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NTG5.5 W213 Comand


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Now that I've had my W213 (a 2016 E220d Premium with Widescreen and Driving Assistance) for about a month, I'd like to share my impressions on the NTG5.5 Comand system compared to the NTG4.5 system in my last vehicle, a W204 C250. There are many places where it appears like a significant regression, most notably the navigation panel. I would appreciate any feedback that might help me see what I am missing.

I should preface this by saying that I am really pleased with the vehicle; it is much quieter and smoother than my previous C250, and the addition of Driving Assistance and remote access/tracking/geofencing has made driving a much more pleasurable experience.

Command Problems

One, it moves painfully slowly. The widescreen display makes the graphics pop, but there is a long delay between typing and seeing results. It's annoying in general, but when zooming a map, it completely renders the touchpad worthless. It's not the easiest thing to do a 'pinch' to zoom and then wait a second or two to see whether anything changed. The whole procedure of zooming twice or thrice is time-consuming and annoying. You may quickly zoom in or out significantly by just turning the rotary knob two or three times. Those who (I assume) will lose the steering wheel in the forthcoming W205 update have my deepest sympathies.

It takes a long time to enter an address, and it seems to rely heavily on the internet. Because it took so long to appear on the screen, I at first believed that it did not support complete postcode entering. Perhaps the quality of the data connection to the servers has a role.

Thirdly, there is no traveler's address book. It amazes me that this is absent. Only by manually inputting a location or selecting it from a list of recently visited locations will you be able to go to a new location. You can just add an address to the recent list; you can't give it a name (like "Joe's house") until you set the destination from a POI. You're only allowed twenty favorites total (including destinations and other features), but you may name and save a handful of them.

I haven't been able to locate an alternative to NTG4.5's in-route traffic visualization. The mini-display indicating total time in traffic in minutes is great, but I can't figure out how to simply find out where the delays on my route are (NTG 4.5 gave a simple 'traffic on route' text display). The yellow and red traffic bars are easy to see on the screen, as are the little red and yellow automobiles (although I personally have trouble distinguishing the yellow bars against the green background). To see nearby traffic, you may switch to map pan mode and click, but this will just cause the display to jump about the things already shown. There is just a word or two of description for each of them.

5. It seems that all waypoints have been removed. You may now choose an intermediate destination, albeit this will only affect the estimated arrival time at that point. Waypoints were my preferred method of enforcing a predetermined path. establishing an intermediate destination seems to me to be the same as establishing the ultimate location and then setting the actual end destination. In version 4.5, it was much more convenient to specify a waypoint and see its impact on the predicted time of arrival. There are, of course, other routes that may be taken, but they don't always provide what's needed (for example, in an hour's time I'll know where to avoid traffic, but the route planning doesn't take that into account).

6. The map data is of low quality and/or interpretation. We're out in the country, so many of the recommended routes are ones I'd only take if I really had to. I've blocked out the paths it was taking using avoid zones, but it still won't take the obvious path. When faced with a choice between two routes, one of which is 800 yards shorter and considerably more navigable than the other, it will choose to go an additional 4 miles.

In our location, the maps in NTG4.5 (with TomTom) generated far more logical route suggestions than NTG5.5 (with newest maps). I understand that rural roads present a difficulty for any mapping system. The optimum route is automatically chosen by Google Maps.

NTG5.5 does not allow users to add their own custom POIs, therefore users cannot create a list of their preferred coffee shops, hotels, or surveillance camera sites.

The screen does not provide full traffic data. If you're on the M5 heading to Bristol, you can see the M4 branching off to Reading, but there's no traffic data beyond Swindon. By increasing the map's size to include the M25, data on traffic conditions beyond Swindon becomes visible. Mode for seeing north in a two-dimensional display. It seems that traffic data beyond what a 'regular' width screen would display is not being updated on the super widescreen display.

NTG4 has much better voice synthesis, although it's still not very good.5. There are noticeable pauses between words, resulting in confusing phrases like "Turn right towards......Bristol." As has been pointed out, this variant is less courteous than the original since it uses fewer "Pleases."

10 I had great expectations for the additional customization options in version 5.5. There is the potential for 'his and hers' or even 'town and county' settings since you may save all your choices in the configuration file. Once again, MB has fallen short of completely delivering this. However, other parts of the display, such having Navigation on the left, and consumption on the right, cannot be saved in conjunction with the dashboard layout changes (i.e. Speed and RPM separate, or merged - Classic/Progressive). Why the dashboard layout is a Comand feature instead than a dashboard menu item is beyond me.

11 It's not obvious how to relocate the map view. If the map was shown in full screen mode (4.5), scrolling the control wheel changed its location on the screen. On 5.5, the up and down arrow keys have no effect, while the left and right arrow keys bring up the menu; to pan the map, you must first click down, then move to the right and click again. I'm sure there are simpler methods to do this.

12. You can only make so many favorites. In principle, the favorites will solve problems with the Comand menus' excessive complexity. When I attempt to add anything to my favorites (by pressing and holding the favorites key for 5 seconds), it usually says that it cannot be added. I've experimented with things like custom interior lighting and audio. Perhaps I'm just not getting it right.

It would be great to provide MB with comments like this, but I don't see how to do so, and I doubt they would pay much attention even if they did. They probably have designers and focus groups they trust.

To provide some perspective, Comand is not without its positives. It's convenient to be able to show a map on the main display, which looks good (though I don't sure it has as much road information as 4.5). The ability to quickly access recently used locations without leaving the primary controls is a welcome feature. Web-based POI searches are more effective than ever before, despite their often excruciating slowness. My only complaint is that instead of apparently starting over, MB stripped away a lot of the features that made NTG4.5 so useful.

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Ah yeah. The W213 Comand system has welcomed you to its realm of disappointment.

My 2017 E220d Premium Plus has a widescreen display and adaptive cruise control. I agree with you that the car's potential is squandered by the mediocre Comand interface. I agree with everything you've said thus far, and because you specifically requested for feedback on what you could be missing, I'll add a few things you might encounter in the near future:

It might take a while and be unclear when giving directions: The navigation system will give you a heads-up when it's time to make a turn, but it's not uncommon to have already done so by the time the voice instructs you to do so. When approaching a roundabout, it may direct you to take the fifth exit (which is right), but after you're already on the roundabout, it may direct you to take the second or third exit instead. For some reason, it's fallen out of sync with its original intent, which is for you to choose the fifth option.

Do you feel like you're not making many 'right' or 'left' turns? They lean "slight right" or "slight left" in the majority. After a time, it starts to grate on my nerves.

Third, almost a year after they were included, several roads and roundabouts are still absent from the most up-to-date maps. Have seen this in France and the UK.

I recently attempted to locate a certain parking lot in Guidlford that has existed for at least 5 years, but I was unable due to the lack of POIs and the poor quality of the search results. I had to look it up on Google Maps and then type it into Comand by hand since it wasn't there. Like you, I've tried to look for a certain POI by name, only to be forced to manually zoom in on the map and discover it (and sure, it was named the same thing as I had typed in).

5. The map's speed restrictions are often incorrect. This may not seem like a big deal, but there is a little section of the M25 near Dartford where the map indicates that the speed limit is 40 miles per hour. If you're driving in semi-autonomous mode and reach this section, the car will abruptly slow down. Although it hasn't resulted in a collision just yet, things might quickly escalate if you were stuck in heavy traffic with an impatient driver right up your rear end, as often occurs on the M25.

I miss the little window that showed me how much time was left before my next turn, but that's just a nitpick.

7. It has poor street knowledge; for example, it may warn you to "prepare to turn right" when the road really only curves to the right. At the fork in the road, it may advise you to go straight on the majority of the time, but on other occasions, it may instruct you to travel in the other direction.

Voice instructions are interesting number eight. Little Bently is an Essex village. 'Lt Bently' appears on the road signage. It is pronounced "Leftenant Bently" by my GPS. Love the way the road sign reads "Newport (M4)" yet directs you in the direction of "Newport, open brackets M4 close brackets"?

You probably figured by now that the W213 is my biggest pet peeve. It's a real pity since, as you say, otherwise, it's a fantastic vehicle. That is, unless you include the row of controls for the atmosphere, which all seem to be identical and need you to take your eyes from the road in order to determine which one you really want to use.

Before this, I drove a W204 estate equipped with a Becker sat nav (not Comand), and it had many of the same shortcomings (albeit I was able to install speed cameras to that system). This (NTG5.5) is likewise powered by Becker and is a relic of the past when installed in a cutting-edge vehicle. It baffles me how a manufacturer of such groundbreaking F1 vehicles can rationalize such behavior. Before committing to a final design, they should do some rigorous usability testing.

I did take the initiative to contact MB's CEO with my thoughts, but he hasn't yet responded to my letter. Is there anybody from MB that checks the forums?

P.S. - Mercedes, I need to go out to the vehicle again. Again, I see that my windows are open. If the window fairy performs her job as it normally does, she will have shut the windows before I arrive.

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When we originally got ours, she was just as clingy, always complaining that the doors or windows were unlocked or open. Interestingly, the outcomes varied between the online app and the iPhone app. After a week, all of the 'assist' systems failed, and the automobile had to be sent to the shop. Everything was OK following a controller swap, but I still had to submit the faulty Mercedes Me reports and request a firmware upgrade. I have no clue whether anything was done, but since then, the news has been accurate. It could be more than a coincidence.

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I have to say that I agree. After three weeks with my W213, I can say that I am not impressed with comand 5.5. Even after renewing my subscription to all of the online Mercedes Me applications, I find the experience to be frustratingly sluggish, unresponsive, and generally unworthy of the Mercedes name. However, a DVD-based SatNav in a Mondeo from ten years ago outperforms it. Oh no. If you're technically savvy and up for a challenge, there are several hack sites in German that may be able to help you extract POIs from the SDcard slot. Best of luck.

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To give it a little bounce, is I correct in assuming that the Audio 20 option is superior or more refined for early W213s? I don't want to be let down, therefore I'm just looking at 2016 and 2017 models. Is the widescreen version of Audio 20 the best option?

I'm particularly curious about CarPlay.

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Here are some broad reflections on the preceding pages of this topic. Audio-20 is far more sluggish than COMAND. Before 2008, E-class vehicles were not equipped with the bigger screen or CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility for the Audio-20 (NTG5*2). Consequently, the digital cockpit was not available. Upgrades from Audio-20 NTG5*2 to COMAND NTG5.5 have been common, however they remove the speed restriction indicator that the Audio-20 had. There are significant differences in DAB operation between NTG5*2 and NTG5.5, which should be taken into account during retrofitting.

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Thanks! I tracked down a man from TM Motors who fixed the issue in 30 minutes.I spent £660 at Mercedes Slough last week and got nothing in return; they need two weeks to investigate how to install my water pump, my engine fan is spinning wildly, and they want another £500 to set up my command system.
Benz drivers at Slough and Heathrow should be avoided; they're worthless.

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The analysis is excellent. The same goes for me. NTG5.5 is a terrible SATNAV for a wonderful automobile; it's disappointing enough for a Lada. Favouirtes only allows for 20 entries, Previous Destinations for only around 60, and when you add new entries, the older ones automatically disappear. While it's a pain to enter new locations via the manual interface, the Mercedes Me app does enable you to transmit locations to the vehicle through the Map, but when they'll really arrive is anyone's guess.

I did discover a way around the storage space constraints, however. That is, you should compile a list of places in your contacts, which is especially helpful if you want to drive overseas but don't want to bring along all of your UK-based connections. Simply compile a contact list in Gmail, save it as a.VCF file (compatible with Apple Address Book, Windows Outlook, People, and Windows Contacts), save it on a USB stick, and then import it into the vehicle through USB1 into the Phone/Contacts submmenu. There are 3,500 items in the car's Contacts directory. You may make waypoints by following a certain naming/numbering protocol, in which non-alphanumeric letters like "(" occur before the alphabet. Entering the proper address is the difficult part. When using a Contact Address as a destination in NTG5.5, you must always provide a house number and choose the appropriate language to define the address in. Google Maps, Viamichelin, and the Mercedes Me App Map are the three mapping applications I use while in Spain; all three employ a confusing combination of Spanish, Basque, and Catalan to spell addresses. Validating each address before relying on the fact that it is accurately recognized by NTG5.5 while you're on the road is a time-consuming and laborious process. Oh, and NTG5.5 doesn't like shortened entries like "Av." for "Avenida" or "Avinguda," both of which are valid in Spain. It's a lot of effort, but you can create libraries for several nations, save them on USB drives, and then just remove your current contacts and replace them with those from the country you're visiting. It's straightforward after you've set it up, but many of you will probably decide you'd rather purchase a BMW or Audi the next time around.

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Good to know; appreciate the help!
I made new contacts in Outlook and sent them to myself in a single email; from there, I exported them to a USB drive as VCalender (.vcf) files. It's simple to transfer contacts from your phone to the car's system. since you point out, it's important to double-check each one, since the address could not be entirely recognized but will still get you to the right general area.

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