Mercedes E-Class saloon - Interior & comfort
Hi-tech, classy, spacious and comfortable interior makes E-Class one of the best on the inside
While rivals may be more fun to drive, none can trump the Mercedes E-Class when it comes to the sheer quality and design excellence of its interior. It exceeds the standards set by the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF and Audi A6, making them feel a little old-fashioned in comparison and raising the bar for cars in the executive saloon class.
The greatest string to the E-Class’ bow is comfort. All models are remarkably quiet at motorway speeds, with long distances dispatched without passengers becoming fatigued. Ride quality is equally impressive, especially with the AIRMATIC air-suspension system fitted as standard on AMG models. Even larger alloy wheel choices do little to impair the Mercedes’ ability to deal with bumps and potholes.
Mercedes E-Class dashboard
The interior design follows very similar lines to the old version of the more expensive S-Class, with a flowing dashboard featuring four central air vents, plush leather and high-quality trim inlays. A twin 12.3-inch widescreen display system is really attractive, stretching out across the dash and giving the car a particularly hi-tech feel, thanks to the latest MBUX software. The screen in front of the driver shows key data like speed and revs, and is customisable depending on driving mode. It also shows a small sat-nav map, while the full screen to the left deals with the infotainment system.
The old click wheel has been swapped for a touchscreen and it's now far easier to plot a route in the sat nav before you set off. However, it's not as easy to adjust zoom on the move, so it's handy that the system automatically zooms in at junctions. The new home screen is more intuitive, and higher trims get sat nav with augmented reality graphics, using the forward facing camera to help show where to turn.
While this set-up is certainly impressive, it pales in comparison to the cutting-edge display found in the E-Class’s electrified sibling, the EQE. The optional Hyperscreen is truly a sight to behold, while even the entry-level 12.8-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen makes the unit in the E-Class seem a tad outdated, despite only being marginally larger.
The interior has been designed with great ergonomics as well as aesthetic appeal; the driving position is good and controls are logically laid out and within easy reach without cluttering the dashboard. As you’d expect from Mercedes, everything feels very solidly put together and the tactile quality of its soft-feel plastics and leather helps the inside of the E-Class feel very luxurious.
The standard E-Class range is available in four trim levels, including entry-level Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, which add more standard kit and styling tweaks.
The Mercedes E-Class is more expensive than most of its main rivals but it does come with plenty of standard equipment. All trim levels include cruise control, parking sensors, a reversing camera, Parktronic and LED headlights. AMG versions get a new steering wheel, with controls split into different sets. Once you're familiar with them, most can be operated without taking your eyes off the road, making them less fiddly than the Sport steering wheel.
An AMG Line Edition trim is exclusive to the hybrid models. It features 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and a more muscular body kit. You'll have to pay extra for real leather, but Mercedes' man-made 'Artico' leather is convincing to look at, robust and fitted as standard.
The AMG Line Premium adds augmented reality navigation and Mercedes’ 360-degree reversing camera, while the car can also search for a suitable parking space. Range-topping AMG Night Edition Premium Plus cars get 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof and a Burmester stereo system.
The list of optional equipment available to E-Class buyers is much shorter than it once was, but includes a Driving Assistance pack, which pretty much allows the car to drive itself. It works in conjunction with the car's adaptive cruise control and allows virtually hands-free driving on motorways. It'll also bring itself to a halt in traffic and then speed up again.
There's also the option to add a tow bar for £700, which also includes a trailer stabilisation mode for the ESP software. This can intervene if it senses the trailer swaying behind the vehicle at speeds above 40mph.
The 4MATIC system may bring some benefits in the worst weather the British winter can serve up, but its £1,500 cost is steep in the short term, while its marked effect on fuel consumption could dramatically increase running costs.
Which Is Best?
- NameE200 Sport 4dr 9G-Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- NameE300e AMG Line Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- NameE450 4Matic AMG Line Night Ed Prem+ 4dr 9G-Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto