Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 2024 E-Class’ interior, and while its cabin is not a radical departure in design from existing Benzes, the new E-Class is packed full of interesting and advanced features that will influence the rest of the lineup — like a selfie camera and built-in apps for TikTok and Zoom.
One of the major upgrades in the 2024 E-Class is the Superscreen, which combines the large standard central touchscreen with a second display in front of the passenger. (Unlike the EQS’s Hyperscreen, the digital gauge cluster remains a standalone display.) It looks beautiful, with slim air vents that curve around the top of the screen and a row of touch-capacitive buttons sitting below the center display.
Mercedes-Benz’s high-end models like the S-Class and EQS typically showcase the brand’s most cutting-edge technology. But as the brand’s best-selling model lineup, the relatively humble E-Class is arguably even more important, and the next generation is arriving later this year.
The rest of the cabin is largely similar to what we’ve seen from other new Mercedes models, with a large center console, floating armrests on the door panels, and tons of ambient lighting, including one long strip that surrounds the entire dash. There are new leather color and wood trim options, like open-pore wood with a backlit Mercedes star pattern, and even base models have higher-quality surfaces.
Powering the Superscreen and its MBUX infotainment system is a central computer with a single processor, whereas previous models used multiple processors for different functions. Mercedes says its new software-focused architecture allows for much faster data streams and more advanced updates. An available Entertainment Plus package adds a 5G connection and other connected services. The icon and menu design has been simplified to look more like smartphone tiles, and users are able to customize more of the display’s functions.
The 2024 E-Class will come standard with a 17-speaker Burmester 4D surround sound system with sound transducers in the front seats, and it features Dolby Atmos technology in addition to supporting Spatial Audio through Apple Music. The sound experience is further amplified through the optional active ambient lighting’s Sound Visualization feature, which was developed in-house by Mercedes. The interior light strips pulse and change to the beat of whatever music you’re listening to, with the software analyzing bass, mid-tones, and treble with no lag.
Streaming video content is available on the passenger screen, and depending on regulations, it could be allowed on the center screen in the future when Mercedes’ Level 3 Drive Pilot system is activated. What will be available at launch on the new E-Class are third-party apps that don’t require smartphone mirroring through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Depending on the car’s equipment, a selfie and video camera is mounted either in the gauge display or on top of the dashboard, and the E-Class will offer both Zoom and Webex by Cisco video conferencing, the Vivaldi web browser, and even TikTok. Also part of the E-Class’ tech suite at launch is the Zync portal, which includes over 30 different streaming services encompassing live sports, news, gaming and other content.
Touchscreens are becoming ever more popular in new cars, and they have been proven to be more distracting than traditional buttons. A recent Swedish study found that drivers of modern cars took up to four times longer to perform regular tasks than in a 17-year-old Volvo.
Mercedes has installed multiple safeguards to make sure E-Class drivers won’t be distracted by the passenger’s screen. The touch function of the screen is only activated if the sensors in the passenger seat detect an occupant; otherwise, it acts as a screensaver. Dual light control technology acts as a “visual shield,” making the passenger screen invisible to the driver, depending on what sort of content is being shown. That selfie camera tracks the driver’s eye movements, taking into account how often and for how long the driver looks over toward the passenger screen. The car can also automatically dim the passenger screen to make it less distracting to the driver while still being visible to the passenger.
Also helping to lessen distractions caused by the huge screens and complex features is an upgraded AI assistant. The MBUX software no longer requires you to say “Hey Mercedes” before issuing any voice commands — instead, a new “Just Talk” feature is indicated by a red microphone symbol on the display, allowing drivers to more easily give commands for things like navigation and climate control. Multiple commands can now be linked together by saying “and.” Owners can create new routines for the car, like turning on seat heating and changing the ambient lighting color to orange if the cabin temperature is below 50 degrees or automatically lowering the driver’s window when you arrive at work at the same time each day.
The E-Class will have a number of set templates as well, like one for “date night” that plays romantic music and turns the lighting pink, and in the future, the E-Class will be able to automatically generate its own routines for regularly used tasks using AI as the car learns your habits.
The new E-Class will be one of Mercedes’ last gas-powered cars, as the brand is set to be EV only by 2030. It’ll ride on a modified version of the platform used by the C-Class and S-Class, with a lineup of hybridized four- and six-cylinder engines and potentially a fully electric variant. Exterior styling will be evolutionary, and while the wagon will live on, the E-Class coupe and cabriolet will be dropped in favor of a new two-door model, likely called CLE. Expect the 2024 E-Class to be fully revealed in just a few months.