Mercedes-Benz goes vertical. The new version of the Mbux multimedia system, that makes its debut on the S-Class, it’s operated from a large display which, unlike all other models from the German premium manufacturer, is positioned vertically at the end of the centre console. A radical change of pace that follows a completely different approach than in the past and that could soon extend to the rest of the range.

“This solution is the result of experience: we are all used to using vertically positioned screens every day, just think of our smartphones and tablets. The inspiration comes from that world,” Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler Group, tells us over the phone from the Stuttgart style centre. The new S-Class, making its debut in September, will have five screens, two in front, three at the back: “The first is the instrument panel capable of transmitting 3D images, the second is the new vertical display, while the third and fourth and fifth are reserved for those sitting in the rear seats. These devices are so important that we could say that the design of the interior started from the layout of the screens,” continues Wagener.

There are many functions borrowed from the world of smartphones: the system can be unlocked with PIN, fingerprint or facial recognition and the screens can be taped from one display to another. “You can configure up to seven different profiles and control everything with voice commands using natural language,” continues Wagener. The digital revolution has made most of the buttons inside the cabin disappear. Everything is controlled by touch surfaces or, at the very least, by touch: “Just think that compared to the previous version we have 27 fewer physical buttons. A radical change”.

More on Mbux system on Auto&Design no.244 (September/October).