Bluetooth is a standard feature on Mercedes' COMAND system, allowing owners of many phones to use the dashboard's phone keypad to make calls. SMS messaging will be introduced some time down the line, too.
But we'll admit that trying to set it up was a stumper. First blaming the car, we soon found that the failure lived at the intersection of our own stupidity and an unusual UI choice by Apple. President and CEO of Mercedes R&D, North America, Johann Jungwirth, shows here how to pair an iPhone with the Mercedes 2010 E Class.
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz is a sponsor of BBG. Last week, we drove the new E-Class and were the first bloggers or journalists to get a look inside their North American R&D lab. We're writing a series of posts about the tech we saw there; Mercedes-Benz has no editorial involvement in these items.
To pair an iPhone with a Mercedes, you have to go through an additional step on the iPhone. Most Bluetooth-compatible phones are recognized by the vehicle in one step without the need to authenticate manually on the phone end, but iPhones behave differently.
The user must open "settings," then "Bluetooth," and finally select the Mercedes-Benz vehicle as a device to pair with. After that step is completed, the vehicle can pair with iPhone for hands-free operation while inside the vehicle. The vehicle will then recognize the iPhone as you approach the vehicle, as soon as you're within Bluetooth range.
Music features, however, are reserved for direct cable connections with iPhones and iPods: you have to leave the phone in the glove box, too, where the iPod and AUX ports are.
More info is at Mercedes-Benz's website.