In-Car Tech

5 Things you need to know about the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS's MBUX infotainment system

The car, seen here for the 2020 model year, already features two screens. The fresh model year gives the CLS new capability.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS will come with the latest iteration of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG models have been given a solid refresh for the new model year.

Here's what you need to know.

The system includes two large screens, side by side.

The MBUX display includes two 12.3-inch screens that are contained under one piece of glass that spans from in front of the driver to the center of the dashboard. These screens are where the instrument cluster is shown and where technology, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, are displayed.

There's voice assistant technology that learns your habits.

Need some help? Signal the MBUX voice assistant by saying, "Hey, Mercedes."

The system is designed to continuously learn. Are you an Atlanta Braves fan? You can can learn that and prompt you to turn on the radio to the station where the game is playing when it begins.

The MBUX is able to perform a number of weather-related functions, utilizing the voice assist to read the forecast to the driver. The car can even tell you what the snow report is for your favorite ski area.

It can recognize your movements.

The MBUX Interior Assistant recognizes movement. When a hand is approaching a touch screen or the center console touch pad, the system is triggered to change the display and highlight elements. This is similar to a computer mouse hovering over a button on a webpage and the button slightly changes its appearance to let the user know that it is selected.

There's specific functions for AMG models.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe and Cabriolet feature MBUX systems with additional AMG-specific functions and displays. It is possible that the 2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 will be able to do the same. Mercedes explains the features:

"These include, for example, the visualization of the driving programs and telemetry data on the touchscreen multimedia display. In the instrument cluster, the driver can switch between three distinct display styles including "Supersport" mode, which is particularly striking, with a central, round tachometer and perspective horizontal displays to the left and right of the tachometer, creating an impression of depth. In addition, various special displays such as engine data, gear indicator, warm-up, setup, G-meter and race timer can be selected via the AMG menu."

The MBUX system interacts with the new Mercedes steering wheel, but the CLS won't be getting it.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class's MBUX steering wheel

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The automaker has redesigned its steering wheel to include capacitive sensor technology. With this technology, some functions will operate similar to how your smartphone operates. Current information suggests that the CLS will not be getting the new wheel.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG CLS will arrive in U.S. dealers by late 2020.

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The Jeep Wrangler Islander is now aviallable to order.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep is bringing back its popular Islander special edition SUV for the 2021 model year, but with a twist. This year, the Wrangler and Renegade are getting the treatment. This is the first time the Jeep Renegade has been available with this special edition treatment.

"Our Jeep enthusiasts expect legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, and they also embrace the Jeep brand's fun 'go anywhere, do anything' adventure lifestyle," said Jim Morrison, Vice President, Jeep Brand North America. "With Surf Blue accent stitching, Islander-embroidered front seats and available white three-piece hardtop on the Wrangler, you can't help but think summer and the beach life when you see these new Islander special editions."

2021 The Jeep Renegade Islander beings the spirit of coastal communities to the off-roading family hauler.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021

The Wrangler Islander has been gone for 11 years after being first introduced as a special edition in 1988. The new model is based on the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Sport S with either two- or four-doors. It comes standard with the following features and equipment:

  • Jeep Command-Trac 4x4 part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio
  • 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels in Silver Finish with all-terrain tires
  • Rubicon Rock Rails
  • Uconnect 4 with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Dual-zone temperature control
  • Exterior details include a Tiki Bob hood decal; interior details include a Ceramic White mid-bolster and black cloth seats with an embroidered Islander logo and Surf Blue accent stitching
  • Available white three-piece hardtop
  • Optional Islander Plus Package by Mopar adds front/rear grab handles, cargo tub liner, solid sunbonnet top and Tiki Bob soft spare-tire cover

The Jeep Wrangler Islander is available in Billet Silver, Black, Chief, Granite Crystal, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Hellayella, Sarge Green, Snazzberry and Sting-Gray.

Each Islander model receives unique interior appointments.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Renegade Islander is based on the 2021 Jeep Renegade Latitude. Its list of standard and available features and equipment includes:

  • Available Jeep Active Drive full-time 4x4 system
  • 19-inch Silver Alloy wheels with all-season tires
  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof for ultimate open-air freedom
  • Uconnect 4 with a 7-inch touchscreen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Exterior details include a Tiki Bob hood decal; interior details include premium black cloth seats with an embroidered Islander logo and Surf Blue accent stitching
  • Keyless Entry with panic alarm
  • Remote start system
  • Available Alpine White painted roof

The Jeep Renegade Islander is available in Bikini, Jetset Blue, Glacier and Omaha Orange paint jobs.

The two models serve up a unique look.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

All 2021 Jeep vehicles get the Jeep Wave premium owner loyalty program with purchase. It gives access to benefits and exclusive perks like three years of worry-free maintenance at Jeep dealerships, including oil changes and tire rotations; 24/7 support via phone or chat; 24/7 roadside assistance and first-day loaner coverage; access to select Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Islander has a starting U.S. MSRP of $33,370 for two-door models and $36,870 for four-door models (all prices exclude $1,495 destination). The starting price for the 2021 Jeep Renegade Islander is $27,430.

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NXP Semiconductors has two chip plants in Texas that were effected by Winter Storm Uri.

Photo courtesy of NXP Semiconductors N.V.

The effects of Winter Storm Uri are still being felt across Texas and it's impacting the auto industry. Reporting by Reuters tells that chipmakers, like Samsung Electronics, are still weeks away from resuming normal operations in Texas.

Traditionally, this sort of production slowdown wouldn't much impact the industry. There would typically be enough dealership and inventory and automaker back stock to make up for many, if not all of the shortages for a short period of time. However, COVID-19 has put a strain on the chipmaking industry and is already slowing production, limiting sales, and hurting automaker bottom lines.

There's also been increased demand for semiconductor chips as sales of laptops, gaming consoles, and other entertainment and exercise equipment soared as coronavirus-related lockdowns changed lifestyles globally.

Ford and General Motors have both said that their 2021 sales and profits will be hit hard by the shortage. Additional analysis by Reuters says that Toyota has enough inventory to last four months while Hyundai and Kia, which share common ownership, purchased a stockpile of chips when production was going full steam in late December and are thus far unaffected.

Samsung and NXP Semiconductors shut their factories in Texas last month when Winter Storm Uri took hold. Like Lone Star State households, Texas businesses lost access to electricity, natural gas, and water.

Samsung's logic chip plant is located in Austin. It began operating 2017 and makes chips using Samsung's 14-nanometer, 28-nm and 32-nm chip production technologies. The facility is Samsung's biggest logic chip production facility outside of South Korea, where the company is headquartered. The company also has a NAND flash chip facility in Austin.

NXP's plants are also in Austin where the company has its corporate headquarters. While there are nine other NXP offices in the U.S., there are no other manufacturing sites.

Edward Latson, CEO of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, told Reuters that chipmakers now have the power, water and gas they need to operate, but they need time to restart tools and clean the factories. He characterized the process as being slow and "very expensive".

The one month of lost production is most likely to hit automakers hardest five months down the road, in the third quarter.

Many analysts had been predicting an uptick in new vehicle sales for 2021 after car sales rallied in the fourth quarter of 2020. However, these chip shortages are deeply impacting those sales predictions.

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