motoring / 13/10/2017

Quick look: Mercedes Me

Mercedes-Benz has an app for drivers to be kept up-to-date with their vehicle status, the news, and access to the digital manual of the car. Earlier this year I was introduced to Mercedes Me [read my initial post here] and only got to experience it through a demo. The reason for this is that your user profile needs to be paired to the VIN number of the car, and it can only be done through the dealership.

In my case, Mercedes-Benz set it up for me at their head office, and I got to experience it on the E-Class Coupé. The only other car app I’ve tested extensively (not to be confused with infotainment systems that I’ve used), is my own MINI Connected app, so naturally, I was always comparing the two in the back of my mind. Both have its merits.

The Mercedes Me app does bring some dashboard features to it, but that is dependent on the car model you have. I was told the remote locking and unlocking feature will be coming next year to the S-Class (the ones with with the NFC chips) where you can use your phone as the key, and some high end models will let you set the temperature of the vehicle before getting into it. The E200 I drove did not have these functions, or the remote parking feature, which I am going to experience soon.

The app has four main tabs at the bottom of the screen: home; a location pin (it never loaded for me); news; and assistance. At a glance on the home screen you can see a catalogue pic of your car, the fuel levels (percentage left on tank, and range), lock/unlock status, and last trip summary. The last trip summary brings up your trips since you paired the car to your app, and since the car was reset. So two screens of information. I was expecting more details on all my trips like I have access to on the MINI Connected app, but alas it doesn’t offer a trip log feature. The basic summary is consumption; distance travelled; time driven; and average speed. That is it. Whereas my car shows me all my trips I’ve taken whilst I am connected to it, like speed, distance, and fuel consumption and a map overlay. 

Where the app really shines is other useful information about the car, like tire pressure monitoring, next service, brake lining status, brake fluid, door lock, battery, windows, coolant, washer fluid, sunroof, etc. Instead of looking at these functions manually inside your car, you can just give the app a quick glance to see what it displayed in red, that needs your attention. Very useful.

The assistance tab is one of my favourites. Aside from the how-to videos linking to YouTube (I didn’t really look at these), it tells you what warning lights on the car mean. So you don’t need to whip out the chunky booklet (I remember doing this on my Fiat) to see what each light means.  It is listed very neatly with the icon, causes and solutions. Some are very in-depth, and include several causes (of course).

The news tab is just filled with Mercedes related content if you want to keep abreast of the company.

Overall, the app is very useful. Once your handset is paired to the car, it will automatically connect to the app when you get into the car, as apposed to my MINI where you can only connect via a cable. I like the wireless connectivity. It also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features, which I used as well. I don’t use Apple Maps, so I had my Google Maps transmit audio to the car instead, while listening to my Apple Music playlists. The navigation audio takes priority when it comes on, naturally.

Other features I found handy was while I was driving, it reminded me when I was low on fuel and prompted to find the nearest petrol station. I was impressed with how up to date it was, and opted to get directions, which uses in-car navigation (Mercedes Benz own maps feature) not from my phone. 

The E-Class has other functionality, like a Concierge service. I experienced this from the car, while in the company of a Merc rep. It uses an integrated SIM inside the vehicle to make calls. They know where you are, what car you are driving (model and year). You can call and ask what warning signs mean (if you don’t want to look on the app), you can ask where’s the nearest vet, restaurant, ask them to make bookings on your behalf, send directions to anywhere you’re heading out to. It really add that extra bit of luxury you can appreciate. I hate doing admin, and if I can doing it while driving or sitting in traffic, how efficient, and a great way to pass time, haha. I was told that next year, you will be able to ask the concierge to order flowers for you, book movie or theatre tickets etc. Payment for this is linked to your credit card, that is attached to your profile, and nobody has access to it, just that your accounts will be billed to it.

I will be testing the remote parking feature and sharing more on that soon.



Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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