Inside, too, the Estate utilises the Saloon's multi-award-winning design. The interior is characterised by an interplay of strong solid bodies with sculptural surfaces and an avant-garde clarity and extensiveness of control and display zones.
The horizontal, low-lying trim part of the instrument panel with its elegantly sweeping form and flowing lines creates a visual sense of space. This effect is reinforced by the continuation of this undulation into the door linings as a wrap-around.
Depending on the transmission variant, the new E-Class comes with two differently designed centre consoles. Models with automatic transmission have a straight-through centre console, with a dynamically rising, high connection to the cockpit by a control panel in a "Black Panel" glass look. Other controls, such as in the doors, also feature this look. Conversely, models with manual transmission are provided with a centre console in the form of two separate trim parts.
The instrument panel can be adorned with two optional wide, high-resolution displays, each with a 12.3-inch screen diagonal. Located under a shared glass cover, they merge to form a widescreen cockpit. As the instrument cluster, the cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. A shared glass cover results in a modern flat-screen look. The driver can choose between three different styles to select their preferred design for the screen: "Classic", "Sport" and "Progressive".
The entry-level model of the new E-Class combines two tube-type round dials and a 17.8 cm colour display cluster (1000 x 600-pixel resolution) with a central display with a 21.3 cm screen diagonal (960 x 540-pixel resolution). The round dials of the instrument cluster and the central display are embedded in a single frame with a high-gloss piano-lacquer look.
The driver can adapt the content of the central display to suit their personal preferences. With the exception of the navigation map (which always fills the complete display area), the central display of COMAND online is divided into a main area for informative graphics and animations (2/3 on the right side of the display) and a supplementary area (1/3 on the left side of the display).
At night the display can be lit by the multicolour ambient lighting, which further emphasises the floating, semi-integrated design.
Touch control: finger swipes
Another innovative feature available in the new E-Class for the first time is touch-control buttons in the multifunction steering wheel. Like the surface of a smartphone, the two buttons are touch-sensitive and therefore respond precisely to horizontal and vertical finger swipes. This enables the driver to control every function of the infotainment system in a simple, logical and ergonomic manner in a minimum of space without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. Having selected the desired function with a swipe, the driver presses the appropriate button to trigger the function. Another four buttons in each switch panel are provided with the familiar functions, such as for volume control and telephone control.
A further input option is offered by the Touchpad on the centre console in the COMAND Controller. This, too, allows all functions to be controlled by single or multi-finger gestures (multitouch). The Touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting. The system reads out characters detected by handwritten input so that the driver need not avert their gaze from what is happening on the road. A handrest detection feature makes for added operating safety while helping to prevent incorrect inputs. Three touch-sensitive buttons are arranged behind the Touchpad and can be used to operate key functions quickly and directly (back function, switch to favourites menu, audio quick menu).
In addition, the driver can use the COMAND Controller and LINGUATRONIC voice control to control the infotainment system. They can choose at any time which input method they prefer.
The new E-Class can also be controlled by direct buttons, such as for controlling the air-conditioning system or – in another first – for simple activation/deactivation of certain driving assistance systems.
Head-up Display: information in focus
A Head-up Display is a new feature in the E-Class. As in a jet fighter, it projects important information directly into the driver's field of vision on the windscreen, ensuring that there is less distraction from the road ahead. The system provides information on speed, speed limits, navigation instructions and messages from DISTRONIC.
The driver can adjust the height of the virtual image so that it can be easily viewed. On vehicles with seat memory function this feature stores the individual settings. A range of display content can also be enabled or disabled, and the brightness of the display adjusted individually.
Intelligent material design: innovative flowing lines
Modern and high-grade materials define the both sporty and elegant style of the interior. They include open-pore woods, wood in a yachting look with flowing lines as a contemporary interpretation of inlaid wood and a novel metal fabric. The use of authentic materials is also continued in the leather-covered doors and the beltline for selected lines.
The material and colour concept offers a variety of brown shades, including new colour combinations such as macchiato beige/espresso brown or macchiato beige/saddle brown. The load compartment is included as part of the interior in the material and colour concept.
Ambience: lighting atmosphere with 64 colours
The interior lighting makes exclusive use of durable, energy-saving LED technology. The same applies to the optionally available enhanced ambient lighting. With 64 colours, it offers a wealth of personalisation options. It adds illuminating highlights to the trim, the central display, the front stowage compartment on the centre console, the handle recesses, the door pockets, the front and rear footwells, the overhead control panel and the mirror triangle, for example.