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Detroit show: Merc styles up E-Class interior

Screen shot: New three-mode dash and twin high-resolution screens make up the new E-Class’s dashboard layout.

Interior of new E-Class actively chases luxury and style with a technological twist


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9 Dec 2015

MERCEDES-BENZ continues its slow feed of information ahead of the launch of its forthcoming E-Class, revealing images and details of its all-new high-tech cabin.

The large sedan, which is set to debut at the Detroit motor show in January and is due locally in early 2017, has undergone a large style transformation throughout the cabin that is designed to create what it calls a “third place” for drivers.

“With the interior of the new E-Class, we are giving a new interpretation to the concept of contemporary luxury,” said Mercedes-Benz director of interior design Hartmut Sinkwitz.

“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’s dash – which takes inspiration from the range-topping S-Class – is dominated by a pair of high-resolution 12.3-inch displays that stretch across the length of the dash.

Housed beneath a single pane of glass, the driver can choose one of three display modes that offers different appearance and functionality classic, sport and progressive.

The base version of the E-Class – sold in Europe into rental and taxi fleets and unlikely to be sold locally – will feature a single screen and more traditional twin dials.

A new steering wheel will come with a pair of swipe-activated pinwheel controls on the spokes – similar in function to a Blackberry smartphone, and a tie-in to the car company’s wider relationship with the phone-maker – to control multimedia functions without removing hands from the wheel.

Blackberry supplies Mercedes-Benz with smartphones for its employees worldwide, and sponsors its World Championship-winning Formula One team.

The centre console wheel is also fitted, while the touchpad control that is fitted to the C-Class is available as an option, complete with control buttons on its rearward edge. The E-Class also features an advanced version of Mercedes’ voice-recognition system.

Mercedes claims it has completely made over its multimedia system, too, implementing a new menu access system that is easier to use.

The E-Class’s interior LED background lighting can be changed to deliver one of 64 background colours for areas like the central display, footwells, centre console, overhead console, door pockets and even hand recesses.

The door armrests are heated, as is the centre console armrest and the steering wheel. A 23-speaker Burmester audio system with 3D sound and 1450 watts of power is also offered.

The interior treatment of the E-Class has been improved markedly over the current car, in a leap that mimics the progression between the last two C-Class models.

The floating upper dash is deigned to make the most of the hi-res screens, while the door trim design now flows seamlessly into the lower dash architecture.

New seats are designed for each of the model grades across the E-Class line-up, including Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG.

While the company divulged some technical details of the E-Class in October, it has added more details on its new LED matrix headlight arrangement.

Known as Multibeam LEDs, the headlights feature 84 individually controlled LED globes that not only adjust intensity according to weather, terrain and traffic, but can also execute a corner-following function electronically.

Previously, corner-following lights rotated on small motors.

Mercedes claims the new lights have up to 2.5 times greater partial high-beam light output.

As well, Mercedes will offer an optional one-piece LED tail-lamp fitted with so-called Lambert deflectors, which scatter the light output in a pattern reminiscent of a jet engine’s glow.

The E-Class will go on sale mid-way through 2016 in Europe. It currently leads the upper large sedan segment quite comfortably from its key rival, the BMW 5 Series.

Sales of 1153 cars until the end of November 2015 represents a slip of 21.7 per cent from the same period in 2014 for Mercedes, in a category that is nine per cent off year on year. BMW has sold 946 5 Series, posting a 15 per cent improvement over the same period.

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