W214 Mercedes-Benz E-Class interior gets MBUX Superscreen, TikTok, Zoom, Angry Birds, selfie cam! – paultan.org
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the interior of the sixth-generation E-Class (codenamed W214) sedan, which is set to make its debut this year. According to the German carmaker, the W214 will arrive at European dealerships in the summer before a market launch in the United States kicks off this autumn.
In terms of design, the dashboard of the all-new E-Class appears to be inspired by the brand’s flagship EV sedan, the EQS. Unlike the current S-Class and C-Class that feature individual air vents, the E-Class integrates them into a thin bar that spans the width of the dash, extending slightly to meet with the bottom section of the dash.
This forms a frame for the two touchscreens, which is highlighted by an ambient light strip. You’ll find more lighting in the door cards, with the upper strip extending all the way past the A-pillars to near the base of the windscreen. In this vicinity, you’ll also notice the selfie camera. Yes, Mercedes-Benz has placed a selfie camera inside its car, and we’ll get to that later on.
The discreet air vents can be directed by manual adjustment or electrically if Thermotronic is optioned, which includes a new comfort function called Digital Vent Control where each vent duct has two electric motors – one for the vertical and one for the horizontal louvres.
Elsewhere, the driver is faced with a standing digital instrument cluster (with Classic and Sporty styles) and a steering wheel design that is common among the brand’s models these days. There’s also a small row of controls just before you reach the centre console for things like drive modes, driver assists, media volume, a fingerprint reader, what appears to charging-related and quick access to vehicle functions. Climate controls have been integrated into the main infotainment screen.
Progressing further, the centre console is largely uneventful, with the front storage compartment containing cupholders, while the armrest in the rear section hides USB parts in the storage space below – there’s ambient lighting here too. As you’d expect, there’s no shortage of upholsteries, colours and trims offered so customers can personalise their cars to their taste.
While the interior design isn’t a radical departure from existing models, Mercedes-Benz did go to great lengths to cram as much technology into the cabin as possible. “Customers can look forward to a particularly immersive entertainment experience in the new E-Class,” it said in its release.
Remember that selfie camera? Well, it allows users to participate in online video conferences and take photos or videos when the car is stationary. This is part of the optional MBUX Superscreen (not to be confused with the EQS’ MBUX Hyperscreen) that is represented by the glass-covered large touchscreen in the centre of the dash.
This version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience is powered by a central computer with a single processor instead of multiple processor for different functions. The carmaker says its new software-focused architecture allows for faster data streams and individual updating of interior systems in the future. If it’s starting to sound like a smartphone, you’re not far off.
In fact, the software used for the infotainment system comes with a new compatibility layer that allows third-party apps to be installed. At launch, Mercedes-Benz says the E-Class will support TikTok, the Angry Birds game, the Vivaldi browser as well as Webex and Zoom. The entertainment portal Zync is also included for streaming services, although this requires the MBUX Entertainment Plus package for data input up to 5G speeds.
The front passenger isn’t left out either. With the optional screen that sits beside the main one, he or she can view content without distracting the driver. This is because the front passenger display is switchable and there’s a function the carmaker calls a visual shield that uses an advanced filtering concept to make sure the driver can no longer see the content on that specific screen.
The concept works in two stages, with the first being recognising if the front passenger seat is occupied and will either enable the on-screen functions or turn into a digital decorative feature. Should the front passenger want to watch a movie, the display’s dual light control technology prevents content from being seen peripherally by the person behind the wheel.
This function can be switched on and off, but the cameras (one in the instrument cluster and the other on the top of the dash) will constantly monitor the driver’s eye movements and consider driving inputs to determine if the driver is distracted. If needed, the brightness of the passenger screen is reduced.
Mercedes-Benz says this technology has been verified in extensive trials with test subjects and noted in its release that “the authorities in the European Union, the USA, China, Norway, the United Kingdom and Switzerland allow free audio enjoyment of dynamic content with this system.”
One feature that the new E-Class offers that all passengers can enjoy is its built-in rave lights, or better known by its marketing term: Active Ambient Lighting. Essentially, Mercedes-Benz wants acoustics to be experienced with a third sense, which is vision. As such, the light strips we talked about earlier act as visualisers corresponding to the type of music played – rapid light changes for fast beats and softly merging lighting moods with slower rhythms.
On the mention of sound, the E-Class is available with a Burmester 4D surround sound system that consists of 17 loud speakers, allowing it to have native integration of Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos from Apple Music.
The Active Ambient Lighting will also visualise information from the parking assist and can warn the driver when using the Drive Away function of Active Brake Assist to exit junctions with crossing traffic. Additionally, the system is enabled when the anti-car-sickness function of Energizing Comfort is activated.
Entertainment purposes aside, the infotainment system also adapts to the personal habits of the owner thanks to artificial intelligence. This allows routines to be programmed or automatically generated as the car learns how it is being used on the daily, although the latter is still in development. Similarly, in-app and function suggestions are also presented as per the so-called zero-layer interface of MBUX that appeared in the EQS.
Are you impressed by the interior of the all-new E-Class? Will you be looking forward to play Angry Birds or conduct a video conference right from the driver seat?
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