Equipment/technology highlights: And you can get that in a compact car?

Sep 25, 2018

The new A-Class Saloon has a number of highlights that up until now were not available in this form in the compact car class. The MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system is of course foremost among these, while the assistance systems with many functions from the S-Class are also exceptional. There is a separate chapter on each. Here is a peak at other technical treats.

One of the strengths of MBUX is its intelligent voice control with natural language comprehension, which is activated by the keyword "Hey Mercedes" (or "Hello Mercedes"). The new LINGUATRONIC supports many infotainment functions (e.g. destination input, phone calls, music selection, writing and hearing messages, weather forecast), as well as numerous convenience functions such as climate control/lighting. Indirect speech is also recognised, for instance if the user says "I feel cold" instead of giving the clear command "Temperature to 24 degrees" in order to operate the climate control. The temperature is then increased by one degree, or lowered by one degree on hearing "I am hot".

The voice control is also capable of learning. On the one hand it tunes into the user and their voice and also understands non-native speakers better; on the other hand the software models on the server learn new buzzwords or changing use of language with time. The system also no longer answers stereotypically, but varies in the dialogue output too. In short: It is not the driver who must learn the voice commands stored in the vehicle, but rather the vehicle that learns the voice commands of the driver.

Private Car Sharing
Sharing a car instead of owning one: Car sharing is in. According to the German Car Sharing Association, over 1.7 million people in Germany are registered with providers such as market leader car2go. Mercedes me is now extending its services to include private car sharing: the Mercedes me Car Sharing App allows A‑Class drivers to share their vehicle with a specified group of users. Friends, family members or colleagues can then easily book the A-Class for a fixed period of time. The authorised user opens the vehicle using the App and by means of the Mercedes me communication module installed in the vehicle. The A‑Class is started with a key which is left in the vehicle, temporary use of which is also enabled "over the air" by Mercedes me.

Mercedes me connect parking services
The new Mercedes me connect services On-Street Prediction, Real-Time Information and Off-Street Information allow Mercedes-Benz drivers to save valuable time and reduce their stress levels while at the same time cutting their fuel consumption and emissions when searching for a parking space. The realtime information is based i.a. on Mercedes-Benz vehicles which have just left a parking space or driven past potential parking spaces.

Easier parking and manoeuvring
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC
assists the driver when searching for a parking space and when entering or leaving parallel or end-on parking spaces in both forward and reverse direction. It manoeuvres the vehicle into the selected parking space and back out again. PARKTRONIC gives a visual and acoustic warning of recognised obstacles with the help of six ultrasonic sensors in each bumper. These can be in front of, to the side or behind the vehicle, and are recognised at speeds up to approx. 10 km/h.

If the Parking package with 360° camera is specified, an all-round view is provided by the 360° camera with four networked close-range cameras in the radiator grille, boot lid handle and exterior mirror housings. The information is clearly presented in selectable views in the MBUX display.

With the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, the control units calculate the ideal lighting configuration within milliseconds. The road ahead is precisely and brightly illuminated. 18 individually actuated LEDs are housed in each headlamp. The daylight-like light colour of the LEDs is easy on the eyes and has a positive effect on concentration. Its functions include

  • variable low beams for country roads and motorways (motorway mode with range increased by around 50 metres)
  • automatic activation of cornering lights when turning to the left and right. These are activated if the direction indicators are operated at under 40 km/h, and also on tight bends at under 70 km/h. Both cornering lights are switched on when revering, so as to illuminate the swivel range
  • cornering light with roundabout function. This is activated approx. 70 metres before entering a roundabout, and approx. 40 metres before junctions
  • city light for wide light distribution at low speeds within built-up areas
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus. This brightly illuminates the road over a long range and can remain permanently switched on, since partial deactivation of the individual high beam modules means that oncoming traffic and vehicles ahead are excluded from the light cone and thus are not blinded.

Multicontour seat
A total of three different seats are available for the new A-Class: the entry-level model, the comfort suspension seat and the sports seat with adjustable head restraints available in combination with the Progressive and AMG design and equipment lines. The front seats have comfort features available from higher segments, with optional seat climate control and a Multicontour Seat package incl. massage function. With the seat climate control, there is a radial fan in each seat cushion.

With the Multicontour Seat package, the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by an electrically driven pneumatic pump. A massage effect in the lumbar area is provided by air chambers which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing or wave-like motion when the function is activated.

ENERGIZING seat kinetics
"The best seat position is the next one" - this is what many doctors say about sitting in the car. Because sitting in almost the same position for several hundred kilometres and many hours is not good for your back or discs. Mercedes-Benz is now introducing an innovation that supports switching seating positions in the form of ENERGIZING seat kinetics.ENERGIZING seat kinetics uses the electric seat adjustment. If the driver selects this program, the inclination of the seat cushion and backrest will be slightly adjusted during the journey on an on-going basis.The changes are only minimal - a few degrees or millimetres.Slightly changing position during the trip improves back health because the natural strain and relief of muscles, joints and discs can lead to muscle relaxation and improved supply of nutrients to the joints and discs.

The drive programs available at the press of a button come as standard in all A-Class Saloons. Even greater driving pleasure when cornering along with comfort on long journeys comes courtesy of the suspension with adaptive damping. Using the switch on the centre console, it is possible to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual.

Panoramic sliding sunroof
The large sliding sunroof adapts automatically to the driving speed when in the tilt position. This happens in three stages. Other features include convenience closing using the air recirculation switch, automatic rain closing and the electronic sunblind.

Heated multi-function steering wheel
On cold days the heated steering wheel rim quickly warms the grip area of the steering wheel. Other cosy optional equipment: seat heating for the driver and front passenger, auxiliary heater and the two-zone automatic climate control system THERMOTRONIC.

Head-up display
Important information is projected into the windscreen directly in the driver's field of vision, reducing distraction from the traffic situation. There is also less eye fatigue for the driver, as the eyes do not constantly have to refocus between close-up and long-distance vision. A system of lenses and mirrors projects a full-colour image measuring around 24 x 8 centimetres into the windscreen. It appears to float above the bonnet at a distance of around 2.5 metres. Also new in this vehicle class is configuration via the head-up display itself.