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Created: 3 May 2009
Last Updated: 22 Sep 2013
This document aims to explain all the different types of COMAND system fitted by Mercedes Benz to its passenger vehicles in Europe. The North American COMAND systems are different and are breifly covered, however there is little information about North American COMAND here. Japanese COMAND system is completely different and not covered here at all.
I have recently reversed this document, with newer COMAND systems first and older COMAND systems last -
COMAND stands for Cockpit Management and Navigation Device.
There have been many variants of the Mercedes COMAND technology, and often the same technology looks different in different vehicles as the front of the stereo changes.
The systems so far, in approximate release order, are Comand 2.5, Comand 2.0, Comand 2.0 MOPF (all known as Comand 2), Comand NTG1, NTG2, NTG3, NTG4, NTG2.5 and NTG4.5, NTG5.
Map Disks and Manuals
European map CD disks for COMAND 2.0, COMAND 2.5 are available to purchase HERE.
European map DVD sets for NTG1, NTG2 and NTG2.5 COMAND-APS are available to purchase HERE.
European manuals for COMAND are available HERE.
COMAND Online NTG4.5
Comand NTG4.5 is the latest 'main-stream' Comand system and is known as Comand Online because it can connect to Mercedes Benz online internet services via certain bluetooth mobile phones.
It has a fixed 7" colour display with 800x480 pixel display.
It first became available in late 2011 with the facelfit W204 C class, and the W212 E, W207 E and W212 CLS classes along with the R172 SLK.
Mercedes Benz seem to be rolling this COMAND system into all the standard (i.e not S/CL) vehicles and it is now in the W176 A class W246 B class, W166 ML, R172 SLK, R231 SL, W204 C (from MY2012), W212/W207 E (from 2011 in Europe) and due in the MY2015 G Class update
The maps are stored on a hard disk, and althought the map update DVD is available cheaply, a PIN code is needed which can be bought from Mercedes Benz Dealers and specialists like Comand Online.
The system supports (optonally) the Media Interface (fully integrated iPod kit), integrated dual-tuner DAB digital radio, Harmon Kardon (option 810) and B&O (opton 811) depending on which model seriels it is integrated in. It also supports Digital TV.
It supports 7 digit post codes, and downloadable applications allowing you to use facebook and other similar web sites on the COMAND screen.
COMAND APS NTG3.5
Comand NTG3.5 is fitted to the W221 S / W216 CL from Model Year 2010 (i.e mid 2009 onward) replacing NTG3. It has inbuilt Bluetooth telephony, 7 digit post-code system, and can support a Split View main display so the front passenger can watch a DVD but the driver can not see it.
It was the first Mercedes Sat-Nav system to use PIN codes to authenticate the Sat Nav map against the vehicle - thus preventing the use of copied map disks, or 1 map disk being installed on many vehicles.
It is not possible to upgrade a NTG3 S / CL to NTG3.5 because it is not possible to get PIN codes generated and thus the Sat Nav won't work any more.
This is a cost reduced (as far as I can see) NTG4 system all in one physical device used from Model Year 2009 in the A, B, W211-E, CLS, ML, GL, R, SL and SLK class vehicles replacing the NTG1 and NTG2 system previously fitted. It can easily be identified as the telephone hangup / pickup keys are red and green (NB, so are North American NTG1, NTG2 systems) and the soft buttons to the left and right of the display found on NTG2 are no longer present, and there is a flash slot above the DVD slot. It is expected that the Vito/Viano will get this system in late 2009. Note that the W209 CLK was never updated to NTG2.5 because it was being replaced by the W207 E class coupe.
Picture of COMAND NTG2.5 in R230 SL: -
Most importantly, the unit has build in Bluetooth telephone functionality that works really well and has voice recogntion. It also has an optional DVD changer built in. With the DVD changer, the unit has the Mercedes option code 512. Without the DVD changer it still has option code 527 which can be confusing when finding parts.
It has a SD slot for MP3 files, has an internal Hard Disk to hold the map and again supports DAB radio and Media Interface options.
The rotary controller is no longer present, and the unit has a proper keypad again.
It is much nicer than the older NTG1/NTG2 systems.
It is not made by Becker any more.
The wiring for the NTG2 and NTG2.5 look very similar, however there are some major differences if trying to put a NTG2.5 unit in a NTG2 car. These include, the phone controller and linguatronic are built in, so microphone wiring needs to be routed to the COMAND and probably the old phone and linguatronic (if present) need to be removed from the MOST fibre loop. The antenna power on NTG2 cars is driven from the COMAND, on NTG2.5 cars its controlled by another control unit (Rear SAM). The FM antenna connectors are different, and the AUX wiring now connects to different poins on the multiway connector.
COMAND NTG4 (NTG4-W204 and NTG4-W212)
Comand NTG4 first made its appearence in the W204 C class at lauch around 2007. It was the first Mercedes system to support a fully integrated iPod / USB system called the Media Interface, and Bluetooth telephony within the head unit. It also has an integrated Hard Disk for the Sat Nav map, and music, and a PCMCIA slot for adding music files.
It is also the system used in the Mercedes SLS, and was the system supplied in the W212 E class and W207 E class and W218 CLS class Mercedes Benz vehicles, in which a 6" 480x240 resolution sceen was used. The screen in the W204 is a 5" less resolution screen.
In the W204 the COMAND screen electrically folds up and down, in other vehicles it is fixed.
Its main weaknesses are (a) 5 Digit post-code support not 7 digit. (b) The Bluetooth phone system will not transfer the address book from most phones, and so you need the optional Comfort Phone system and a phone cradle or bluetooth adapter (c) PCMCIA and not USB or SDcard.
NTG4 has been replaced by NTG4.5 in W204/W207/W218/W212 and it is possible to replace the system in the W207/W218/W212 certainly for Model Year 2010 onward vehicles.
It is not possible to do this in the W204 because the whole dashboard changes.
The map updates etc are different for the W204 version (NTG4-W204) to the W212/W207 (NTG4-W212) systems.
It is somewhat like a cost reduced NTG3 system.
- it is MOST bus based
- the display is physically seperate
- it has a PCMCIA slot where you can plug in a PCMCIA device (or another with an adapter) full of MP3 music
- The map is held on an inernal Hard disk, again updated from DVD
- It has a seperate rotary controller like the NTG3.
- It has bluetooth telephone support built in, but its not particulary good at downloading the address book properly without the extra comfort-phone option.
- It supports the Media Interface - an optional interface to connect iPod (with Video support), USB, or a 3.5mm aux input. (This is Mercedes option code 518)
- I beleive it is made by Mitsubishi.
This is the system launched with the current W221 S and W216 CL. The system has a display which is part of the main dashboard: -
and a seperate controller: -
I know very little about this system, apart from
- it is MOST bus based like the other cars
- The display is physically seperate from the audo/navigation electroncis
- The map is held on an internal Hard disk - but has to be updated from a DVD.
- It has a rotary controller instead of a keypad to control it.
- It was the first unit to support a DAB tuner on the MOST bus (option 517)
Mercedes Benz then produced a cost reduced system which it introduced into the W203 C and W209 CLK for the mid 2004 facelift (approx March 2004 production onward) and then was released with the new model A, B, ML, GL and R class vehicles, it is also fitted to the Smart forfour, and the W639 Vito/VIano vehicles.
This system put all the components into one double-din height unit, significantly simplifying the wiring.
The NTG2 system, however, lost its ability to play DVD and MP3 disks, and of course as there is no seperate navigation drive playing a CD and navigating with a full map requires a CD changer.
All NTG2 systems have an auxiliary input.
Like NTG1, the NTG2 uses proprietary map disks, which although the maps are made by Teleatas and Navteq have to be supplied via Mercedes benz. Mercedes use a coloured flash on their map disk packaging, NTG2 disks have a Blue stripe. Currently the map disks only support 5 digit post codes in the UK.
The W211 E class was first introduced in 2002 where the audio system was completely revamped. The D2B audio network was replaced with a new faster system called MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) which in theory could carry video.
With the introduction of the MOST bus based system, the name was changed to COMAND-APS and the option code 527 is now used for COMAND. To add confusion, the COMAND 2.0 MOPF also had option code 527 and was known as COMAND-APS, then Mercedes started calling even the older COMAND2.0 COMAND-APS.
It was introduced into the W220 S class and W215 CL class for Model Year 2004, the R230 SL for Model Year 2005 and the SLK from launch.
Picture of NTG1 COMAND-APS in the W220 S Class: -
The NTG1 was the first DVD based system, and thus the map disk carries a whole region (for instance Europe) on a single DVD. This makes life simpler, but the disks are about twice the cost of purchasing a single country DX disk for the COMAND 2 systems.
The MOST system (and thus the NTG1 system consisted of 3 seperate devices, the AGW (Audio Gateway), the head unit (COMAND) and the navigation processor. The AGW contains the FM/AM tuner(s), the amplifer, the MOST bus master controller and the diagnostic gateway for diagnosis and configuration.
The telephone system. voice recogntiion, CD changer, Harmon Karden premium sound system and TV tuners also connect to the MOST bus to route audio in/out of the system. In the case of the HK sound system, the HK amplifer contains the AGW and replaces the standard AGW.
The navigation processor is always in the boot (trunk) of the car, and the AGW is also often hidden in the boot of the car or under passenger feet in the SLK.
NTG1 was fitted up until Model Year 2009 in the W220 S, W215 CL, R230 SL, W211 E, W219 CLS, R171 SLK vehicles.
The NTG1 head unit (COMAND) can play DVD and MP3 loaded CD/DVDs also.
Most parts of the NTG1 system are made by Becker (for European vehicles). However, in the S/CL/SLK/SL it is made by Siemens (and North American systems are made by Siemens).
The W211 E, W219 CLS, R171 SLK have auxilary audio inputs but the W220 S, W215 CL, R30 SL do not and thus the Mercedes iPod interface will not work in the S/CL/SL.
The NTG1 uses proprietary map disks, which although the maps are made by Teleatas and Navteq have to be supplied via Mercedes benz. Mercedes use a coloured flash on their map disk packaging, NTG1 disks have a Green stripe. Currently the map disks only support 5 digit post codes in the UK.
Comand 2 is the collective name for COMAND 2.5, COMAND 2,0 and COMAND 2.0 MOPF. These are further described below in date order of their first appearance on Mercedes Benz vehicles.
COMAND was originally introduced in the S Class (W220) Mercedes Benz in around 1998 and then in the CL (W215) when it was launched. The unit ended up known as COMAND 2.5 because it was physically 2.5 Din units high. In Europe it used Teleatlas map disks, and internally it was sometimes called 'C' type COMAND. I have no idea what A and B type were.
In late 1999 the system was upgraded to 'D' type and then after a software upgrade it was able to read the better DX type disks. This happened at chassis number A078551 for the S class (W220) and chassis number A001434 for the CL.
The systems all had a Casette drive, a CD drive purely for the Navigation disk, FM/AM tuner, in-built 4 channel amplifer (left/right for front & rear)and TV inputs (although it is not clear whether the C type COMAND ever worked with the TV tuner as it was only made to work sometime after the vehicles were inititally launched if you had ordered the TV pre-wiring.
The Navigation section (with CD drive) was actually a completely seperate of the COMAND connected to the rest of it by a cable.
COMAND 2 has a fibre optic network called D2B (developed by C&C electronics and partially by Philips Electronics NV. It is used to pass audio and control the optional CD changer, Telephone system, voice recognition system (known as linguatronic or VCS) and the premium amplifier made by Bose.
The units were made by Bosch. (who also own Blaupunkt), although the other units on the D2B bus were made by other manafacturers since D2B is a reasonably open standard.
The Mercedes 'option' code for COMAND 2.5 (and 2.0) is 352
In Model Year 2003, the S/CL COMAND was replaced by COMAND 2.0 MOPF (see below), and in Model Year 2004 the S/CL COMAND was replaced by COMAND-APS.
The DX map disks currenlty only support 5 digit post codes in the UK.
COMAND 2.0 is the same technology as the D type COMAND 2.5 except that everything is in one double-din height device, the casette drive was removed (and an AUX input added) and the navigation drive could also be used for audio CD. Again the COMAND is made by Bosch, and the Mercedes option code is 352.
The units (after an early life software upgrade in 2000) use DX type mapping CDs.
These devices first appeared on the W210 E class, and then on the W208 C class. These were rectangular units. After that they appeared on the W163 ML (2001), W203 C class, W209 CLK, W463 G class, R230 S class. The last 4 types were curvy units, but the R230 class unit was shaped differently and has more detailed mapping ability.
The initial W210 units used discrete wiring to obtain ignition, lights, reversing (backup) and speed signal. They did not support connection to the car's CANbus network and can be identified easily because the telephone keypad does not have letters on it. When the facelift W210 was released with steering wheel controls then the units connected to the CANbus and required only a discrete speed signal connection and used CANbus network for the other signals mentioned above.
The W208 units all used CANBus network, and in fact W210 units can be made to work in the W208 cars.
The W163 units, whilst looking like W208 and W210 units have the 4 signals mentioned above wired discretely and have no CANbus connection.
The curvey units on the W203 C and W209 CLK are interchangeable, but none of the others are. The W463 G class unit is the same shape but it needs a seperate speed signal. The R230 SL unit is unique.
W163 ML Comand 2.0 unit: -
W203 C class COMAND 2.0 picture: -
R230 SL COMAND 2.0 Picture: -
COMAND 2.0 MOPF
A widescreen version of COMAND 2.0 (with identical features) was available for model year 2003 only in the W220 S and W215 CL class vehicles.
The option code for the European COMAND was changed to code 527 for this system - which can be confusing as it is still the old CD based technology.
V1.2 May 2009
V1.3 July 2009
V1.4 Jan 2010 - add NTG3.5
V1.5 Jun 2010 - Note NTG4-W204 different to NTG4-W212
V1.6 Dec 2012 - Add NTG4.5 and more info
Some Photographs (c) Daimler AG from Daimler Media site.
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