Idiot’s guide

Mercedes Widescreen Cock­pit

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - PAUL HORRELL

It’s about the big­gest slab of di­givi­sual dis­play of any car. The E-Class Widescreen op­tion ac­tu­ally con­sists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side by side un­der a sin­gle glaze. It’s not just about size: graphics and res­o­lu­tion are pretty stun­ning.

On a 4cyl E, you have to spend £1,495 to go from ba­sic Garmin nav to the con­nected sys­tem that swells the cen­tral screen to 12.3 inches. Then you’re per­mit­ted to drop a fur­ther £825 on the widescreen, re­plac­ing ac­tual speedo, tacho and other gauges with the sec­ond 12.3-incher, con­fgurable in three difer­ent vis­ual de­signs, and mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions of info.

You can knock out the rev-counter and use that space for all man­ner of real-time fuel-use data. Or make space for mu­sic or phone info, both of which are con­trolled by pads on the wheel spokes. Plus you can par­ti­tion the cen­tral screen, split­ting into a main sec­tion and a sub-win­dow.

In prin­ci­ple, this is bril­liant. In prac­tice, not so much. Of­ten, you’ll fnd the info you want only by us­ing up a whole big dis­play, not one of the sub-win­dows. Use the sub-win­dow ahead of you to show the ra­dio sta­tion, and it misses out what track is play­ing. For that you need to evict the big map of the cen­tral screen. Why not move the map to one of the sub-win­dows, as in this pic? Be­cause it’s non-zoomable then. The whole sys­tem has sev­eral such id­io­cies. It’s over-re­dun­dant but un­der-fex­i­ble, and does noth­ing more use­ful than the stan­dard, and rather pretty, hard­ware di­als.

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