The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class: The new generation of multimedia - Low-price navigation and mobile internet

Internet access, the convenient LINGUATRONIC voice control system, two navigation solutions tailored to different budgets, connection for mobile audio devices and an intuitive operating concept – the information and communication systems in the B-Class offers excellent user-friendliness and a superior level of functionality which has been the reserve of higher categories of vehicle to date. These standards are delivered by the new multimedia generation from Mercedes-Benz, which was premiered only this summer in the C-Class CoupĂ© and the facelifted C-Class. The operating concept featuring the turn/push control in front of the armrest and the control knob on the head unit is also familiar from other Mercedes model series. Individual functions are operated by means of the steering wheel: the standard multifunction steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons.

A special feature in the B-Class is the positioning of the colour screens with a diagonal of up to 17.8 cm, which are installed in free-standing configuration at the top of the dashboard, above the central air vents. The aerials are distributed invisibly throughout the vehicle: an integrated AM/FM aerial and a GPS antenna is fitted under the roof spoiler in front of the rear window, an additional aerial for FM is integrated in the rear window structure and even the telephone aerial is concealed in the rear spoiler.

Overview of the various devices and their functions

The standard specification includes the Audio 20 CD system with a twin tuner, mp3-capable CD player and a USB connector in the centre console. The colour display has a diagonal of 147 mm. Thanks to a new "Cover Art" function, the title images of the music albums currently being played are shown if their details are stored in the audio file.

A new top line in the Audio 20 CD’s menu navigation makes orientation easier and can be operated via the controller. The settings for the air conditioning are also displayed on the telematics screen (when in use), as is the fuel consumption over the past 15 minutes. The Bluetooth functions have also been extended: the mobile’s phone book can now be automatically transferred en bloc when connected, and wireless music reproduction is possible from Bluetooth-capable terminals. Plus text messages can also be displayed. As an optional extra the Audio 20 CD can be combined with a 6-disc CD changer, Media Interface, sound amplifier (please see below for details), Convenience Telephony in the armrest, digital radio (DAB) and the new Becker® MAP PILOT entry-level navigation solution.

The Becker® MAP PILOT makes a low-cost navigation function, which can also be retrofitted, available for the entry-level Audio 20 CD radio. Its advantages over aftermarket solutions include integrated operation via the central controls, voice output via the vehicle's loudspeakers and display on the Audio 20 screen, a concealed location in the glove compartment and updating via an internet portal.

The COMAND Online multimedia system offers internet access. Customers can either surf the web as they wish while the car is stationary or call up a Mercedes-Benz app whose particularly fast page loading and simple operation make it suitable for use while driving. Integrated apps include Google™ Local Search and Weather and the facility for downloading a route which has previously been configured on a PC using Google Maps and transmitted to the car. Apps for Google™ Streetview and Google™ Panoramio will be available for COMAND Online from the autumn. Streetview enables locations all over the world to be seen in 360-degree perspective views and at street level. Panoramio allows access to millions of photographs which have been taken and uploaded by other uses at locations all around the globe. Streetview and Panoramio thus provide comprehensive means of studying routes and checking out sights and destinations before embarking on a journey.
More Mercedes-Benz apps will be introduced gradually and then all customers will be able to use them. Telephones which can be used with COMAND Online apps are listed at

The high-resolution colour display has a diagonal of 17.8 cm. Photos can be shown on the large screen and turned over manually, as in a slide show. Where the audio equipment is concerned, too, new types of representation bring a fresh look and more convenient operation. The new Cover Flow function, for instance, sorts the title images of the music albums stored in a carousel-like form, so that the B-Class driver can easily leaf through their music collection – even if it is rather on the large side: the memory for compressed audio files (mp3, wma and aac formats) is now 10 GB in size.

Greatest convenience is afforded by the Music Search function, which enables drivers and passengers to search the hard disc, SD memory cards, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs for specific music tracks and artists. The search can be according to various criteria, for instance album, music category or composer. If a name needs to be entered, the software will also tolerate spelling mistakes. The driver is therefore able to devote their full attention to the traffic. As a further advantage, the occupants are able to search all the connected media and devices simultaneously.

The fast hard-disc navigation system of COMAND Online also has added functions. New features include a 3D display with three-dimensional city views. Also new: routes covered can be recorded and repeated later, specific personal destinations can be imported via an SD card and four alternative routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation. Mercedes-Benz customers in Europe receive the current maps for their COMAND Online multimedia system free of charge for three years. Authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers upload the updates for navigation data in 39 European countries into the navigation system when the customer visits their premises.

In Europe, COMAND Online also comprises Speed Limit Assist, which receives its information for traffic sign recognition via a camera and navigation database. COMAND Online also includes the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system for audio, telephone and navigation. The new "One Shot" input function for the navigation system is particularly convenient, whereby the place and road can be said directly after one another. This function is currently available in seven languages and significantly enhances ease of operation.

Mercedes-Benz developed the “Logic7” surround sound system together with the audio specialist harman/kardon®. Based on technology never before seen in a car, this high-end system delivers three-dimensional sound as a natural 360-degree musical experience for all passengers. The audio signals are distributed via a 450-watt 9-channel DSP amplifier connected to twelve high-performance loudspeakers. In conjunction with COMAND Online a multi-channel listening experience with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS is possible.

The Media Interface is available as an optional extra. The universal interface under the armrest enables mobile audio devices such as mp3 players or iPods to be connected to the vehicle's telematics system. These devices are then operated via the head unit or the multifunction steering wheel. Depending on the mp3 player in use, it is possible to recharge the device's battery via the vehicle's on-board electrical system. When the song title/artist and album name are available, these can be shown on the display.

Source: Daimler AG

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