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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My dealer informed me, and MBUSA has now confirmed, that there will be no more nav map updates for NTG 3.5 (MY 2010-2013 S-Class and 2010-2014 CL). The last release was BQ 6 46 0341, v.14.0, for calendar years 2015-2016.

The MB nav map update site for MY 2007-2009 S-Class and CL indicates that v.15.0, BQ 6 46 0340, also covering calendar years 2015-2016 is the last release for NTG 3.0 systems.

Personally, I find that infuriating. V.14.0 was the only update for NTG 3.5 after the 2013 model was produced. Its road data dates from 2014, and it contains errors that were a problem even when the discs came out (among other things I am constantly told to take an exit on I-275 in Tampa where none exists; they were detours during road construction). Cutting W221 and CL owners off after just one update is simply ridiculous, and will have me looking at other brands for my next car purchase.

The message for NTG 3.5 owners from MBUSA said specifically:

"We can confirm that there will not be additional navigation updates for the NTG 3.5.

"We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts We welcome your feedback as it is invaluable in our on-going efforts to provide a product that meets the demands of our customers.

"While we cannot promise this will change in the future, it is comments such as yours that help us to provide feedback to the appropriate individuals within our organization, so they can consider improving upon the features available for our products."

That language suggests that perhaps with enough feedback from W221 and CL owners, perhaps they could reconsider and at least one more update might be released. I note that for the '05-'06 W220s, map updates were released covering dates through 2014, eight years after the last W220 was produced. Here, we get three. That is a sorry decision by Mercedes, and we owners should say so. The email address is [email protected]

So, for newer maps we are left with workarounds. There are several ways to get smart phone data displayed on your COMAND screen. That can include the maps, including those with turn-by-turn instructions, often used in iPhones, Android phones, and iPads.

One such solution was presented by member hilarushi at https://www.benzworld.org/forums/audio-telematics-forum/2999305-mirroring-iphone-android-phones-comand.html - it is a wireless solution using the phone as a wi-fi hot spot transmitting to a wi-fi rebroadcaster (such as Anycast) with an HDMI output that in turns feeds into a device that converts the HDMI output to analog RCA output (https://www.amazon.com/s/?url=search-alias=aps&tag=youcanic-20&rh=n:15684181&field-keywords=HDMI2AV+Converter), in turn feeding into the MMI aux inputs that can be selected and displayed on the COMAND screen. One would have to use that somewhat balky setup with a Video In Motion device (I would recommend the one by NAVIKS, having used one for a brief time). The setup can be used with either iPhone or Android.

A second method is wired; using an Apple Lightning to HDMI output cable (https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=ab99a1982b845e72eabfed9bbc128bdb646b46bb4a5f4eacb044fdf55d0b57b45e92f2832d9c7f53204b012a4b4b405a8daab250a81ff86bcf72e675faafbf38b8257455399e85eef67cadc2c02fbd989c4e20d6a519f778df5c5f5782896ea6), one that then connects via an HDMI cabe to the same HDMI-to-analog device used in the wi-fi connection above. Selection of the RCA video is again made on the "Video" menu of COMAND. I do not know if iPhones having 30-pin output will work as well, but there are a number of HDMI adapters for various Apple devices. I have not explored similar cables for Android.

A third method is to use a video interface such as that by NAVIKS - https://naviks.com/i-24075303-2010-2013-mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-hdmi-video-integration-interface.html. It is also used together with an iPhone HDMI interface, and North American cars require a Video In Motion bypass device as well (https://naviks.com/i-21933022-2010-2013-mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-video-in-motionbypass.html). All together, including additional cables, etc., your'e looking at nearly $650 for a DIY installation.

All of those methods transmit audio together with the smart phone map display, so you can get turn-by-turn instructions. None of the methods offers nav data on the multifunction display. The first two methods involve a bundle of unsightly wires that would need to be hidden, and require a power source. Frankly, I would only use such a setup if I were traveling in an area I am totally unfamiliar with, and I'd be tempted to do it just using an iPad instead of using all that stuff.

There is also a fourth method, which actually involves replacing the OE COMAND monitor. It involves a replacement unit (the monitor, in any case) for COMAND 3.0 and 3.5 that offers Android compatibility, but as yet it does not offer Apple CarPlay. https://www.sardincar.com/mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-10-25-android-gps-navigation-system-multimedia-player/.There is much more at https://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w221/710915-w221-android-touchscreen.html (but you'll have to sort through some snarky posts - sorry) - but this site says its unit offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility (via a 4G hotspot). I have no experience at all with this system, and the first website (at the time of this post) does not provide pricing; the second indicates about $675. I do not know if this unit is for the CL.

There is also another device for adding Apple CarPlay OR Android Auto to your existing screen. This is not a screen replacement (which, I believe, add a wi-fi hotspot to the car for connection to the phone; please correct me if I am wrong). Contact info for the product below is https://www.youtube.com/navtool). Product selection, pricing etc. are available via https://www.navtool.com/mercedes-benz-s-class-main-category.aspx. The first link below provides a demo of the Apple CarPlay capability; the second shows installation and programming.
.

Thanks loads, Mercedes! I will certainly keep this lack of support in mind the next time I go car shopping.
 

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Registered
2007 S550; 2014 ML350
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9 Posts
My dealer informed me, and MBUSA has now confirmed, that there will be no more nav map updates for NTG 3.5m (MY 2010-2013 S-Class and CL). The last release was BQ 6 46 0341, ver. 14.0, for 2015-2016.

Already, the MB nav map update site for MY 2007-2009 S-Class and CL indicates that ver. 15.0, also covering 2015-2016 is the last release for NTG 3.0 systems; it is BQ 6 46 0340.

Personally, I find that infuriating. Ver. 14.0 was the only update for NTG 3.5 after the 2013 model was produced. Its road data dates from 2014, and it contains errors that were errors even when the discs came out (among other things I am constantly told to take an exit on I-275 in Tampa where none exists; they were detours during road construction). Cutting W221 and CL owners off after just one update is simply ridiculous, and will have me looking at other brands for my next car purchase.

The message for NTG 3.5 owners from MBUSA said specifically:

"We can confirm that there will not be additional navigation updates for the NTG3.5.

"We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts We welcome your feedback as it is invaluable in our on-going efforts to provide a product that meets the demands of our customers.

"While we cannot promise this will change in the future, it is comments such as yours that help us to provide feedback to the appropriate individuals within our organization, so they can consider improving upon the features available for our products."

That language suggests that perhaps with enough feedback from W221 and CL owners, perhaps they could reconsider and at least one more update might be released. I note that for the '05-'06 W220s, map updates were released covering dates through 2014, eight years after the last W220 was produced. Here, we get three. That is a sorry decision by Mercedes, and we owners should say so. The email address is [email protected]

So, for newer maps we are left with workarounds. There are several ways to get smart phone data displayed on your COMAND screen. That can include the maps, including those with turn-by-turn instructions, often used in iPhones, Android phones, and iPads.

One such solution was presented by member hilarushi at https://www.benzworld.org/forums/audio-telematics-forum/2999305-mirroring-iphone-android-phones-comand.html - it is a wireless solution using the phone as a wi-fi hot spot transmitting to a wi-fi rebroadcaster (such as Anycast) with an HDMI output that in turns feeds into a device that converts the HDMI output to analog RCA output (https://www.amazon.com/s/?url=search-alias=aps&tag=youcanic-20&rh=n:15684181&field-keywords=HDMI2AV+Converter), in turn feeding into the MMI aux inputs that can be selected and displayed on the COMAND screen. One would have to use that somewhat balky setup with a Video In Motion device (I would recommend the one by NAVIKS, having used one for a brief time). The setup can be used with either iPhone or Android.

A second method is wired; using an Apple Lightning to HDMI output cable (https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=ab99a1982b845e72eabfed9bbc128bdb646b46bb4a5f4eacb044fdf55d0b57b45e92f2832d9c7f53204b012a4b4b405a8daab250a81ff86bcf72e675faafbf38b8257455399e85eef67cadc2c02fbd989c4e20d6a519f778df5c5f5782896ea6), one that then connects via an HDMI cabe to the same HDMI-to-analog device used in the wi-fi connection above. Selection of the RCA video is again made on the "Video" menu of COMAND. I do not know if iPhones having 30-pin output will work as well, but there are a number of HDMI adapters for various Apple devices. I have not explored similar cables for Android.

Both methods transmit audio together with the smart phone map display, so you can get turn-by-turn instructions. Neither method offers nav data on the multifunction display. Both methods involve a bundle of unsightly wires that would need to be hidden, and require a power source. Frankly, I would only use such a setup if I were traveling in an area I am totally unfamiliar with, and I'd be tempted to do it just using an iPad instead of using all that stuff.

Thanks loads, Mercedes! I will certainly keep this lack of support in mind the next time I go car shopping.
How much would this cost MB! Most MB owners are long term and multi-car owners. I have owned 7 over the last 20 yrs. I guess it's Google Maps from here!
 

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Registered
2012 S350 BlueTEC (2), 2005 S430, 2005 E320 CDI
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220 Posts
Just fired off an email to MBUSA expressing concern over having the map updates to continue. If others would do the same, just maybe we might get another update. It only takes a minute or two...
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
Joined
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I have as well, seubill - here is what I wrote, and anyone who wishes to copy or adapt the language, please do.

Your message in response to my query (Incident 180824-000015) said specifically:

"We can confirm that there will not be additional navigation updates for the NTG3.5.

"We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts We welcome your feedback as it is invaluable in our on-going efforts to provide a product that meets the demands of our customers.

"While we cannot promise this will change in the future, it is comments such as yours that help us to provide feedback to the appropriate individuals within our organization, so they can consider improving upon the features available for our products."

Therefore, I provide comment.

In addition to NTG 3.5 (MY 2010-2013 S-Class and CL, BQ 6 46 0341, v.14.0, for calendar years 2015-2016) the MB nav map update site for MY 2007-2009 S-Class and CL indicates that v.15.0, BQ 6 46 0340, also covering calendar years 2015-2016 was the last release for NTG 3.0 systems.

I find that infuriating. V.14.0 was the ONLY update for NTG 3.5 after the 2013 model was produced. That decision cuts off updates after issuing only one post-production on those models; and the V.14.0 update contains road data from 2014, and is approaching five years old. Cutting W221 and CL owners off after just one update is something I view as a betrayal, and that decision, if not reversed, will have me looking at other brands for my next car purchase.

I note that for the ’05-’06 W220s, four post-production map updates were released covering dates through 2014, eight years after the last W220 was produced. Here, we get three years of additional coverage, via only ONE update. That is a sorry decision by Mercedes. The tight integration of the NTG 3.5 with the car’s other systems prevents head unit replacement as a viable option. While there are several ways to get smart phone navigation data displayed on the NTG 3.5 and 3.0 COMAND screens, those alternatives involve running wires all over the console, and to the glove compartment to feed in through the Multimedia interface. That’s a great luxury car image, Mercedes: To stay current in a relatively late-model Mercedes, run wires all over the place to feed data to the COMAND display.

No, thanks. Even a Chevy doesn’t require that. And I note that your 2018 S-Class offers three years of “complimentary updates valued at nearly $750” according to the site at MB | General Error | HERE - which, according to pricing for the NTG 3.5 updates, would cover three separate updates. That makes it even more difficult to understand terminating NTG 3.5 support with one update.

I understand that profitability is always a concern for any auto manufacturer. However, I point out that updated navigation data is already available; it is being used in newer COMAND systems, and HERE! Maps produces current discs not only for Mercedes but for many brands of cars. The software and firmware for NTG 3.0 and 3.5 is proprietary to Mercedes (or its head unit manufacturer) already. The difference in cost would be almost negligible, especially if you used a pre-order system to minimize excess production. I will point out that one of the disincentives for updating those systems, especially NTG 3.5, was predatory pricing by some dealerships. One dealer I used to do business with tried to sell me the disc set for $249, then charge me an hourly labor rate for installation that totaled another $250. $500 is way too much to charge for a nav map update, and owners know it. We like driving our cars, but we don’t like being taken for a ride.

Another Mercedes dealer I now take my car to for service charged $20 for the disc set, and $230 for the vehicle-unique code (licensing) and the installation. That is in line with what I have paid before for updates of my other Mercedes cars (I have been an owner of five since 2003), and is a much fairer price. It is also the pricing scheme the parts manager at the first dealership told me was applicable, before they tried to stiff me for $500.

It seems to me that by controlling the prices your dealers charge for map updates, profitability issues on the map update would be minimized — especially when you compare it to the cost of lost new car sales that will result from this policy.

As an alternative, Mercedes might consider offering a module for purchase that would permit retrofitting NTG 3.0 and 3.5 units with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, without running visible wiring across the console. But cutting owners of cars using NTG 3.0 and 3.5, especially NTG 3.5 off at one post-production update is a very bad move that I encourage the decision makers at Mercedes to reconsider.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
UPDATE: I received a courtesy call from a Mercedes Customer Care "Executive Referral Manager" three weeks ago; he said he would try to get a definitive answer to this issue and get back to me. No return call, despite my subsequent efforts to contact him.

UPDATE 9/28/2018 -: After a month of trying, I did receive an updated response from Mercedes Customer Assistance today:

"I have confirmed with our product specialists that there is not a new update out for the NTG 3.5 systems, and we do not have knowledge of when an update will be released.

"Should you need to contact us via email in the future, please visit the www.MBUSA.com Contact Us page."

While that is a disappointing outcome, it does not seem to foreclose the possibility that another release could occur in the future. I suggest that MY 2010-2013 W221 (S-Class) and 2009-2014 W216 (CL Class) owners make such contact, and let them know of your interest in an update.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
Joined
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
UPDATE 10/2/2018

An Executive Referral Manager from MBUSA called today to confirm that there will be no further updates to the navigation maps for NTG 3.5; v.14.0 is the final release. Version 15.0 is also the final release for NTG 3.0.

The first post in this thread has been updated to provide some alternatives for current maps.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
Joined
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Could you give us more detail about what you don't like?
 

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Registered
2006 CLS500
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30 Posts
Could you give us more detail about what you don't like?
If you’re talking about the NavTool… The car audio does not work… And because the screen is so old the resolution is not very clear… And there’s no touchscreen so everything is done through the controller knob
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
Joined
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10,874 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks for responding. Yes, I was discussing the NavTool, because I have been interested in it as a product that would not require replacement of the OE system, but instead, supplement it. True, the NavTool retains the OE screen, which is not a touchscreen (and also does not pick up annoying fingerprints, as a touch screen does). Those of us who have the COMAND system are already familiar with operation of the controller knob, so that might be viewed as a plus. As to screen resolution, that could be a concern. How are you connecting your phone to the system? Do you use the device with the HDMI input (e.g., with a Lightning to HDMI adapter if it's an iPhone), or are you using some other method such as a wi-fi connection? If you have tried both, is there a difference?

Some of the other systems linked in the first post create a wi-fi hotspot to connect to the screen, which I would guess would not be particularly clear.

Regarding audio, do you mean that the OE audio system (or input) is no longer functional? If I understood the NavTool website's video properly, there was a way to disable the NavTool output and revert to the OE COMAND screen, using a button on the telephone keypad. Is that for video only? Do I understand correctly that if one installs the NavTool system that one is limited to whatever you have connected to it (e.g., a phone), and lose other audio sources such as radio or CDs? What is the model year of your car? The connections to audio differ between the '07-'09 and the '10-'13; my uneducated guess was that at least in '10-'13, connection to the MMI RCA jacks would still leave other MMI inputs selectable via COMAND.

Some of the other options shown in the first post would entirely replace the OE screen, but we haven't had much feedback on those either. We'd love to have some.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
2010 E350 P1/P2, 2008 S550 Designo, 2002 ML320
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So, I have replaced my COMAND display with an Android unit. No going back now!
 

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2006 CLS500
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30 Posts
Thanks for responding. Yes, I was discussing the NavTool, because I have been interested in it as a product that would not require replacement of the OE system, but instead, supplement it. True, the NavTool retains the OE screen, which is not a touchscreen (and also does not pick up annoying fingerprints, as a touch screen does). Those of us who have the COMAND system are already familiar with operation of the controller knob, so that might be viewed as a plus. As to screen resolution, that could be a concern. How are you connecting your phone to the system? Do you use the device with the HDMI input (e.g., with a Lightning to HDMI adapter if it's an iPhone), or are you using some other method such as a wi-fi connection? If you have tried both, is there a difference?

Some of the other systems linked in the first post create a wi-fi hotspot to connect to the screen, which I would guess would not be particularly clear.

Regarding audio, do you mean that the OE audio system (or input) is no longer functional? If I understood the NavTool website's video properly, there was a way to disable the NavTool output and revert to the OE COMAND screen, using a button on the telephone keypad. Is that for video only? Do I understand correctly that if one installs the NavTool system that one is limited to whatever you have connected to it (e.g., a phone), and lose other audio sources such as radio or CDs? What is the model year of your car? The connections to audio differ between the '07-'09 and the '10-'13; my uneducated guess was that at least in '10-'13, connection to the MMI RCA jacks would still leave other MMI inputs selectable via COMAND.

Some of the other options shown in the first post would entirely replace the OE screen, but we haven't had much feedback on those either. We'd love to have some.
Audio system sounds fine...but using the phone does not sound good.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
2010 E350 P1/P2, 2008 S550 Designo, 2002 ML320
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I've had it since July, only one issue so far and that was a failed part replaced for free. The display is bright enough to see during a Phoenix day and automatically dims with the MB dash. I have Waze and Spotify loaded on it and have it connected via a T-Mobile SyncUp drive module to the Internet. One of my favorite things is that you can set it to automatically start navigation on startup. Then Waze checks the time of day and asks if you're heading home/work and finds the best route.

I installed it myself, using the information on the mbworld forum.
 

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Premium Member
2006 S55 AMG - 2007 SL55 AMG P030 -2007 S65 AMG
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243 Posts
I've had it since July, only one issue so far and that was a failed part replaced for free. The display is bright enough to see during a Phoenix day and automatically dims with the MB dash. I have Waze and Spotify loaded on it and have it connected via a T-Mobile SyncUp drive module to the Internet. One of my favorite things is that you can set it to automatically start navigation on startup. Then Waze checks the time of day and asks if you're heading home/work and finds the best route.

I installed it myself, using the information on the mbworld forum.
Mine arrived about a week ago I have been bogged down on fixing an unusual no start condition on a CL65 ( now fixed-bad DR-side SAM) so hopefully I'll find some time to tackle the install next week.

I appreciate your offer for assistance if needed.

Best H
 

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2010 E350 P1/P2, 2008 S550 Designo, 2002 ML320
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1,809 Posts
Oh sorry, there's one thread that I made mental notes from:

MBWorld W221 Android discussion

Lots of interesting stuff to read in there, much of it doesn't apply now that these units are plug and play. Wound up purchasing this unit;


There are MANY to choose from but these guys had a good feedback profile and others on the MBWorld forum had used them. I had one issue with the video converter which just stopped working after a month. They sent me a new one and all is perfect now.
 
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