Every great adventure starts with small steps. This has been the story of the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz brand since the company was founded in 1901. Although Mercedes-Benz has been a trailblazer in the vehicle manufacturing industry, the history of its infotainment system is closely tied to that of the auto industry as a whole.
From the simple radios that were fitted in the early versions of the vehicles, the infotainment system has grown in leaps and bounds. The in-car infotainment we have in modern Mercedes-Benz classes and models was unimaginable in the past. With the progress that has been made to date, one can only expect that the future holds more creativity and innovation.
This was the first generation of the infotainment systems found in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The system featured a cassette drive, FM/AM radio tuner, a CD drive in which drivers could insert navigation map discs, a 4-channel amplifier as well as connectors to other systems in the car. By the end of 1999, this system had undergone major upgrades to use improved navigation discs. In this system, the optional voice control system, the surround sound system, the telephone and external CD changer were connected to the central control using a D2B optical bus.
COMAND 2.0/COMAND 2.0 MOPF
This was the next system in the new Mercedes-Benz models. It came in a different form, with the cassette drive having been removed. Although the rectangular units were initially introduced in the E-Class, they were later incorporated into the W203 and R230 Mercedes-Benz models. In 2003, the S-Class featured a widescreen version of this infotainment system, known as COMAND 2.0 MOPF. The COMAND 2.5 and COMAND 2.0, together with its different version, formed the first generation of the Mercedes-Benz COMAND systems.
The system was first introduced in the 2002 W211 E-Class. In this system, the D2B optical ring was replaced by MOST. This is why the MOST system was given the name COMAND-APS to make it easily distinguishable from the D2B systems they had just replaced. Besides using MOST, the system featured DVD-based navigation as opposed to CDs. This allowed drivers to carry larger navigation maps in a single storage disc. The system could also play MP3 discs.
This affordable and more integrated version of the COMAND-APS was available on the W203 C-Class and W209 CLK Mercedes-Benz models. Unlike its immediate predecessor which featured three separate parts, this system had all these components in a single head unit. Although the different components in one unit simplified the wiring of the system, it was not possible to use it to play MP3 discs. If you wanted to use the navigation and listen to an audio disc at the same time, it required an optional CD changer.
This is a high-end system that was targeted at the W221 S-Class and W216 CL-Class. The improved system allowed more integration, making it possible to control a variety of vehicle functions. Rather than storing the navigation maps on a disc, the system made use of an internal hard disc. The COMAND-APSNTG3 allowed the driver to control audio, video, telecommunications and navigation systems. Some of the vehicle functions that one could control were vehicle locking, the HVAC system, drive-dynamics and lighting functions.
This infotainment system was launched in 2007 in the W204 C-Class. The system had a 5-inch screen, a significantly smaller screen than the 8-inch screen of the W221. It had a card reader for MP3, stored maps in a hard disc and was the first system to feature a media interface. Some of the Mercedes-Benz models that had this infotainment system were the Mercedes-Benz SLS and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Some of these systems were able to be upgraded to carry out extra functions.
This version of the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system was developed with the aim of replacing the COMAND-APS NTG2.5. This unit had both an SD card reader and a DVD drive. There was also an optional DVD changer to replace the single drive. Just like its immediate predecessor, this system supported media interface and stored the navigation maps in an internal Hard Disc Drive.
In 2011, the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system underwent major changes and improvements, with the development of the COMAND-APS NTG4.5 to its 2012 models. It was also the first COMAND system to be included in Mercedes-Benz models other than the CL-Class and S-Class. This system made it possible to connect mobile broadband to internet based services of the Mercedes-Benz. With a 7-inch display screen and an SD-card slot, users could use a variety of downloaded apps. Although the initial graphics were in brown and black, a color scheme was later introduced in various Mercedes-Benz models.
This was the 3rd generation of the infotainment system and was available in vehicle models from June 2013. It allowed you to directly tether your iOS devices, iPhone and Android devices, a feature that was not previously available. The system has numerous technological improvements, some of which included CPU upgrading, better performance of the Navigation system, changes in route guidance and internet radio.
This is the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system. It is installed in the 2013/2014 models of the S-Class, 2014 GLA as well as C class. The graphics and functions of this command are greatly enriched, with Mercedes-Benz Online Radio to cap it all. The innovation evidenced in the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system is likely to be witnessed in the new Mercedes-Benz models as we move into the future.