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my initial impression of all the "assists"

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my initial impression of all the "assists"

 
Old 02-06-2013, 01:29 AM
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my initial impression of all the "assists"

Had some quality time with my 2013 350BT..

Parking assist: took me a while to realize to get the prompt to auto-park you must engage reverse! I read the manual pages three times and could not find that little point. One thing, I find the little blue [P] symbol a bit distracting as it appears all the time below 30kmh, so appears in traffic.
Also as previously mentioned it is no guarantee of no gutter rash. You must look in the mirror (which tilts down) to verify your curb distance. I don't think the car "knows" the position of the curb.

Blind spot assist: very useful with a few caveats. One is that in slow traffic when you most need it (changing lanes) it stops working and is replaced by orange triangles and the parking assist symbol. The second issue is that it lingers a bit too long so if you are waiting for a gap, it will alarm (chimes) even if the car in the blind spot has left. I bet it alarms if you're indicating continuously to "make" a gap. I do like the feature though.

Distronic plus: Takes some time to be comfortable with it, the speed settings are shown by red LEDs in the speedo, for instance if you're at 40kmh and its set to 70kmh there are red leds from 40 to 70, to remind you how you're going to pickup speed. In non chaotic traffic it does a good job. When it comes to a halt it seems the brake stays on so you just pull the stalk to continue when the car in front moves off. Not recommended in urban areas because of course it has no awareness of roundabouts / sharper turns / conditions that need slowing for, and as soon as you touch the accelerator or brake it cancels. At minimum distance there is still enough space for someone uncouth to cut in on you. In some situations of changing traffic when you're travelling below set speed it will accelerate to close a gap to a slowing car, then brake harder than a driver would, in those cases it takes some ***** to not intervene. Best kept for freeways or tech demos to passengers.

Presafe stuff: I found the "red triangle with a car in it" warning appeared more than once, this is a "you are tailgating" warning, where it thinks you are too close to the car in front for the speed you're doing. Seems to go off with just less than 1 second of travel gap, which is pretty common where I am so it would be nice to adjust that downwards a bit..

ECO stop start: I haven't figured out the rhyme for this yet. I thought it would be suppressed below engine operating temp, but it was enabled (green) almost immediately upon starting the car cold with the engine temp well below operating temp. On this particular trip it worked for 20 minutes, then I reached my destination, turned around and went home and the green eco thing went yellow and stayed yellow for the return journey. I tried turning off the AC and it stayed yellow. I don't know why that would be.. it would not be the car battery condition, nor climate control demands. Also, I would prefer that it waits a second before cutting in when you stop, or only cuts in if you push the brake in a bit further than necessary. In some kinds of driving many stops are just slight pauses. The stop/start on the V6 can be felt more than on the 250, too.

Park distance sensors: the minimum distance (two red leds) is pretty generous. In some situations like my own home garage it is useless because it shows both red LEDs when there is still decent clearance. The extremities of this car are impossible to see I wonder if I can adjust it down, I'd like 1 red led to be close and 2 red leds to be all but touching. Just my preference.

Keyless: A little confusing, because combined with stop/start and how the electronics stay on until you exit the car, it isn't obvious that you've turned off the car. I wish the stop/start button had a light on it. Red for off. Green for on. If you park and went to P, but didn't push stop/start, and the engine is stopped, and you open the door (to leave), the engine starts. Stuff like that makes you go doh.

other things:

Navigation: Around my locale there are a ton of roundabouts. How hard could it be for the navigation unit to understand that "take the 2nd exit on the left" is an un-necessary instruction when the route is straight?

Factory stereo: it is ok, I've heard worse factory sound. Honestly I expected it would be poorer quality than it is.

Attention Assist: The coffee cup symbol is permanently on (indicating attention assist is not disabled) and bugs me a bit. Unlike what is depicted in the manual, my coffee symbol is not showing hot lines coming off it. Is it suggesting iced coffee? I like coffee, every time I see it, I think of coffee. I don't like to reminded of how long since the last coffee. I wish it was off unless the attention assist thing triggers. If attention assist is disabled, it should show a coffee cup with a red cross over it, and nothing if it is on.

The brushed chrome surround around the head unit on the dash can glare back quite badly from about 11 to 3pm in summer.

Last edited by jellies; 02-06-2013 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:40 AM
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The small coffee cup means it's paying attention to your driving. The actual alert is a larger graphic (cup with steam) that will take over the middle of your display.

I would be concerned if my highway following distance was so close that the alert was going off. Typical or no, it is more dangerous than following at a greater distance, and I don't think it's worth the increased risk -- not just to me, but to the people behind me if I have to suddenly brake (or potentially much worse, dart out of the lane leaving them no time to react) to avoid a collision.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Parking assist:
Usless for my purposes but I can see where some might like it.

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Blind spot assist:
I have "active" blind spot assist that took me a while to get used to but I'm now glad I have it.
Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Distronic plus:
What I like most about Distronic Plus/Presafe is the automatic braking feature.It's never deployed for me (no real emergencies yet) but there's a guy on this site who says it deployed for him and it worked surprisingly well.He had high praise for the feature.

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Presafe stuff:
See above

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
ECO stop start:
Don't have it.
Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Park distance sensors:
Useless for me.Others certainly might disagree.

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Keyless:
Don't have it...don't want it.


Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Navigation:
IMO it's pretty good but not as good as in my BMW.

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Factory stereo:
I have the HK "premium" sound.Quite good...nothing more,nothing less.

Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Attention Assist:
I get alarms pretty frequently (lots of long highway trips).Some are false alarms,some are legit.So for me sometimes it's annoying and sometimes it's helpful.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ciparis View Post
I would be concerned if my highway following distance was so close that the alert was going off. Typical or no, it is more dangerous than following at a greater distance, and I don't think it's worth the increased risk -- not just to me, but to the people behind me if I have to suddenly brake (or potentially much worse, dart out of the lane leaving them no time to react) to avoid a collision.
No argument for me but there are some stretches of road in sydney that are competitive yet move fairly fast. People drive in close formation, at 80kmh, 3 lanes wide. Leaving a mercedes approved gap means that more than likely some ******* will insert themselves in front of you - and of course then you get the red triangle anyway!

I quite agree with the intent but you can't fight city hall sometimes. A sub-menu that made it a bit less sensitive would be nice.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:14 PM
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:13 AM
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as a drivers car it sucks
but I do like and appreciate the tech toys!
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jellies View Post
Presafe stuff: I found the "red triangle with a car in it" warning appeared more than once, this is a "you are tailgating" warning, where it thinks you are too close to the car in front for the speed you're doing.
I've gotta try tailgating somebody to see if mine is working properly. The only time I've seen it go off is at this particular intersection: maps.google.com, and only on very cold days when the road is snow packed / icy.

The first time it went off I was quite startled - I thought that something catastrophic must be wrong with the engine or something since there was no traffic around me at the time. It's done it to me several times since then at that exact same location. I wonder if it has something to do with the traffic monitoring systems (see the top of the traffic light poles), I suspect they use radar to control the timing of the lights. Perhaps one is a bit broken and transmitting at the same frequency as the pre-safe system?
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:42 PM
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I've had the "tailgating" warning appear a few times myself but the one feature I think I will end up turning off is the active lane assist. The other day I was in the far right lane of the freeway and noticed a large wooden board in the middle of the lane. I couldn't go to the left because another car was alongside of me so I swerved to the right into the emergency lane to avoid the board. Well, the lane assist thought I was drifting out of my lane and applied the brakes on the left side and swung the car right back into the lane and I just barely missed the board.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jellies View Post
People drive in close formation, at 80kmh, 3 lanes wide. Leaving a mercedes approved gap means that more than likely some ******* will insert themselves in front of you - and of course then you get the red triangle anyway!
Well, one thing nice about Distronic: you no longer have to care what other drivers do in front of you when driving in traffic -- within reason, of course. It really takes a load of stress off of driving in those situations; just pick a distance and let the car deal with it. Driving in rush hour becomes so much more pleasant -- it really is a mandatory option for me now. Let the drones drone on; I'm listening to my music. Or thinking.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:43 AM
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I agree to a point about not caring. One thing I dislike is if distronic "happens upon" stationary traffic it will drive right into the back of it at the set speed. Stationary traffic is invisible to it, unless it was first noticed when it was moving.

The stalk is an ergonomic mess. Did you notice the little yellow LED? I can't see mine - the chubby steering wheel obscures it. Only someone very VERY familiar with it can tell what mode the car is currently in at a glance. The manual on it drip feeds bits of info on distronic plus interspersed with dont-sue-us warning boxes over many random pages. It badly needs a single page of well phrased explanation.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:02 AM
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I pretty much drive with the stalk on the highway, just using the 5mph increments after initially setting it. After driving that way with my E350 the last 2 years, it feels weird to use the pedal for long.

There's a yellow LED? 0.o
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ciparis View Post
Well, one thing nice about Distronic: you no longer have to care what other drivers do in front of you when driving in traffic -- within reason, of course. It really takes a load of stress off of driving in those situations; just pick a distance and let the car deal with it. Driving in rush hour becomes so much more pleasant -- it really is a mandatory option for me now. Let the drones drone on; I'm listening to my music. Or thinking.
Bad habit to get into when you switch cars.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:05 AM
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I didn't order Distronic, but the steering wheel shakes or vibrates if I get too close to the vehicle in front, and I hear a ding or bell if I ignore the vibration. So just what is it I have?
If the road is slushy and spray has plugged the sensors up front, then there is no vibration or bell (alarm).
I love the cruise control (not when it's icy), I can increase or decrease the speed in 1 km/h increments.
The keyless go is sometimes frustrating, I can start the vehicle, lock and leave the vehicle, open the trunk lid, but it refuses to open the front drivers door. I have to take it out of my pocket and wave it around to open the door.
The "P" for the Parktronic is always on. Is that the correct way to have it? or do I push the button on the Dash so that it glows red all the time, which I think means that it's off.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:27 AM
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the vibration is lane assist. mine has a pic of the car inside two lane lines thus goes green when it is tracking the lane. if you let the car drift to the lane marking when it is green, there are a few buzzes in the steering. if you drift further you can feel a braking pull the car a bit, and a big picture appears with one marking shown in red.

it works ok for freeways but for winding single lane roads I don't think even senna can drive the car without getting buzzes, because one naturally needs to smooth out corners and get close to markings, if not actually over them which gets the braking surprise. I can see a scenario on fast narrow roads common in the australian country where you allow the car to drift toward the breakdown lane to position it for an oncoming truck that is going to get uncomfortably close, and get nailed/scared by the braking correction...
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kaasmann View Post
The "P" for the Parktronic is always on. Is that the correct way to have it? or do I push the button on the Dash so that it glows red all the time, which I think means that it's off.
The P for the Parktronic should turn off at about 20 mph, if the P is on above 20 mph, time to have it checked out. If you press the button on the dash you are turning it off.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jellies View Post
it works ok for freeways but for winding single lane roads I don't think even senna can drive the car without getting buzzes, because one naturally needs to smooth out corners and get close to markings, if not actually over them which gets the braking surprise. I can see a scenario on fast narrow roads common in the australian country where you allow the car to drift toward the breakdown lane to position it for an oncoming truck that is going to get uncomfortably close, and get nailed/scared by the braking correction...
One thing you can do to help avoid those is tap the turn signal before crossing a line. Then it'll leave you alone.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:39 PM
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I turned off highbeam assist (it was too easily fooled) and the collision warning (ditto). I had Parktronic before and never really used it (and parking with a tree or bush in front of the space set it off) so I didn't get it this time. The attention assist seems innocent, but I wish I could use the space in the cluster for something else (maybe displaying speed and fuel economy at the same time).
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:11 PM
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yeah I'm now thinking most of it is work in progress. I'm also thinking Mercedes are doing it wrong by introducing these features slowly so they only work in very clean situations. They should just give up and license the google self-driving technology and then there would be a single button: Self drive, and co-pilot like interference with the driver decisions only when the co-pilot is correct (captain, we're going to crash).

auto parking - no good for grabbing a quick space. You must be careful it doesn't drive the back wheels into the curb, therefore not good for even the reverse parking challenged.

attention assist - false alarms (apparently)

auto high beams - slow to react, which means you may need high beam and not have it.

pre-safe braking - minimum convoy following distance can't be adjusted downwards to reduce false alert. Strangely split personality about stopping in time vs reducing crash severity.

lane keeping assist - goes off on fast narrow roads all the time. Seems more like some kind of warped attention assist feature to me.

Blind spot detection - disabled at slow speeds, when I would like it.

Park distance control lights - why put the rear ones in the rear? if you're looking at the reversing camera screen you can't see them..

Distronic cruise control - regularly makes inefficient braking or acceleration decisions in situations more complex than steady speed on a freeway.

Stop start - there isn't really a subtle and easy way for the driver to communicate that a stop is going to be very brief. Thus although mostly welcome it sometimes annoys because there is a slight stop and start shudder, and a slight increase in GO delay.

basically they are all beta versions of something that in 2020 might work near flawlessly.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:50 PM
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Agree with most of your comments. Distronic has been available for almost 10 years. Parktronic almost as long. So that is the world's longest Beta test. The rest of the features are very new.

I consulted with MB on many of these features. Not as a technical input but as a consumer with opinions. They are really trying to make all this work but there are a ton of legal exposures that they are dealing with so they have to be very conservative on the application of the technology.

The other thing they are working on is how to package the various features. Over time, many of these will be considered standard features but, in the meantime, they are continually looking at how to package them into option packages.

Last edited by red308; 02-14-2013 at 07:52 PM.
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