Large touchscreens are commonplace in new cars these days, and the bigger these rectangular screens get, the fewer things you can do with the hardware to really differentiate from the competition. Perhaps that’s why, in the new 2022 AMG SL Roadster, Mercedes-Benz is taking the screen out of the dashboard, anchoring it to the center console, and letting it electronically flip up and down.
That’s right, Mercedes-Benz’s newest car has a flippy screen. The company said it designed the 11.9-inch portrait touchscreen this way in order to help fight glare — the AMG SL Roadster is a convertible, after all — but it’s also clearly a flashy parlor trick that seems to say, “Hey, we did something different from Tesla.”
The new AMG SL Roadster also has a digital instrument cluster that’s a bit different from the rest. The 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel is tucked away in a “visor” that Mercedes-Benz says is “aviation-inspired.” Basically it’s a screen embedded even deeper into the dashboard than normal which — of course — helps fight glare. (Something tells me there was a common theme in the most recent customer feedback sessions…)
The move to bigger screens in cars has put a big emphasis on software, which is why automakers from Polestar to Ford are turning to tech giants like Google for help. But similar to the current state of the smartphone market, the hardware has really converged. That’s paved the way for funky new ideas to stand out.
Much like, say, Samsung’s folding phones, this articulating screen feels more like an idea thrown at a wall than something that will actually become desirable (I’m personally dying to know how well it stands up to being poked and prodded — it presumably won’t wobble, but you never know). But it’s an interesting risk for Mercedes-Benz to take nonetheless.