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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Infotainment Review: MBUX Raises the Bar

Seat time with Mercedes' new multimedia system

Seat time with Mercedes' new multimedia system

With its luxuriously appointed interior, comfortable ride, punchy engine options and trick suspension tech, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class raises the bar in its class. One of the major highlights is its infotainment system, MBUX. First introduced on the A-Class, the interface has since spread across the Mercedes-Benz lineup including the GLS, CLA, EQC, and the upcoming GLB-Class. After spending some time in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450, we’ve compiled seven reasons why MBUX is currently one of the best infotainment systems on the market.

The Power of Choice

MBUX’s pièce-de-résistance is your ability to control the interface your way. There’s a touchpad, steering wheel controls, voice command, and a touchscreen, and you can use whichever feels most natural to you. During a recent drive in the 2020 GLE 450, we loved being able to choose how to interact with MBUX because it reduces the time needed to learn the system.

A Digital Personal Assistant with Personality

You: Hey Mercedes, what do you think of BMW?
Car: The same as you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here.

MBUX’s sassy personal assistant function is a lesson in how to do voice commands properly. Taking learnings from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, MBUX doesn’t require you to say a specific phrase to get it to do what you want. Need the climate controls dialed down? Just say, “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” and the system will immediately adjust the temperature.

Learning Your Routine

Another notable feature is MBUX’s ability to learn the driver’s habits through its artificial intelligence. That means it will learn everything from your daily commute to your favorite destinations. Got a favorite song or playlist? MBUX will remember that and make a shortcut for it too. No need to go sifting through stations every time you get in the car.

Plays Nicely (With Other Assistants)

Just because you have one personal assistant doesn’t mean you can’t have another working alongside it. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, giving you access to your iCloud or Google+ profile, and all of your favorite apps. Siri and Google play well with MBUX, allowing you to call on one or the other as you please to provide you with another option for controlling the multimedia experience.

Commendable Reflexes

Regardless of which controls you use, MBUX responds quickly. The touchscreen is one of the highlights because it reacts to inputs immediately, making it a breeze to use versus the ones found in its competitors. If you need to change something on the fly but refuse to use voice commands or the steering wheel controls, all you need to do is take a quick glance, select, and get back to driving. No screen mashing needed.

Updates Over the Air

Like most new infotainment systems, MBUX is able to receive over-the-air updates, allowing it to get improvements and even new features without having to go to a dealer. That means you’ll be able to get the latest improvements via software while the car is parked and turned off. Once you get back to your vehicle, you’ll find all the improvements from said update installed and ready to go.

Faster Charging and Data Transfer

Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with MBUX all come with USB-C ports. Newer ones like the A-Class, CLA-Class, GLB-Class, GLE-Class, and GLS-Class have even ditched the more common USB-A ports. Why? Because with USB-C, there’s no need to constantly flip the plug to find right-side up since the connecter is symmetrical, and most USB-C ports utilize the 3.1 standard, which enables faster charging and data transfer.

But There’s Still Room for Improvement…

Even though MBUX is among the best multimedia systems available right now, it’s not without flaws. It does many things well, but there are certain functions that could be improved upon or reworked so that they work better.

A Slight Learning Curve

Just like most multimedia systems, there’s a slight learning curve on MBUX. The moment you get in a vehicle equipped with it like 2020 GLE 450, you need to take a few minutes to learn how the tiny little black touchpads on the steering wheel work first. Fortunately, that takes under 10 minutes once you realize they work like mini touchscreens, meaning you can swipe and press to toggle information within the main touchscreen or the available 12.3-inch digital cluster.

Buried Features

Compared to the outgoing COMAND system, MBUX is a leap forward in terms of intuitiveness. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect because there are things that are still buried in submenus within the main touchscreen. Take the massage function, for example, you have to select Comfort and then select your desired option. Ambient lighting is two submenus under vehicle settings separated from most convenience-related items.