Mercedes-Benz is reported as being poised to join BMW as an automaker offering digital upgrades to vehicles following purchases.
According to Autoblog, the company will allow users downloadable content starting sometime within the first quarter of this year. Owners of the A-Class, B-Class and GLE will have access to the Mercedes ME app store and will also be able to add features to the MBUX system at the car's head unit.
Navigation, digital radio and smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be the first three applications given to drivers of the said models.
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Mercedes, though, is still rolling out their MBUX system and it remains to be seen how it will affect the U.S market as the units in America come with HD Radio, the equivalent of Europe's digital radio. The 2019 A-Class, which will come with the new MBUX system, includes smartphone integration standard and it is expected that the 2020 CLA will be equipped with same despite smartphone integration not being part of the 2019 version.
The option was part of a $2,300 Multimedia package but the CLA isn't on Mercedes' list of upgradable vehicles, although it is brother to the A-Class.
Navigation is likely to be the most relevant feature. And, while the company did not release prices for the upgrades, the report claims that a dealer option for navigation could cost around $1,150 as part of the Multimedia Package - including augmented reality and Traffic Sign Assist - on the A-Class.
Such content isn't new; BMW has been offering Apple CarPlay since 2017, albeit not allowing users the option of Android Auto, via a $300 dealer option in the BMW Connected Drive store. The 2019 model year has seen the one-price upgrade for CarPlay change to an $80 annual subscription fee, following a free year.
This should come as good news for users as they will be allowed access to the latest upgrades in navigation and - in Europe - digital radio, even on vehicles that are pre-owned. However, there is already some concern over how automakers will approach such features in general, with two major producers making downloadable content available.