Mercedes-Benz's excellent MBUX multimedia interface is slowly but surely proliferating across the brand's entire portfolio. And the next model line to benefit from this tech will be the svelte CLS-Class, the automaker confirmed Wednesday.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 and Mercedes-AMG CLS53 will come standard with the easier-to-use MBUX software, housed on a pair of 12.3-inch digital displays. MBUX allows users to control the infotainment by touching the screen, using the trackpad on the center console or via the thumbpads on either side of the steering wheel. Natural-speech voice controls are also part of the package -- just say, "Hey, Mercedes," to wake up the artificial-intelligence assistant.
Overall, we're big fans of MBUX here at Roadshow. The displays are crisp and colorful, the menu structure is easy to work through, and we love novel features like the augmented reality overlays that appear on top of a live camera feed in the navigation system, so you'll always find the right house or know exactly where to make that tricky right turn.
As the company evolves its MBUX tech, the goal is to "make the system even more natural," Nils Schanz, head of user interaction for Mercedes-Benz research and development, told Roadshow in an earlier interview.
Aside from the MBUX update, the CLS-Class carries over largely unchanged for 2021, save for two new shades of silver in the color palette. All models are powered by Mercedes' 3.0-liter turbo I6 engine with its EQ-Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid tech. In the CLS450 and CLS450 4Matic, the engine is good for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, while the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 ups those numbers to 429 hp and 384 lb.-ft. Regardless of engine tune, the EQ-Boost motor provides a supplemental 21 hp and 184 lb.-ft.
Pricing for the 2021 CLS-Class will be announced later this year; the 2020 model currently starts right around $70,000. Look for the 2021 models to hit dealers before the end of 2020.