Mercedes E-Class Saloon interior
The Mercedes E-Class interior looks and feels expensive and comes with a pair of super-high-resolution screens, but alternatives come with more intuitive controls.
The Mercedes E-Class’ cabin is one of the car’s strongest features. It’s a constant reminder of the quality of the car you’re sitting in, especially in terms of build quality and luxury. The elegantly designed dashboard stretches out before you, surrounding the centrepiece twin infotainment screens.
Leather upholstery is standard on all models, while higher-spec cars get a man-made alternative – it’s called Artico and is just as good as the real thing, so it feels suitably plush, yet it’s more ethical than leather. The textiles inside are pleasant no matter what trim you go for, and we’re happy to see physical buttons for the climate control too.
There are a few different materials used to create the dash, with some differences based on the trim level, but the most unique aspect is the unvarnished, tactile wood finish. Some will find it a bit old-fashioned, while others will love its classy look.
The sporty E53 AMG version comes with more outlandish details such as red seatbelts, floor mats with red piping, a leather-trimmed dashboard with contrasting stitching and AMG-branded scuff plates in the door openings.
Standard equipment on the E-Class is a strong point, as with the recent updates to the model range, Mercedes did away with many options. The only real choice is what colour you want, and whether to add the Driving Assistance Plus Package (which is only available on higher trim levels). This pack is pricey but adds a suite of autonomous driving functions.
This means that even the base Sport model comes with adaptive suspension, LED lights, auto lights and wipers, two-zone climate control, keyless go, heated seats and the latest MBUX infotainment system (skip to the infotainment section for more on that).
As you move up through the trim levels there’s not too much more that is added on: AMG Line and AMG Line Edition get a sporter look with a different grille, ridges on the bonnet and bigger wheels, but not much more kit. AMG Line Premium and the top-spec Night edition cars add a 360-degree camera, adaptive headlights, three-zone climate control and a different AMG steering wheel.
The E53 model is a bit different as it has a sportier body kit, different alloys and sport suspension, along with its powerful V6 engine.
The E-Class interior’s high-quality materials, contemporary design and uncluttered layout make it feel like your posh London penthouse has sprouted four wheels and an engine.
- 1. Tell us what you want from a car
- 2. We’ll tell you if it matches
- 3. Only takes 1 minute
The Mercedes E-Class now comes with a pair of 12.3-inch displays on the dashboard, featuring Mercedes’ latest MBUX set-up. One of these screens acts as an instrument cluster, showing you your speedometer and other driving data – plus sat-nav maps if you wish – right behind the steering wheel. The second is the main screen for controlling the navigation, plus radio and other core functions.
There are a few ways to customise and control these screens. The main display is a touchscreen, so you can lean over and click on the functions you want – this is the best way to control it while parked, but it’s not ideal while driving.
Mercedes has removed the previous model’s rotary dial, which was easy to use on the move, and replaced it with a touchpad. It can be tricky to use while driving, so it’s best to stick to using the small buttons on the sides of the steering wheel with your thumbs. However, some drivers might prefer this.
The headline feature of the MBUX system is an augmented-reality system, which shows directions overlaid on a live video feed from the car’s front-facing camera. This gives you a display showing exactly where and when to turn, which is an impressive feature.
If you don’t like that, there are normal sat-nav maps, or you can sync up your phone using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which both work well on the large display screen. It’s a sharp and modern-looking interface, too, so it’s a great upgrade on the newest versions of the E-Class.
All-told, BMW’s Drive remains that bit easier to use while driving, but there’s no doubt that Mercedes’ system wins for visual impact. It’s certainly one of the best infotainment systems on sale today.