Mercedes E-Class Saloon interior
The Mercedes E-Class interior looks and feels expensive and comes with a pair of super high-resolution screens as standard, but alternatives come with more intuitive controls
The Mercedes E-Class’ interior looks, feels and even smells luxurious – sitting in it is a constant reminder that life is going really rather well. It’s bursting with clever equipment and tech, but you’re not confronted with a sea of confusing buttons – instead you get four classy metal air vents, large swathes of swooping trim pieces and sculpted air vents at either end of the dashboard. It really is a thing of beauty.
Even the most affordable SE cars come with Leather upholstery is standard – you can choose from black, brown and beige – and the dashboard is finished with aluminium trim pieces. Ambient lighting in 64 customisable colours is standard across the range, too.
Mercedes E-Class AMG Line cars are even nicer but you get black Artico (Mercedes-speak for fake) leather seats instead of the real deal which is rather strange. That said, it extends out onto the dashboard and you get a slab of unvarnished wood sweeping through it for good measure.
Sporty Mercedes-AMG E43 models get black leather seats and contrasting red stitching, although you can choose to have brown and beige instead if you prefer. You also get red seatbelts, floor mats with red piping, a leather-trimmed dashboard with more red stitching and AMG-branded scuff plates in the door openings – and a big powerful engine.
If you want your Mercedes E-Class to smell like the perfume counter in John Lewis then the optional Air Balance pack should do the trick. It adds your choice of fragrance to the air as well as ionising and filtering it to make it feel as fresh as an alpine meadow.
Really, though, you’re better off saving your money and putting it towards the Premium or Premium Plus packs.
The Premium Pack’s keyless entry and ignition mean you don’t have to bother taking the key out of your pocket to open the car and, if your hands are full, the boot can be opened by sweeping your foot under the rear bumper. You also get the memory seat pack, so if two of you share the car it will automatically move the seat and steering wheel to your individual position when it detects your key. The most noticeable change is the full-length glass roof that slides open at the front and gives the interior a nice airy feel.
If you’re going to buy all that lot, though, you may as well pay a bit more for the Premium Plus pack. It adds a 13-speaker, 590W Burmester stereo that’s crystal clear and capable of producing some seriously heavyweight bass, and comes with gorgeous laser-cut metal speaker covers. The same pack also gives you Mercedes’ Multibeam headlights that illuminate the road with 84 separate LEDs and can sense other cars, dipping the full beam headlights when it does.
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
Every Mercedes E-Class comes with a pair of high-resolution 12-inch displays on the dashboard. One replaces conventional analogue speedometer and rev-counter in front of the steering wheel with a set of customisable digital dials while the other controls the car’s various onboard features and lets you program the sat-nav.
You control these screens using the touchpad and scroll wheel on the centre console. It’s relatively intuitive and doesn’t prove too distracting wheel you’re driving, but it isn’t quite as easy as the system you get in a BMW 5 Series and the bulbous touchpad isn’t particularly easy to use for long periods.
You also get a set of tiny touchpads on the steering wheel which let you swipe through menu screens on the two large displays. These are dead easy to use and feel classier than conventional buttons or switches.
Every Mercedes E-Class comes with built-in sat nav which you can program using the scroll-wheel, the voice command feature or by writing letters of a postcode onto the touchpad with your index finger – although the latter’s rather tricky if you’re right-handed. It calculates a route easily and displays directions on high-resolution maps which are easy to read. It’s a shame that you can’t get the same augmented-reality system as the more affordable A-Class, however, which shows directions overlaid on a live video feed from the car’s front-facing camera.
It’s also a little frustrating that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring only comes as standard on high-spec All-Terrain and AMG-tuned 53 and 63 models, and those fitted with the optional Comand Online infotainment system.
This brings with it an upgraded sat-nav system with more detailed maps for junctions and intersections and a wifi hotspot for up to three phones or tablets.