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The new E-Class: dimensional concept and interior design

Customers can look forward to a particularly immersive entertainment experience in the new E‑Class. Music, games and streaming content can be experienced in the car with almost all the senses. Thanks to digital innovations in the interior, the E-Class is now more intelligent, achieving a new dimension of personalisation and interaction. At the same time, the electronic architecture is more software-driven and less hardware-driven. This forms the basis for more individual updating of the interior systems in the future.

The computing functions of previously separate domains take place in a single processor. Screens and the MBUX infotainment system thus share a new, very powerful central onboard computer. This form of networking improves performance, as the data streams can be transmitted significantly faster.

The Entertainment package (MBUX Entertainment Plus) will be available for the new E-Class. It includes hardware, Mercedes me connect services[1] and a data package from a third-party provider. Depending on the market, a communication module with 5G as the transmission technology is used[2]. The mobile phone standard 5G makes much faster data rates possible than LTE/UMTS[3].

The E-Class launch starts with the Saloon model. The first models of the 214 series will arrive at the European dealerships in summer 2023. In the USA, the market launch will take place in autumn 2023.

Music becomes visible: sound visualisation
With the new Active Ambient Lighting with Sound Visualisation, occupants in the new E-Class can experience music with three senses: pieces of music and the sound from films or apps can be heard (with Dolby Atmos® technology if desired), felt (by means of sound resonating transducers in the optional Burmester® 4D surround sound system) and now also “seen”. Visualisation takes place on the light strip of the Active Ambient Lighting (optional extra). For the first time, this applies throughout in the E-Class. For example, fast sequences of beats can cause rapid light changes, while flowing rhythms can create softly merging lighting moods.

The entertainment experience for the front passenger is always impressive. On his/her optional screen, the front passenger can watch dynamic content such as TV or video streaming1 even when the driver at the wheel is looking over at them. This is because the display is switchable. The advanced camera-based visual shield function reduces its brightness and thus reduces the risk of distraction for the driver.

The entertainment programme in the E-Class is more interactive than ever. The software experts at Mercedes-Benz have developed a new compatibility layer that allows the installation of third-party apps[4]. The following apps are available on the central display on the launch of the E-Class[5]: the entertainment platform “TikTok”, the game “Angry Birds”, the collaboration application “Webex”, the office application “Zoom” and the browser “Vivaldi”. In addition, the ZYNC entertainment portal[6] (optionally) offers video streaming, on-demand content, interactive experiences, local video programmes, sports, news, games and much more on the central and passenger displays, via one user interface.

Another new feature is a selfie and video camera (part of the optional MBUX Superscreen) on top of the dashboard[7]. When the vehicle is stationary, the driver[8] can participate in online video conferences via e.g. Webex, and take personal photos and videos.

More operating convenience is also available with MBUX. With the “Just Talk” function, the intelligent voice control can now be activated without the keyword “Hey Mercedes”. When the function is activated, a red microphone symbol appears in the display. This indicates that the vehicle is ready and waiting for commands.

Added day-to-day convenience: the routines
Mercedes-Benz is working on using artificial intelligence (AI) so that the car learns which comfort systems vehicle occupants use repeatedly. Given the same circumstances, the aim is for AI to automate such functions[9]. The result is personalised automation. Mercedes-Benz uses the term “routine” for this innovation, the development of which is already well advanced.

On the launch of the new E-Class, customers will be able to use templates for standard routines. They also have the option of creating routines themselves. In doing so, the occupants can link several functions and conditions. For example, “Switch on the seat heating and set the ambient lighting to warm orange if the interior temperature is below twelve degrees Celsius”.

For enhanced well-being: ENERGIZING COMFORT and THERMOTRONIC with Digital Vent Control (both optional) Soothing sounds, mobilising massage, activating light – Mercedes-Benz offers a comprehensive wellness programme with the variously configured ENERGIZING COMFORT programmes and the individual recommendations of the ENERGIZING COACH. The E-Class brings the debut of a new feature: The Motion sickness prevention programme[10] of ENERGIZING COMFORT helps affected passengers to alleviate the symptoms. A bio‑feedback function10 is planned for the ENERGIZING COACH in the medium term. This can reduce the feeling of stress with breathing exercises.

With THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control (optional extra), Digital Vent Control enhances the comfort experience. It automatically adjusts the front air vents to a desired ventilation scenario. This can be done via the user profile on a seat-by-seat basis, for example. However, the nozzles can also be aligned by hand as usual.

MBUX Superscreen with a large glass surface and newly designed icons: the interior design
Sporty, high-quality, digital – these three attributes describe the interior design. The instrument panel shapes the digital experience in the interior. If the E-Class is equipped with the optional front passenger screen, a large glass surface extends to the central display. Visually detached from this is the high-resolution instrument cluster display in the driver’s field of vision.

The main icons on the central and optional passenger displays are now simpler, and also colour-coded to match smartphone tiles. This enables the driver to recognise them even more intuitively.

“The heart of the brand” for over 75 years: history
With more than 17 million vehicles delivered since 1946, the E-Class and its predecessors are the best-selling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz. Many perceive it as the “heart of the brand”. The E-Class’s heritage dates back to the very early days of the brand. Even in the early years of the 20th century, the predecessor companies of today’s Mercedes-Benz AG dominated this segment: vehicles positioned below the luxury class but above the small car class are an integral part of the model portfolio of Mercedes-Benz and the original brands. Since the 1930s, the models have had designations that still sound familiar today: for example the 200 (1933) and 230 (1936), as well as the diesel variant 260 D (W 138, 1936) – the world’s first diesel-powered passenger car.

Analogue and digital sensory experience
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: the interior design

  • Sporty, high-quality, digital – these three attributes describe the interior of the new E-Class
  • The combination of digital and analogue luxury was previously reserved for top-of-the-range models
  • Newly designed icons on the screens can be recognised even more intuitively by drivers

The instrument panel shapes the digital experience in the interior. If the E-Class is equipped with the optional front passenger screen, the large glass surface of the MBUX Superscreen extends to the central display. Visually detached from this is the high-resolution instrument cluster display in the driver’s field of vision.

The contour of the cover glass is dynamic in design. For the central display, the glass surface is extended downwards accordingly. The profile becomes flat towards the outer edges. A narrow nozzle band nestles against the upper contour of the glass surface, connecting the central nozzle with the outer nozzles to form a single unit.

The models without a passenger display feature a large trim element that extends to the centre. Visually detached, the central display appears to float above the concave surface of this trim element.

The front section of the instrument panel is illuminated by the light strip of the Active Ambient Lighting. This runs in a wide arc from the windscreen, past the A-pillars and into the doors, so creating a spacious feeling in the way the door panels merge with the collar of the instrument panel to form a single unit. An apparently free-floating control island in the upper section of the door panels matches the look of the glass surfaces of the screens.

The centre console is designed as a homogeneous unit and merges in a straight line into the lower section of the instrument panel. At the front, a storage compartment with lid and cup holders is integrated into the three-dimensionally shaped trim element. There is a soft padded armrest in the rear part of the centre console. USB ports are located in the compartment below.

The door centre panel merges seamlessly into the armrest with a concave sweep. The front section here is designed as a metallic high-tech element. It serves as a grab and closing handle, and incorporates the switches for the power windows. Another highlight is the free-floating control island incorporating the door opener and the controls for the seat functions.

The contours of the seat surface and backrest flow elegantly from the inside to the outside and seem to float above the basic body of the seat thanks to their layer design. Indented vertical lines follow the outer contour, widening out towards the top. The association made here by the interior designers was with the organic beauty of shells. If the customer opts for leather upholstery, the seats are designed with elaborate longitudinal fluting, created in individual panels. The nappa leather seats feature quilted and perforated diamond patterns that follow the shape of the seat. The DINAMICA seat offered as part of the AMG Line interior is also perforated.

Extensive range of interior colours and trims
The colour & trim concept conveys a technoid character. E-Class buyers can choose between numerous interior colour combinations. The palette ranges from light beige combined with space grey, including a classy pearl effect, to the sophisticated, cinnamon-coloured tonka brown and the cool and technical-looking grey.

The interior surfaces have a new fine-grain finish from the base trim level upwards, underlining the contemporary character. The interplay between analogue and digital sensory experience is further exemplified by the wide range of trims with innovative, natural or technoid surfaces. Exclusive to the E-Class is interior trim of open-pore wood – dark ash – which is backlit by the Mercedes-Benz pattern.

In addition to other trim variants featuring open-pore woods, the “MANUFAKTUR black flowing lines piano lacquer” variant familiar from the S-Class is also available. Another highlight is interior trim in a silver-coloured metal-mix material. Its high-gloss finish gives it a very futuristic look.

Customisable UI design
The main icons on the central and optional passenger displays are now simpler, and also colour-coded to match smartphone tiles. This enables the driver to recognise them even more intuitively.

With two display styles (Classic and Sporty) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service), the graphics of the screens can be individualised. In the “Classic” style, the driver is greeted by the familiar display layout with the look of two dial instruments. Varying content with vehicle-related information is displayed between the two tubes.

The “Sporty” style is dominated by the colour red, with a dynamically designed central rev counter. A holistically impressive colour experience is created in the interior by the optional seven colour themes of the ambient lighting.


Sound becomes visible
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: sound visualisation

  • Sound is interpreted in visual terms on the light strip of the Active Ambient Lighting system
  • This in-house development works with any source of entertainment sound
  • For the first time, the light strip takes the form of a continuous line in the cockpit

For a long time, it was only possible to listen to music in the car. Starting with the current S-Class generation and the Burmester® 4D surround sound system, the sound has also been “feelable” for a few years now. Structure-borne sound transducers (exciters) in the seat backrests translate sounds into vibrations. Now, in the new E-Class, the acoustics can be experienced with a third sense: the active light strip at the top of the instrument panel and in the front door panels can be used to produce a visual interpretation of any content from any of the sources of entertainment sound. This extends, for example, to music tracks and the sound from films and apps. For example, fast sequences of beats can cause rapid light changes, while flowing rhythms can create softly merging lighting moods.

This in-house development by Mercedes-Benz is available in conjunction with Active Ambient Lighting. Software analyses the audio signals based on the parameters of frequency (bass/mid-tones/treble tones) and direction (right/left). The visual representation is beat-synchronous, in other words with no time lag. Depending on the preferred colour selected for the ambient lighting, the bass, mid-tones and high tones are visualised locally in coordinated colour tones and brightness levels. To use the function, the customer only needs to activate the “Sound visualisation” button on the central display. When a telephone call is accepted, the playback and visual display of the music are automatically stopped. System prompts from the driving assistance systems[11] naturally have a higher priority within the Active Ambient Lighting than the sound visualisation function, and therefore temporarily overlay it.

In the E-Class, the light strip in the cockpit takes the form of a continuous line for the first time and is no longer interrupted by the driver’s display. In addition to the sound visualisation, the functional scope of the Active Ambient Lighting is supplemented and expanded by further new features:

  • Information from the parking assistant is visualised.
  • In the anti-car-sickness function of ENERGIZING COMFORT (see corresponding section), the Active Ambient Lighting is also actuated.
  • And the Drive Away function of Active Brake Assist[12], which ensures extra safety when moving off on junctions with crossing traffic, can use the active ambient lighting to give a visual warning.

Multidimensional sound experience
The E-Class is available with the Burmester® 4D surround sound system as an option. A total of 17 loudspeakers and four structure-borne sound transducers allow high-end music lovers to experience a new world of sound in their vehicle. The structure-borne sound transducers are installed in the front seats. Another element contributing to a premium listening experience is the native integration of Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos® from Apple Music[13]. The immersive audio experience adds space, clarity and depth to the music.


For more app variety
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: the in-car apps[14]

  • Third-party apps optimised for the vehicle for a better user experience
  • Popular apps such as the entertainment platform “TikTok” and the game “Angry Birds”, among others[15]
  • Part of the optional Entertainment package, download possible directly in the E-Class

Until now, apps found their way into the car mainly by being mirrored from the user’s smartphone into the infotainment system. Apple Car Play or Android Auto are such systems, which allow some functions of the mobile device to be used on the central and passenger display while the car is moving. The software experts at Mercedes-Benz have developed a new compatibility layer that allows the installation of third-party apps.

For example, the driver can use the vehicle’s own selfie and video camera for the collaboration application “Webex” and the video conferencing app “Zoom”[16]. To avoid driver distraction, image transmission is not activated while driving. There is an added advantage: the new software architecture means that apps will find their way into the vehicle much more quickly in future.

A new App Store has been integrated into the Mercedes me Store, with a gradually expanding portfolio of apps. In this way, the E-Class remains up-to-date and can be extensively personalised.

The following apps are part of the portfolio at the launch of the new E-Class:

  •  “TikTok”
  • “Angry Birds” game
  • “Webex by Cisco”, cloud-based collaboration solutions
  • Video conference system “Zoom”
  • “Vivaldi” browser

The entertainment portal ZYNC is also on board. On a user interface on the central and passenger displays (optional), it offers video streaming, on-demand content, interactive experiences, local video programmes, sports, news and much more. More than 30 streaming services from well-known global, regional and local partners are already available, while further partners and channels are continually being integrated.

The in-car calendar also has new features. Compared to the previous version as part of In-Car-Office, it is now even more compatible with public (i.e. non-corporate) calendars.


Intelligent image filtering
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: the visual shield function of the passenger screen

  • Further improved concept reduces the risk of distraction for the driver
  • The front passenger can still see dynamic content on the screen
  • In many countries, the use of headphones is no longer a requirement

In Europe and in more and more countries, the front passenger can watch dynamic content such as TV or video streaming on the display during a journey. The prerequisite for this is that the driver is protected from distraction. The camera-based system in the E-Class uses an advanced filtering concept that is even more intelligent than the previous solution. The driver can no longer see the content on the screen. This has been verified in extensive trials with test subjects. In addition, the authorities in the EU, the USA, China, Norway, the UK and Switzerland allow free audio enjoyment of dynamic content with this system. The pairing of headphones is not a mandatory requirement in this respect.

The concept works in two stages: first of all, the seat occupancy recognition system registers whether the seat next to the driver is occupied. If this is the case, the touch surface of the display can be used via MBUX from the passenger seat while on the move. If the front passenger seat is not occupied, the screen becomes a digital decorative feature. The customer can choose from various motifs. Among them is a starry sky, for example, i.e. the Mercedes-Benz pattern.

The passenger display’s dual light control (DLC) technology prevents dynamic content such as films from being seen peripherally by the person behind the wheel. This visual shield function developed by Mercedes‑Benz can be switched on and off. Based on the content, the system can thus switch the visibility for the driver on or off.

A camera (either in the driver’s display or on the dashboard, depending on the equipment) also records the driver’s eye movements. The intelligent system can detect whether the eyes are looking at the front passenger screen. This takes into account, for example, how the driver steers and how often and for how long he/she looks over to the passenger side. If necessary, the brightness of the passenger screen is reduced. The passenger can therefore continue to follow the graphic content while it is not visible to the driver. This reduces the potential for distraction to a minimum.


Artificial intelligence will relieve the burden of everyday processes in the future
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: the routines

  • This allows the E-Class to be adapted to personal habits
  • First of all, templates and self-created routines will relieve the workload during everyday driving
  • In the next stage of development, AI-generated routines for the driver will follow

Stop at the company gate shortly before 8 o’clock in the morning, lower the side window and present your company pass to be allowed to drive onto the premises – many working people start their working day like this, or similarly. But there are also recurring processes during leisure time: on Tuesday evenings after tennis practice, for example, the seat heating is always switched on when returning home. These are just two of the many applications where Mercedes-Benz wants to make everyday tasks easier for its customers with the help of so-called routines[17].

At market launch of the new model series, the following options will be available:

  1. Templates: With the help of these templates, customers can experiment with the basic types of support that are possible with the help of artificial intelligence. Examples here include “Cold days” (switching on the seat heating at a certain outside temperature, ambient lighting changes to warm orange) or “Date night” (romantic music is played via Bluetooth audio, ambient lighting turns pink). The templates are mostly stored in the backend. Some are stored locally in the vehicle, so they can be used even if there happens to be no connectivity. The templates are operated via the vehicle’s central display and are arranged in carousel-style on the screen.
  2. Self-created routines: Conditions can be linked to an action on the central display For example, “Switch on the seat heating and set the ambient lighting to warm orange if the interior temperature is below twelve degrees Celsius”. The E-Class driver can also assign a name to such self‑created routines, such as “Warm me up”. Under this personally chosen name, the routine then appears on the screen under the menu item “My routines” and can be activated there. This routine category can be recognised by the blue tab in the menu bar. Routines can be created and edited in the vehicle, on the central display.
  3. AI-generated routines17: In the future, the aim is for the E-Class to fully automate recurring routine tasks if desired. Artificial intelligence (AI) will make this possible. The vehicle’s ability to learn and evolve with the customer will represent a new level of intelligence. In the first stage of expansion, Mercedes-Benz will offer AI-generated routines for the driver and the seating system (ventilation, heating, massage). Other interior systems are to be successively integrated and further routines made possible.

Equally adaptive: in-app suggestions and “Magic Modules”
Mercedes-Benz is already using AI as part of MBUX: on the one hand, the apps for navigation, radio and phone already suggest actions. These are based on how likely an application is and include the suggestion of a specific phone number or navigation destination. On the other hand, more than 20 additional functions – from ENERGIZING COMFORT to birthday reminders to suggestions for the to-do list – are offered automatically with the help of AI if they are relevant to the particular customer. Internally, the developers have christened these modules “Magic Modules”. They are displayed on the so-called zero-layer interface of MBUX.

With the “Just Talk” function, the intelligent voice control can now be activated without the keyword “Hey Mercedes”. When the function is activated, a red microphone symbol appears in the display. This means that the vehicle is ready and waiting for commands such as “Navigate me to Berlin, to the Brandenburg Gate” or “Please turn on the seat heating”. Furthermore, with the voice control, several commands can now be linked by “and”.


For more peace of mind, physical fitness and climatic comfort
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: ENERGIZING COMFORT and climate control

  • To alleviate symptoms: new ENERGIZING COMFORT programme Motion sickness prevention[18]
  • More wearables can be linked, in future with a bio-feedback function[19]: ENERGIZING COACH
  • Automatic setting: the THERMOTRONIC electric air vents

Many car drivers are familiar with motion sickness (kinetosis) from their own experience. Symptoms include fatigue, sweating, paleness, drowsiness, nausea, headache and vomiting. The new Motion sickness prevention programme of ENERGIZING COMFORT can alleviate the front passenger’s symptoms or delay their onset, reduce the perceived severity and generally increase well-being.

As with all ENERGIZING COMFORT programs, several comfort systems work together in this new function: The passenger is prompted to incline the seatback slightly to the rear. The seat cushion is adjusted automatically. Fresh air is supplied from the air conditioning system in intermittent bursts. The Active Ambient Lighting is animated in accordance with the speed, while the audio system and, if required, the ionisation and fragrancing of the optional AIR BALANCE package are likewise activated. A reduced, atmospheric video animation is shown on the front passenger or central display. The ENERGIZING COMFORT program can be used either while the vehicle is on the move or when it is stationary. When the approximately ten-minute program ends, the front passenger seat is automatically returned to its original position.

Mercedes-Benz already offers a comprehensive wellness programme with the multi-faceted ENERGIZING COMFORT programmes. The ENERGIZING programs in the E-Class have been slightly revised in terms of content, heightening the experience. In the Vitality program, ENERGIZING Seat Kinetics is now activated throughout in parallel with a massage, and supports the muscles with small changes in the seat surface and backrest angles. The music of the ENERGIZING COMFORT programs has also been updated. Depending on the equipment level, the system now also uses Dolby Surround 7.1 in the E-Class.

ENERGIZING COACH: more wearables and bio-feedback
New features of the ENERGIZING COACH in the E-Class include the integration of additional wearables and expansion of the vital data shown in the central display[20]. The ENERGIZING COACH is based on an intelligent algorithm. It recommends the Freshness, Warmth, Vitality or Joy programme depending on the situation and individual. If compatible wearables are integrated, vital data such as stress level or quality of sleep optimise the accuracy of the recommendation. The Mercedes me ENERGIZING app transmits the vital data to the ENERGIZING COACH via a smartwatch. The respective comfort programme can be started directly via the recommendation in the form of a “notification” in the MBUX system. The aim is to ensure that the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys. In the E-Class, in addition to pulse and stress level, the number of steps taken per day and the calories burned are now also shown on the central display.

Mercedes-Benz is also planning to expand ENERGIZING COACH with a bio-feedback function. Front passengers can then reduce high stress levels by performing breathing exercises while driving. The programme provides detailed and interactive guidance: the ideal inhalation and exhalation intervals are indicated on the central display with the help of the bio-feedback. Feedback supports the six-second breathing phases. Depending on the equipment of the E-Class, the bio-feedback includes adjustment of the backrest angle, a light cone in the Active Ambient Lighting and a wave sound.

THERMOTRONIC with Digital Vent Control: air vents adjustment as if by magic
If the customer opts for the THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system (optional extra), the E-Class comes with a new type of air vents: All air vents in the front area can be adjusted electrically as if by magic. This new comfort function is called Digital Vent Control. It is technically implemented with actuators. In each ventilation duct there are two of these small electric motors, one for the vertical and one for the horizontal louvres.

The operating concept is hybrid. Adjustment by hand is still possible. Visually, the intelligent air vents are indistinguishable from the purely manual versions in the base model, and the operating force required for both variants is also the same.

Three functions increase climatic comfort: Customers can select presets for the air vents in MBUX (“Head”, “Upper body”, “Even” and “Averted”). Seat-related personalisation of the ais vent position is also possible. If the air vents are adjusted manually, the menu item jumps to “Individual”. In this setting, the air vents can be adjusted by hand to a preferred airflow. This individual setting is saved and stored in the user profile. With Active Defrost for the side windows, the air vents are set in the direction of the side windows.