The new Mercedes-Benz SL is not just the latest in the long line of super coupes and convertibles; it's also the first to feature the company's new telematics system, Mbrace2.
At the Detroit Motor Show, we got to photograph and touch the new SL to our hearts' content. But it was some 2000 miles away in Las Vegas that we got our first look at Mbrace2, which gives drivers access to a number of useful and popular apps in the dashboard.
Mercedes-Benz enhanced its traditional on-screen interface with a carousel menu structure, and one of those carousel items leads to the apps. These include Facebook, Yelp, a news reader, Morningstar Finance, Google search, Google Street View and Panoramio.
Most of the apps are integrated with the navigation system, so the driver can instantly set a restaurant from Yelp as a destination, for example. As a safety feature, many of the app functions are blocked while the car is moving.
(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)
Through its partner Hughes Telematics, Mercedes-Benz can update the apps available in the car without requiring the owner to visit a dealer. Mbrace2 relies on a new hardware module that includes a 3G data connection.
Along with the apps, the Mbrace2 hardware includes the features of the first generation of Mbrace (not seen in Australia), such as emergency crash response and remote door unlocking. It also adds a new set of features helping owners to keep track of their cars.
Mbrace2 offers geofencing, so the owner can set an area in which the car can be driven. If it crosses a set geographical boundary, the owner will receive a text, and a disobedient son or daughter might have to come up with an explanation. Likewise, Mbrace2 enables a breadcrumb service, which lets the owner see where the car was driven.
Beyond keeping track of errant teen drivers, Mbrace2 should make it easy to find a stolen car.
In the US, Mbrace2 will debut in the new SL, and spread to the rest of the range over time. No word yet on when or if the system will show up on Australian Mercs.