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The new knob-driven Comand APS system is currently available in Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class models. This review was conducted in a.
While it may carry the same name as the Mercedes-Benz's old button happy system, the new Comand system, which first debuted in the S-Class limosuine, features a host of improvements. Key amongst these is the adoption of the German obsession with push, pull and press scroll-wheels. Finished in studded metal, the new Comand controller feels great in the hand and controls a new menu system via a LCD display in the centre of the dash.
As sampled in the, the Comand screen is divided into three sections: a strip up the top that allows you to switch between the main functions (navigation, audio, video, Bluetooth telephone and system settings). The main centre section contains the current selection's main function, like, say, the navigation map, or CD and track lists. Another menu strip sits at the bottom with more options for the current section, such as presets and sound stage settings for audio.
Swings and roundabouts
Counter-intuitive and roundabout are the first words that pop into our minds about the new Comand system. For instance, to switch to the radio using the scroll wheel requires you to click on Audio, nudge up to the main menu, click Audio again and then select Radio. Yes, there's a phalanx of shortcut buttons, but instead of being located next to controller they're on the dash, requiring a lean forward and a look away from the road.
It'd be nice to have all configuration options available in one place, but while some settings, such as the Bluetooth and Linguatronic voice recognition systems, are within the Comand system, others, like those for the mirrors, light timers and so forth, are set via the in-speedo display.
The voice recognition system throws up a handy context sensitive list of commands on the central LCD screen whenever it's activated. But there are a few quirks in the system; for example, many tasks, such as changing discs or tracks, or dialling contacts, can be done in any Comand screen, but you're forced to physically change to a Navigation screen before verbally entering a destination. Whole word recognition isn't available for destination entry, and numeral and letter recognition is iffy at best.