A head-up display (HUD) is a piece of technology that projects a transparent display onto your windshield and enables you to see your crucial data right in your line of sight. Many Mercedes models offer a HUD, but the newest Mercedes models offer a next-gen augmented reality HUD that is sure to impress.
BMW has offered a HUD since 2004, and Audi also introduced a head-up display for its first-generation A7 in 2010. Mercedes was somewhat late to the party, only introducing the HUD in 2014. But nowadays Mercedes is the one making all the noise when it comes to next-generation head-up displays.
Mercedes models with a HUD
Both the C-class and the E-class are offered with head-up displays that show a lot of different information without any lag and in full color. The resolution of these head-up displays is also fairly impressive at around 60 pixels per viewing angle.
In 2014, Mercedes released a statement saying that head-up displays are slowly making their way into the entire Mercedes sedan line-up starting with the S-class. Mercedes was hesitant to introduce a HUD due to possible concerns about driver distraction, but seeing what Audi and BMW were doing with their systems, Mercedes did not want to miss out.
Head-up displays were also offered for the 2015 CLS and every other Mercedes sedan. After a while, Mercedes also started offering the same HUD systems in their smaller A and B-class hatchbacks. Nowadays, pretty much every Mercedes sedan or hatchback can have an HUD as an add-on.
The same story goes for Mercedes SUVs. Since 2015, Mercedes has incorporated a HUD display into all of the SUVs through different option package variants. In some regions, the HUD is a part of a Technology Package or the Night Package. It can also be a part of many other packages such as the AMG or the Premium pack.
While most of the aforementioned head-up display systems are pretty much the same variant, an AMG vehicle always has a more performance-oriented head-up display. The information shown on the HUD of regular Mercedes models is the speed you are traveling, navigation information, and the speed limit with a couple of different options as well.
An AMG HUD, however, is different due to the nature of AMG cars. These cars are a lot sportier and more suited for performance driving, so they usually have a different head-up display, compared to regular models. AMG models are able to show you the RPM, shift lights, gear you are in, and many other performance-related pieces of information.
Newly-released Mercedes Augmented Reality HUD
The newly released S-class offers a next-gen AR HUD that is more akin to a cinema projector than it is to a regular HUD found in many other vehicles. This system is made out of 1.3 million individual mirrors that are able to project an incredibly clear and sharp image.
The AR head-up system is somewhat similar to the popular game Pokemon Go that drove the world crazy a few years back. The system knows where you are, and it manages to project vivid directions and guidelines right in your line of sight, making it rather impossible for you to miss your highway exit or to take a wrong turn.
It’s an incredibly futuristic system that even shows a checkered flag on your windshield when you reach your destination. This system is sure to roll out for pretty much every other Mercedes model soon. Some might consider this system to be a gimmick or unnecessary, but no one can deny the cool factor.
3 things to know about head-up displays
Is the HUD something I need to have in a car?
Not really. A head-up display offers you a more comfortable way of seeing your information. It does not offer anything that a regular gauge cluster or dashboard can’t do by itself. Sure, the newest Mercedes AR head-up displays are cool, but they are not an essential piece of equipment.
If you are used to having a HUD, and having a car without it seems like a downgrade, then sure go ahead and get one. But if you have to choose between a HUD or something else that actually offers something new and/or different compared to the regular features a car offers, you are better off without a HUD.
How much does a HUD cost?
If you want a HUD in your new car, you have to ready to spend at least $1,200. Some models might offer the HUD system as a part of a special package, which further increases the price.
A HUD for a BMW 520i costs around $2k, and a HUD for the Audi A4 costs half of that, but you do get a wireless phone charger for the BMW included. Some aftermarket companies also offer HUD systems at a more affordable price, but the consensus here is that the OEM system is always the preferred choice.
Do modern-day HUD systems pose any safety issues?
In this day and age, we live in a tech infested reality, and all of our senses are constantly being bombarded with vast amounts of different information, and modern automobiles are surely guilty of this.
As car manufacturers continue to adopt more and more displays into cars, it will surely make it a lot harder to avoid an information overload, and some safety issues are a concern.
Even though there is not much data that suggests that HUD displays pose a safety concern, it’s still too early to tell because we are only at the beginning of the car tech trend. It is highly advisable to keep your eyes on the road and what’s actually in front of you for any potential hazards, before you rely on what the HUD tells you.
HUD systems are fairly good at identifying the road signs and giving you the speed limits for a specific section of the road, but they are still not as good as your eyes, so no matter if you opt for the HUD or not, always rely on your eyesight to provide you the proper information.