented reality navigation system and, likely, other manufacturers and brands will soon follow suit. Admittedly, though, I am not in favour of buttonless dashboards. These will only act to increase accidents and distract people. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if operating a touch screen dashboard is a violation of traffic law. Yes, we need touch screens but not for everything. A hybrid approach would be more optimal than a smartphone approach. What is essentially copying and pasting a smartphone experience into a 2-tone metal object that can travel up to 250 km/h is not the way to move forward.

Here is the technical details of the MBUX (next generation S-Class W223):
Display: 1888 x 1728 resolution, 12.8-inch and 200-ppi (pixel-per-inch) (Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 458-ppi)
Storage: 320 GB SSD
Memory: 16 GB RAM with 41,790 MB/sec (bandwidth)
Over-the-air updates

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Meet the S-Class DIGITAL: „My MBUX” (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Unterwegs daheim – luxuriös und digitalMeet the S-Class DIGITAL: "My MBUX" (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): At home on the road – luxurious and digital

Photo Credit // Mercedes-Benz

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Cars

The New Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W223) Leaked

Exactly seven years ago, Mercedes-Benz S-Class press photos were leaked around this time (I have the actual date on my Facebook memories). But this time, it is not a press photo but an Instagram photo. The notorious Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/cochespias/) for finding leaked car photos managed to find the images of the upcoming S-Class (W223). Sadly though, this is the next model! It looks like a Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan on steroids, and it has finally had its ultra-serious look removed. Yet unfortunately, the upcoming look of the S-Class reminds me of a ‘this look sells more cars’ face.

I am sure that many people will buy the new S-Class, there is no doubt about that. It is the critical player in this segment. But the interior is a bit disappointing. The new steering wheel is touch-capacitive capable, with Mercedes-Benz opting to use the touch screen features of a smartphone on the steering wheel and assumes that this is a good idea. While it means they don’t need moving buttons, this type of design will increase accidental taps and makes the learning curve too steep.

The centre console is a disaster. All touch screen trends started with the Range Rover and Audi caught this terrible virus. Now it is time for Mercedes-Benz. All touch screen centre consoles are pointless and silly – you can’t have button feedback, and you have to stop all the time to adjust the aircon temperature, or the seat heating, or whatever that can be done quickly using knobs and buttons.

Mercedes-Benz’s defence will, in all likelihood, be that it is a new technology and that the driver can use voice control. Voice control in cars has historically been rubbish and never works. Drivers need physical buttons and feedback to control basic controls while driving; otherwise they have to look at the central console to adjust minor things and stop looking at the road. This technology will work in level-5 autonomous vehicles, but we are not there yet! In the meantime, we still need physical buttons on the central console.

I think everyone agrees with you on this. So, what do you think about the buttonless touch only central consoles?

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223