The next-gen Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been spotted testing for longer than we can recollect, however, it will finally make its official debut next month at the 2016 NAIAS in Detroit. But before the big reveal Mercedes has officially given us all a closer look at this new luxury model’s interior.
While the interior design of the existing E-Class is hardly class-leading, Mercedes is promising a lot with this new model. Looking at the official pictures, it’s fairly easy to spot the S-Class influence in the overall design. Mercedes will offer a wide high-resolution dual display (12.3 inches per display) and in addition, touch-sensitive control buttons on the steering wheel. The latter feature allows the driver to control the entire infotainment system using finger swipes without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
The two display units merge visually to form a wide-screen cockpit, thus acting as a central element to emphasise the horizontal bias of this new interior design. Adding to the theme are the horizontally stacked circular air vents beneath one of the displays.
While we have already seen touch-sensitive controls between the front seats in several flagship luxury cars, the new E-Class is the vehicle to integrate touch-sensitive buttons in the spokes of the steering wheel. Like in a smartphone, the buttons here respond to horizontal and vertical finger swipes and allow the driver to control every function of the infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
With its design bias towards a sense of space, the interior combines the outright luxurious bits of the bigger S-Class with the sporty quotient of the smaller C-Class. The horizontal, low-lying trim of the instrument panel with its flowing lines creates a sense of space, like in the S-Class. A couple of other S-Class-like elements are the four circular air vents in the centre and the wrap-around effect for the door linings.
Depending on the gearbox, the interior features two differently designed centre consoles. Models with automatic gearbox have a straight-through centre console, while models with a manual gearbox will come with a centre console in the form of two separate trim parts.
The new E-Class will also come with optional ambient lighting. With up to 64 colours, it offers a host of possibilities for personalisation. The features adds touches of light to a variety of trim parts including the central display, front stowage facility on the centre console, handle recesses, door pockets, front and rear foot wells, overhead console, mirror triangle and tweeters.
All in all, the interior of the next-gen E-Class is a welcome change when compared to the old-school upright design of the existing E-Class. We will have to wait until next month for the car’s official unveiling for an in-depth look at the interior as well as the exterior.