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In-depth reviews

Mercedes E-Class review - Interior, design and technology

High quality cabin, plenty of practicality and lots of tech make the new Merc E-Class easy to travel in

From the outside, the Mercedes E-Class takes styling inspiration from the larger S-Class, and it ditches its predecessor’s boxy design in favour of the limousine’s more svelte curves. While the design might not be to everyone’s tastes, the higher-spec AMG Line model has lots of kerb appeal.

You'll spot the plug-in hybrid through its blue brake callipers and charging point integrated into the rear bumper, while hot AMG models are lower and more muscular to look at.

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Step aboard, and the interior also takes its design cues from the S-Class, with a minimalist approach to the dashboard layout. The fascia flows across the cabin, featuring four circular air vents in the centre, while the twin 12.3-inch screens display crisp, sharp graphics. 

A neat row of toggle switches for the climate control on the dash, as well as a few other vital buttons are the only real items to press and prod, as the rest of the infotainment system is controlled from the rotary wheel on the transmission tunnel.

It’s a familiar setup to the rest of the Merc range, but isn’t quite as intuitive to use as some rival systems using similar control interfaces, or a touchscreen device.

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However, you can’t fault the technology on offer. Self-parking is standard on SE trim, as is a reversing camera, sat-nav, LED headlights, Mercedes’ Active Brake Assist, climate and cruise control, keyless go, DAB and heated seats.

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Options include advanced driving assistance systems such as Merc’s new Drive Pilot, however the UK won’t benefit from the automatic lane change function. This still takes us one step closer to autonomous driving, though.

There’s lots of space in the rear and access is easy too, thanks to the 6.5cm longer wheelbase than the previous E-Class. Headroom is also good, but the roomy cabin doesn’t hurt practicality elsewhere.

A 540-litre boot means there’s lots of space on offer for luggage, while adding the Premium Plus Package adds a power assisted bootlid. The E-Class will easily accommodate a family of four on long journeys thanks to the sumptuous, leather lined cabin.

And it’s this quality where the E-Class excels. Whereas the smaller, cheaper C-Class saloon feels flimsy in areas, this mid-size saloon model is more like the larger S-Class when it comes to material quality, fit and finish.

Allied to the advanced tech inside, the E-Class’ interior puts the older A6 and 5 Series in the shade, and beats the newer Jaguar XF, too.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The E 200 d and E 220 d feature Mercedes’ standard Audio 20 infotainment system, with a relatively modest 8.4-inch screen set into the centre of the dash. There’s also the brand’s COMAND rotary controller, which brings a touchpad for straightforward access to the various functions, including Garmin-powered sat-nav, a Bluetooth connection, voice control and a DAB radio.

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However, you can also get Merc's impressive COMAND Online set-up, which is standard on all six-cylinder petrol and diesel models, but a £1,495 upgrade on other cars. It brings a fair amount for the money, including a large 12.3-inch screen and crisp graphics. 

Other additions include a Wi-Fi hotspot and a concierge service free for a year, after which you pay a subscription. If you’ve added the COMAND set-up, it’s probably worth splashing out on the £495 digital dial pack, as the two displays give the interior a hi-tech feel. E 350d variants also get twin touch pads on the steering wheel to navigate through different menus – especially useful if you go for the extra 12.3-inch dial pack. 

Go for the Premium Plus package and the E-Class also gets a high-end Burmester surround sound stereo, which is powerful and punchy, emitting a clear sound.

There’s plenty of scope to customise the look of the car inside, too, with different trim inlays and upholstery colours, while extras like the seat comfort package further improve the E-Class’ long distance cruising ability.

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