The New Mercedes-Benz CLA Lets You Play Mario Kart on Its Infotainment Screen
Even the HVAC system blows ‘wind’ through your hair to simulate speed.
Mercedes-Benz debuted its new "Mercedes-Benz User Experience" (MBUX) infotainment system during the Mobile World Congress last week with a pretty nifty trick, per Motor1: folks sitting behind the wheel of a new CLA can play a version of Mario Kart and even feel the wind blow through their hair as they tackle their favorite fantasy race courses.
Merc loaded up the open-source SuperTuxKart version of everyone's favorite nineties Nintendo racer into a CLA to highlight the improvements it made to the MBUX system. Those improvements included several new applications, although it's worth noting that SuperTuxKart was just there to show off the system for now. Mercedes' rollout of several playable in-car games to customers is coming in the "very near future," according to Motor1.
That being said, SuperTuxKart brought the Nintendo game onto Mac, Linux, Windows and Android systems—and apparently also works on MBUX.
What's especially genius is the way Mercedes set up the game to work within the CLA's interior. The steering wheel (complete with paddle shifters, as demonstrated above) and pedals were the main controls for the game as you'd expect, but as Motor1 describes it, the LED ambient lighting in the car switched from red to green when the green flag dropped. The car also blew air through its vents to simulate the wind rushing through your hair that you'd experience on the kart in the game, even changing the fan speed depending on your kart's speed in the game. The CLA's seat belts also tightened when karts crashed in the game.
While I'm not a huge fan of the physical disconnection of the driver's controls to the actual wheels and throttle of the engine, these games are just about the coolest consolation prize ever. Tesla also recently loaded up several classic Atari games in its infotainment system, and we can't get enough of fun time-wasting Easter eggs like this.