In-Car Tech

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

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The next-gen 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will come with the latest iteration of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. The 2021 E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet will be the best-networked cars in the Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG passenger-car portfolio.

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.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class MBUX

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

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 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe and Cabriolet feature MBUX systems with additional AMG-specific functions and displays. 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.

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.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The car rides on new alloy wheels.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI has given the Cooper Countryman a facelift for the 2021 model year refining the subcompact crossover's space, functionality, and ride comfort. The model will be available later this year.

In the US, the MINI Cooper Countryman remains one of the brand's most popular models, accounting for close to 40 percent of all MINIs sold in 2019.

The car gets a new grille with a chrome frame and standard LED headlights and fog lights up front, newly designed front and rear bumper coverings, now entirely in body finish, lend a more refined appearance. The radiator grill of the MINI Cooper S Countryman has a bold hexagonal grid pattern with a red "S" and a single chrome strut.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman MINI has given the model a fresh front and rear look.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the back are LED rear lights in a Union Jack design and a fresh bumper design. MINI will offer the model with an available Piano Black exterior trim joining the new White Silver metallic and Sage Green metallic paint jobs. The model will ride on standard 17-inch light alloy wheels. Buyers can opt for 17-inch light alloy wheels in Channel Spoke Black design or 19-inch light alloy Turnstile Spoke two-tone wheels.

The Countryman will continue to be offered in a variety of models from the plug-in hybrid MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 to the high performance MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4. The base Cooper Countryman will still come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine under the hood that generates 134 horsepower.

The next tier up, the Cooper S Countryman gets the same engine, tuned to put out 189 horsepower. The John Cooper Works model, with its standard all-wheel drive, has a 301-horsepower version of the power plant. All-wheel drive is available on the other two vehicles.

AN electrified version of the powertrain is available in the Cooper SE Countryman. It pairs a 1.5-liter engine with a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an electric motor. The plug-in hybrid model has 17 miles of all-electric range.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman The interior of the model has been given a facelift, just like the exterior of the car.Photo courtesy of MINI

The cabin of the car features a new cockpit display with an available 5-inch color screen. MINI is offering the 2021 Countryman with a new list of leather trim and interior surfaces. MINI is offering a new option for the Yours Interior Style package - Shaded Silver.

MINI offers the vehicle with new Chesterfield Indigo Blue and Chesterfield Matt Brown leather in addition to the 2020 model year roster of upholstery colors and finishes.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 models now come as standard with Piano Black interior surfaces for the cockpit and door bezels. These are combined with accent strips in the variant British Oak dark.

At the center is an 8.8-inch touch screen. Signature and Iconic trim levels have navigation. MINI has refined the look of the audio control panel, buttons for hazard lights, and driver assistance systems. Amazon Alexa integration is available.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman There's an 8.8-inch touch screen in the middle of the car.Photo courtesy of MINI

For the new model, there is a longer list of available MINI accessories from the manufacturer. The selection ranges from a roof box, molded luggage compartment mats and all-weather floor mats, to individual MINI LED door projectors from the MINI Yours Customized program, and of course, John Cooper Works performance products designed for extreme driving fun.

The 2021 MINI Countryman is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms later this summer. Pricing will be available closer to the model's on-sale date.

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Travis Pastrana will return to Ken Block's popular "Gymkhana" stunt series.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Gymkhana GRiD is back. Ken Block's popular video series will be making a return in 2020 with Travis Pastrana behind the wheel of a specially configured Subaru.

The news comes just two days after Pastrana, a full-time member of the 2020 Subaru rally team, and Block (and Subaru) agreed that they would be willing try to make it happen. Here's how it went down.

Pastrana and Block have been staying at home with their families during the COVID-19 crisis but they haven't been idle. The longtime friends and former teammates have been competing to produce at-home stunt videos for their fans. Block's "Gymkhana GRiD: Stay at Home Edition" called out the Pastrana family, challenging Pastrana to film a better version at his home in Maryland. Pastrana's rebuttal featured big dirt jumps, driving on two wheels and donuts around his personal WRX STI. Both drivers encouraged their fans to vote on who made the better video.

Then, on Tuesday's "Hoonigan Tangents Live" show, the talk turned from friendly jabs between the two into Block offering Pastrana the chance to film his own Gymkhana installment in 2020 with Subaru and the Hoonigan Media team. Pastrana and Subaru immediately agreed to the challenge, marking the first time in 11 years that Subaru will be a part of the series.

"What Ken has done with 'Gymkhana' over the years has really been amazing," said Pastrana. "But I think he made a big mistake giving me a shot at doing one of my own! I've got some ideas that I think can blow Ken's videos out of the water, and Subaru is on board to provide a car to do it. One thing's for sure, it's going to be unlike any 'Gymkhana' you've ever seen before."

This won't be Pastrana's first trip around the "Ghymkana" block. The five-time U.S. rally champion, freestyle motocross pioneer, action sports icon and stunt expert has made cameo appearances in the fifth and tenth installments of the series.

More details of the location and release timing of the special video will be announced at a later date.

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