Why has Mercedes decided to move the gear shifter to the steering column - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Why has Mercedes decided to move the gear shifter to the steering column

Just wanted to hear all your opinion on Mercedes' decision to move the gear shifter from the center console to the steering column. They started with the ML, S, CL, GL, E and now the new CLS. Although I have seen some pictures and videos of the W212 E class "SEDAN" with the gear shifter on the center console. Is this an option for certain countries? I know the E coupe still has it in the center for all countries.

Personally, I prefer the shifter to be in the center....the steering column mount reminds me too much of an old Buick. I know this design frees up room for the center but I don't really need that area as the armrest compartment is good enough storage space. I never had issues with the foldup cup holders in previous Mercedes. Ironic how BMW went from the steering column mount back to a center console mount with their new 7 series and Mercedes vice versa.

What's your thoughts/opinions on this?
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 06:43 AM
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I like the extra space on the console. It can give more room for another storage space/cup holder which I prefer.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 10:02 AM
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Since last decade controls are all electronics, the shifter is technically no longer needed to start with. It could be wheel buttons, or sliding switch on the dashboard. My guess is that the shifter lasted as long as it did due the human not adopting to new technology too well. Exact sample with cellphones few years back, that had dummy pull out antennas that was no longer needed for the phone.
I would appreciate the center room for my laptop that I am using for GPS. Have the special table for it, but than shifting the gears under is pretty difficult.
Also spilling coffee on the column (read the horrors stories in W210 section) is less likely.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 09:07 PM
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They should have done it a long time ago.
In my old car, the layout is bad ergonomics. in Park, I can't see the cigarette lighter. In Drive, I can't see the button to roll down the front passenger's window.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Decboy View Post

Personally, I prefer the shifter to be in the center....the steering column mount reminds me too much of an old Buick.
This is EXACTLY how I feel about column shifters.Not to mention my BMW is a manual so I am used to reaching down there anyway.

I hope they keep the center shifter on the sportier cars at least.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 01:26 PM
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You might check the W210 forum to read all the woes of those who have spilled a drink into their shifter mechanism.

While I kind of prefer the "slap shift" mechanism whereby one can move the lever on the console left/right to affect something akin to manual shifting, the fact is that paddles or buttons on the steering wheel are more popular (like Formula 1 you know). Given that, there's not much left for the shift lever to do and very little difference, then, between console mount and column mount.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 02:12 PM
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Than even bulldozers are using joystick for last decade. Why shouldn't luxury cars do the same?
I guess MB should offer the joystick with long cable and some self stick tape, so the owner can install it whenever he wants? Even on his forehead
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 03:56 PM
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If I'd invoke the wrong reasons, I'd oppose the lever removal. However, I like the prospective of an F1 style steering wheel with buttons or levers replacing the shifter.

The wrong reason I see is the starting electronic nightmare to bring the harness and control manufacturers in line for a reliable non-conventional new assembly. But if MB QC gets the act together it will be a successful novelty change associated to a substantial cost saving.

A car would show appreciation for preventive maintenance by never leaving his owner stranded.

Defensive Driving is never having to say you're sorry: a true love story between man and machine.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-16-2010, 07:31 PM
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I don't see much good in the design of last decade. Reliable?>>>> ask owners of ML with W163, althought W210 is not that much better.
Big boards need to be replaced because one contact goes bad. It shouldn't cost $1000
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 09:40 AM
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Can I revive this old thread? I'm looking to buy an S class 2007-2010 ish or an E class 2008-2011 ish.

Some of the used cars I'm looking at (in their online ads) say that they have paddles for shifting. This is cool.

Some of them though don't mention it, so I'm looking at that steering column P-R-N-D shifter and wondering whether it also does + and - gear shifts by pushing and pulling it rather than moving it up/down/in. If not, do any of the steering wheel buttons do shifting?

I've spent the last 5 years in my BMW 545 automatic in manual mode using the center console shifter to give me manual control (forward for down and towards me for up). I'm a bit concerned that if I buy one of these S or E models that doesn't have proper paddles, I'll completely lose any chance of manual input. That would be horrendous.

Last edited by d4005; 11-03-2013 at 10:11 AM.
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