The facelift of the Mercedes-Benz W212 series two years ago was a rather minor step forward. All the more impressive is the big step that the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class takes in the interior. Before the new sedan (W213) celebrates its premiere at the NAIAS 2016 in Detroit, the Stuttgart-based company invited to the new interior. A quantum leap that brings the E-Class dangerously close to the S-Class.
The outside view must continue to be kept silent. Anyone interested in the design of the new E-Class simply has to venture a city trip to Stuttgart and will come across at least one camouflaged prototype. The new interior brings the upper middle class from Mercedes, which is often referred to as the upper class, on par with the current S-Class. But in certain details, the new model even skips the luxurious oversize and puzzles chauffeurs in the S-Class in particular. Anyone who wants to be chauffeured still drives better with the S-Class. In the back there is far more space, more comfort and also more luxury.
But if you see yourself as a driver, you will be more pleased with the new model. A completely new interior awaits us here that is based on the S-Class and overtakes it with a new swing, design and class. When the door is closed, the driver is ensnared by the “wrap-around” of the dashboard. Depending on your preference, the interior can be set up like a pinstripe suit or an elegant feel-good living room with a touch of tropical wood. Four large air outlets are enthroned in the middle above things. The relationship to the C-Class may be recognizable underneath, but the center console swings flatter towards the rear.
The touchpad that can be used to navigate through the menu including the rotary knob is not new. Only new for the E-Class and really good in this new environment. On the other hand, the 2 x 12.3 inch screen is technically new. Sure, the Stuttgart-based company can pay this extra (price not yet known, only in connection with Comand Online), but it’s worth it. Even the speedometer can do a lot more than in the S-Class. Similar to the virtual cockpit at Audi, more information such as navigation or the like can be brought into the driver’s field of vision. A dual core calculates here fast enough to digitally reproduce the driving-relevant data. Depending on your preference in the classic view, a more promising view with a deep effect or a sporty view, which combines yellow and red.
Without a frame, the huge display looks much, much more elegant and high-quality than in the S-Class. A bitter blow for the top model, but the improvement will certainly not be long in coming. The second half, which also measures 12.3 inches diagonally, is more interesting, but powered by a quad-core processor. All sorts of information is presented in sharp representation, which can hardly be reproduced in its fullness. Seats, navigation, car settings, media, radio and much more can be changed here. The interior can be set up according to the mood with umpteen different ambient light colors (64 colors in total). Different driving profiles (e.g. for families) can also be set.
The interior should be particularly intuitive, understandable, simple and at the same time a comfortable step forward. Regardless of the equipment, the steering wheel always comes with two small touchpads. They virtually replace five-way navigation using push buttons. With swiping gestures you can “swypt” through the menus. The left side for the left display and the right side for the right display. However, this is only a supplementary function, because the touchpad in the center console turns out to be easier to understand. It probably takes time behind the wheel to quickly manipulate the swiping gestures on the steering wheel. However, if these are learned, the E-Class driver can expect an enormous safety advantage. Your hand no longer has to let go of the steering wheel, even when playing around with the infotainment system.
The Stuttgart-based company has not only upgraded in terms of design, functionality and technology. Even the driver himself can make himself comfortable here forever. Another kick in the kidneys for the S-Class is the upgraded massage function. The functions as such are identical, but one program is new. One that encourages the buttocks. This invigorates the butt after the first few minutes and will establish itself as a popular relaxation therapy on long journeys, I’m sure.
There is still another punch in the S-Class. The 23 loudspeaker sound system from Burmester. There is no need to discuss the quality and experience of Burmester who know what they are doing. The sound is phenomenally good (on all seats) and teases the luxury steed. The subtleties are further worked out, the sound is even more full-bodied, the characteristics of the tones more sophisticated.
The placement alone proves to be well thought out, so two dual-band speakers are used in the 3D Sourround, which are mounted in the headliner. The sound is released directly at ear level. The different “firing” of the individual tones creates the same sound on every seat. Adele’s latest song no longer just creates goosebumps, but lets the singer appear in front of us in spirit and perform live. On the other hand, a drum solo also massages the backs of the rear passengers. Jan only dealt with the sound system.
With all the extras, the E-Class will soon be as expensive as the S-Class, but it’s worth it. A lot of technology can also develop a lot of peculiarities, but let’s just hope for a few or rare failures of the highly developed technologies.
What Audi did with revolutionary simplicity in the TT is now countered at Mercedes with revolutionary functionality. The interior space as such for the generation change is already a giant leap. However, the Stuttgart-based company has also redefined its own yardstick. Now the question arises, how do BMW intend to answer that with the 5 Series and Audi with the A6? Jens illuminates the dashboard and the display again in detail on mobilegeeks. He has taken on the entire cockpit on rad-ab.
The problem with the new E-Class is probably the end customer. The average E-Class owner does not see himself as an “early adopter” or “smartphone-savvy”. I am pleased with the flood of technology, my fingers tingle, also because of the new engines. How will the technology be operated in everyday life, how well do the two mini touchpads work when the vehicle is at full speed? But how does the customer cope with that when they are 50 or 60 years old? Isn’t that going to be overwhelming in the end, so that in the end none of the optional goodies end up in the E-Class and the sedan rolls off the production line as bare standard equipment? Markus gives a sharpened Mercedes view of mb-passion.
Text: Fabian Meßner, Photos: Daimler AG