Mercedes-Benz is readying the next generation of its mid-tier luxury saloon, the E-Class, for an official unveil next month at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. But before we get to that, Merc has let out some pictures of the refreshed interior, no doubt for our perusal.
From the pictures we immediately see parallels with the interior attributes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the company’s flagship luxury sedan, revealing that the automaker isn’t shy about trickling down its aesthetic and technological features as soon as it can.
You can’t miss it - the most obvious addition is the wide display that spans from the driver side all the way to the centre console. The single glass pane gives the illusion of a single mega-wide screen, but it is actually made up of two 12.3-inch LCD panels - one for the driver’s information feed such as speedometer, tachometer, and other pertinent vehicular parameters, while the second panel is more attuned to the infotainment and comfort settings available for fine tuning.
The system is entirely configurable by the driver and links with the optional Mercedes COMMAND online system. In the more modest variants of the next E-Class (Avantgarde), a pair of traditional analogue dials will be used for the driver, with a smaller display in between while an 8.3-inch LCD panel will serve as a central infotainment screen. Touch-sensitive control buttons are also built into the steering wheel, permitting the driver finer control over in-car settings and functions without his or her hands having to leave the steering wheel.
The centre console storage area also now has a charging mat that allows compatible phones to charge wirelessly. Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto interfaces are also available and built into the Mercedes system, with the supported device only needing to be plugged-in via the USB port (of which there are 3 in total). For the occupants’ hearing pleasure, the E-Class can be fitted with an optional Burmester 3D surround sound system similar to the setup found in the more expensive S-Class.
"With the interior of the new E-Class, we are giving a new interpretation to the concept of contemporary luxury," says Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design. "We have designed a spacious and intelligent interior. True to Mercedes-Benz's design philosophy of sensual purity, it employs technological innovation and high-grade equipment to create an exceptionally emotive experience for driver and front passenger. The E-Class thus not only sets a new standard in the business class. Alongside a workplace and private environment, it also becomes a "third place" – a living area in which passengers are able to enjoy contemporary luxury."
The current E-Class has been around since 2009, and going forward it only makes sense for the all-new fifth generation version to be endowed with the best that Mercedes can furnish it with without going head-to-head with its higher-end sibling.
The fifth-generation E-Class (dubbed W213) will be built upon Mercedes-Benz’s new MRA modular platform, which it will share with the current C-Class and S-Class and is slated to arrive in showrooms some time in the latter half of 2016.