A new dimension in personalisation and interaction

Oct 28, 2020

No other innovation in recent years has so radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The second generation of this learn-capable system now débuts in the new
S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: brilliant displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology, make the control of vehicle and comfort functions even easier. The possibilities for personalisation and intuitive operation have become far more extensive. This certainly applies in the rear, but also to the driver: For example, the new 3D driver display allows a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. A real three-dimensional effect is achieved without having to wear 3D glasses.

The voice assistant "Hey Mercedes" is available on every seat, and even more learn and dialogue capable by activation of online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword "Hey Mercedes". These include accepting a telephone call. "Hey Mercedes" now also explains vehicle functions, and can e.g. help when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where the first-aid kit can be found. Thanks to the Smart Home function, domestic equipment and household appliances can also be networked with the vehicle, and voice-controlled remotely (see separate chapter for details). "Hey Mercedes" is now also able to recognise vehicle occupants by their voices. Once the individual characteristics of the voice have been learned, this can be used to access personal data and functions by activating a profile.

Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request. The larger HUD provides augmented reality (AR) content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows ("fishbones") are virtually and precisely projected onto the road lane. For the assistance functions, information from e.g. Active Distance Assist is shown. The image appears virtually at a distance of 10 metres. This long distance allows a very large image: the display area corresponds to a monitor with a 77-inch diagonal. (see Glossary for details).

However, the unique feature of MBUX is its networking with a wide range of vehicle systems and sensor data. MBUX Interior Assist is able to recognise numerous operating requests. It recognises eye-direction, hand gestures and the body language of the occupants, so as to assist with automatic vehicle functions as the situation requires (see separate chapter for details).

Up to five large screens with intuitive operation

The visual highlight in the interior is the large central display in portrait format. It is ergonomically well positioned, as the screen is within easy touch and vision between the driver and front passenger. The portrait format also allows longer lists to be displayed. The central display is available in two versions, the dimensions are shown in the table at the end of the chapter. The larger central display features OLED technology.

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Compared to LCD screens, the advantages of this technology are a better black level, even stronger contrasts and a lower energy consumption (see Glossary for details).

The user interface of the central display is divided into different areas. At the top is the entry area where the user can access the profiles by touch control. The content in the application band in the middle of the screen can be moved by horizontal and vertical swiping, depending on the chosen homescreen. Below this is the permanently displayed area for the climate controls.

On request the driver display is also available with a unique innovation: at the touch of a button, it is possible to switch to a 3D mode for a spatial view. A real three-dimensional effect is achieved with the help of eye-tracking, without having to wear 3D glasses. This optional version of the driver display has two integrated cameras. This stereo camera precisely determines the eye position of the user. Mercedes-Benz has developed appropriate distance adaptation methods for this, and the system has extremely low latency, i.e. there is almost no delay. The driver can therefore move freely. The image in the driver display is continuously adjusted. Cameras and face recognition are also used for a wide range of assistance and comfort functions. These include the new biometric authentication (see section on personalisation), drowsiness detection by ATTENTION ASSIST, settings for the exterior mirrors and (expectedly from the second half of 2021, initially in Germany) also monitoring of the head and eyelids during automated driving.

The appearance of the driver display and central display screens can be individualised with a choice of four display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Exclusive, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service) For details see the chapter on interior design.

As a new element in the driver display, the ECO display (in the Classic style) takes the form of a ball rolling on a stylised road. The ECO display playfully helps the driver to adopt an efficient driving style.

Extensive range of infotainment functions for passengers in the rear

Take a quick look at the presentation on the way to the office, and discuss minor changes with your assistant by telephone conference? Or while away the long journey to your holiday home with the latest online films, while your brother next to you listens to his favourite audiobook? Whether managers or children – in an S-Class, and especially in the main markets of China and the USA, the boss often sits in the rear. Accordingly, Mercedes-Benz has systematically focussed on the rear for the new version of its flagship model. An example: passengers in the rear have the same extensive Infotainment and comfort features as the driver and front passenger, and can also watch films or surf the internet. They have access to up to three touchscreens and a variety of intuitive control options such as the voice control assistant "Hey Mercedes" - real multi-seat entertainment.

Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers Selection and amendment of navigation destinations is possible from the rear seats. MBUX high-end rear entertainment has two 11.6-inch displays with touch controls on the rear of the front seat backrests. The MBUX rear tablet is also optionally available. As a fully-fledged tablet, this can also be used outside the vehicle and (Android) apps can be installed. In the S-Class, the MBUX rear tablet is attached to a docking station located in the folding centre armrest or the business console, depending on the equipment level. This convenient remote control enables all the functions of the rear entertainment to be controlled from any seating position. As well as Mercedes-Benz Bluetooth headphones, a personal smartphone can be connected to the multi-seat entertainment by Wifi or HDMI.

Here are all five screens at a glance:


Driver display

Central display

Rear displays

MBUX rear tablet







Screen diagonal (inches)






Resolution (pixels)

2400 x 900

1624 x 1728

1888 x 1728

1920 x 1080

1280 x 800

Touch control









3D representation, two integrated cameras for face recognition


OLED technology

additional connection of cabled headphones possible

USB charging in the docking station, WLAN and Bluetooth-capable

Music streaming: millions of songs to choose from

Mercedes-Benz has also integrated the music streaming service Spotify and Tuneln internet radio into the new S-Class. TIDAL and Amazon Music continue to be available as well. MBUX allows access to the usual songs and playlists as on a smartphone or other mobile device. Operation is intuitive, using the MBUX voice assistant "Hey Mercedes".

Personalisation is even more easy and convenient

A personal profile can be created directly in the S-Class and synchronised with the existing profile data of the Mercedes me account. By scanning a QR code with the Mercedes App, the vehicle is automatically connected to the Mercedes me account

Personal preferences such as a favourite radio station and preselected settings can be transferred to any seat via the personal Mercedes me profile. Up to seven different profiles with around 800 parameters are possible in the vehicle. The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote configuration, e.g. from home. As the profiles are now stored in the Cloud as part of Mercedes me, they can also be used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the new MBUX generation.

Alongside the classic entry of a PIN, a new authentication method ensures a high level of security. Fingerprint, face and voice recognition are combined. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.

Always state of the art: over-the-air updates

More than 50 electronic components in the new S-Class can be updated with new software over-the-air (OTA), i.e. via a mobile data connection. These include the entire MBUX infotainment system, the driver display, the driving assistance systems and the MULTIBEAM LED and DIGITAL LIGHT lighting systems. This technology saves the customer time, as he/she does not need to visit a workshop for this purpose. Furthermore, the vehicle remains up to date throughout its lifecycle and is even equipped for new features that have not even been developed yet. The explicit consent of the user is always a precondition for OTA updates.

Since as early as 2016, Mercedes me connect has made it possible to update the communication module and the navigation map data over-the-air. In 2018, this was followed by the update capability for the MBUX infotainment system. In 2019 alone, Mercedes-Benz carried out almost 3.7 million free software updates around the world in this way. Since 2016 there have been 6.3 million OTA updates to navigation maps.