The GLE pictured, which will be getting this ability upon launch. Photos: Mercedes

Mercedes’s drivetrain engineers have spent the last few years busily attempting to catch up with Tesla in terms of selling all-electric luxury cars. But now the people in charge of Mercedes’ user interface are getting in on the game, too, also offering over-the-air downloadable updates to cars.

Here’s what the Online Store will look like. Photo: Mercedes

The idea is to fill out the options list on a more basic Benz you bought without them. It took me a minute figuring out what exactly this entails going blog by blog, but Mercedes’ press release at least lays it out exactly. What we’re looking at is only digital infotainment stuff, and it’s only for the A-Class, B-Class, and GLE. Here’s precisely what’s on offer, from Mercedes:

Even if the vehicle has already been delivered, customers can subsequently purchase the Digital Radio, Smartphone Integration (Apple Carplay/Android Auto) and Navigation. This requires the customer to have connected the car with Mercedes me, with a working data connection. The required optional equipment can then be activated via the Mercedes me Store in the head unit or online with a few clicks. This is particularly attractive in cases where the customer has forgotten to order an option ex factory. However, it is also a good opportunity for second or third owners to adapt the vehicle to their own wishes.

This also benefits markets where dealers order vehicles with equipment packages (build-to-stock), as well as the used vehicle sector and “young classics”.

I have no idea how this all won’t be something a guy on Instagram will be able to “unlock” for you for a nominal fee, but I appreciate the gumption of Mercedes here. Only buying options the one time you get your car is too little. Options should be available as often as possible. The cash influx from your car should never end.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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