The MBUX represents a unique belt-and-suspenders, suspenders-and-belt approach to human factors. MBUX incorporates no less than four input devices: the landscape-oriented center touch screen; the haptic-response, pressure-sensitive touchpad in the center console; phone-like capacitive buttons and roller selectors embedded in the arms of the steering wheel; and what Daimler AG optimistically calls “natural speech recognition”—or, as the glitchy system itself might hear it, “Slap your feet on the ignition.”
But the MBUX’s interfacing redundancy is just beginning. This thing has more buttons than a hussar’s tunic. There are hard switches at the bottom of the center stack, for instant summoning of climate, navi, audio, vehicle systems and favorites displays. Just above that is a discrete panel for climate control switches and, in the middle of that, a knurled paddle switch marked MENU that brings up—what?—the climate control’s home-page animation, where airflow and temperature, represented in waves of blue and red, can be fine-tuned.