Mercedes-Benz has revealed the interior design of its upcoming E-Class. The spacious and technologically innovative layout boasts 23 speakers, two 12.3-in screens merged into an ultra-wide display, touch control buttons that respond to finger swipes and customizable LED lighting.
The cabin itself uses a variety of materials to give a sense of luxury. Among those used are open-pore woods, a novel metal fabric, and leather for covering the doors and beltline. The seats have what is described as an ergonomic and sculptural form, and are designed to be comfortable for long journeys.
Vehicle occupants can enjoy a Frontbass audio system as standard, which uses the space in the cross-member and side member of the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers. Alternatively, there's an optional Burmester 3D surround sound system.
This latter system comprises 23 high-end speakers, a 25-l (5.5-gal) bass box with its own 400 W amplifier in the boot, two mid-range speakers in the front doors and seven mid-range speakers and tweeters. All of this, says Mercedes, is geared towards creating a listening experience that is "reminiscent of the acoustics in a concert hall."
Elsewhere, the E-Class interior features LED lighting, which can be upgraded to an enhanced version. This gives owners the choice of 64 colors for personalization and adds touches of light to the trim, central display, front stowage facility, handle recesses, door pockets, front and rear footwells and overhead console.
Perhaps the most exciting aspects, however, are related to the infotainment system. To begin, the instrument panel and central display are formed of two 12.3-in screens, horizontally merged and each with a resolution of 1920 x 720. This is aimed at giving the sense of a wide-screen cockpit.
The displays put virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver, and the style of these can be switched between "Classic," "Sport" and "Progressive." It's also possible for the driver to change the content of the central display based on their preferences. Mercedes' optional COMAND Online can provide mobile internet, navigation and weather services.
There's a new approach to controlling the infotainment system, too. The E-Class integrates touch control buttons in the spokes of the multifunction steering wheel that respond to finger swipes, as well as standard presses. This enables the driver to control functions in the same way as they would a smartphone without having to take their hands off the wheel.
Functions can also be controlled via the center console using single or multi-finger gestures. Users are even able to draw letters, numbers and special characters on a touchpad and have the system read them back so as to allow for eyes-free operation. Voice control functionality is available too.
The new E-Class will be launched in the first half of 2016.