The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Interior Highlights
Noise, stress and the rush of everyday life remain locked outside, replaced by an overriding feeling of comfort and relaxation
by Thomas Philips | 10 March 2010
Welcome home. The slogan for the new E-Class can be taken literally. Just by getting in and closing the door, you find yourself in a totally different world. Noise, stress and the rush of everyday life remain locked outside, replaced by an overriding feeling of comfort and relaxation. Elegant forms, fine materials, attractive colours, comfortable seats and exquisitely designed details create an atmosphere in which you immediately feel at home.
One of the key aspects the Mercedes engineers focussed on to create this exceptional level of comfort was the new dimensional concept for the body and the interior, which differs from that of the outgoing model in many respects and thus allowed a new form of “spatial planning”. More space equals more comfort was the principle the product planners applied to design a body that is 16 millimetres longer, 10 millimetres lower and 32 millimetres wider than previously. Measured against the outgoing E-Class model, the wheelbase length has been increased by 20 millimetres to 2874 millimetres, which is a major factor behind the enhanced ride comfort and interior spaciousness. This is highlighted for example by the seat reference point, effectively the distance between the front and rear seats, which is crucial in determining the space in which the occupants are able to move: it measures 848 millimetres (outgoing model: 838 millimetres) and is therefore on a par with the level which, not so many years ago, was the standard for top-end luxury cars.
The occupants also benefit from the new dimensions of the E-Class when it comes to shoulder room and elbow width. Here the new Saloon impresses by offering up to 51 millimetres more (rear elbow width) than its predecessor, largely down to the wider body (+ 32 millimetres) and the wider track (front + 23 millimetres, rear + 49 millimetres). The effective headroom for the driver and front passenger has been increased by ten millimetres compared to the previous E-Class and now stands at 1048 millimetres; rear headroom is now 972 millimetres – an increase of eleven millimetres.
When it came to “spatial planning” of the boot, the Mercedes experts focussed on the everyday qualities drivers expect from an executive saloon. Hence the key criteria for the boot design were sufficient space for safely stowing four people’s luggage, practical variability when using the luggage compartment and excellent functionality for stowing large and small items. As well as being evident in the bare figures, the impressive end result can above all be seen when it comes to everyday practicality. Compared to the predecessor model, the length of the luggage compartment has been increased by 33 millimetres to 1177 millimetres, while the height has risen by 14 millimetres to 468 millimetres. The smallest luggage compartment width between the wheel arches has been extended by 24 millimetres and now measures 1000 millimetres. Furthermore, the boot opening, important for loading, has also been widened – by eleven millimetres to 500 millimetres.
In practice, these dimensions mean that there is now space for two jumbo suitcases side by side on the flat load-compartment floor or for four golf bags (including clubs). The overall boot capacity of 540 litres (as per the VDA measuring method) has been maintained despite the far more extensive basic equipment package for the new E-Class. There are 78 litres of stowage space available in the compartment beneath the luggage-compartment floor. And the optionally available folding rear-seat backrests allow Mercedes customers to increase the load-carrying capacity depending on the transport task in hand as well as producing a practically flat load bay. Standard-fit load-securing rings enable items of luggage to be secured in place.
For fast and easy stowage of smaller items, Mercedes-Benz equips the load compartment of the new E-Class with a robust bag hook and stowage nets on the load compartment side panelling. One new addition is the optional EASY-PACK load-compartment box, which attaches below the parcel shelf. From here, the box measuring around 530 millimetres in width can be pulled forwards and loaded with ease as it unfurls downwards and has variable settings. The box has a maximum capacity of 55 litres and can carry up to ten kilograms.
Wide choice of seats for business-class travel and wellbeing
Many aspects of the multicontour seat for the new E-Class have been further enhanced, prompting “Aktion Gesunder Rücken” (a German organisation that promotes back health) to award the seat its coveted seal of approval. Multicontour means that the occupants are able to adapt the contours of the seat to suit their anatomy or personal preferences. This is made possible by inflatable air chambers beneath the seat padding. A new method for adjusting the side bolsters allows the backrest width to be adjusted continuously variably by up to 45 millimetres on each side – in other words by a total of up to 90 millimetres.In the outgoing model, the maximum adjustment range was just 50 millimetres.
Another plus point of the new multicontour seat is the function for pneumatically adjusting the seat cushion length. The front air cushion increases the seat cushion length by up to 50 millimetres at the push of a button, allowing occupants to relax their legs and ensuring good blood circulation.
The likewise new active multicontour seat offers the same comfort functions and more than lives up to its name: fast piezo valves at the air chambers vary the inflation pressure and volume of the air chambers in the backrest side bolsters depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and road speed so as to offer the driver and the front passenger even better support.This active function relieves strain on the musculature and enhances well-being. Plus it improves safety as the fast piezo valves allow the active multicontour seats to be integrated into the PRE-SAFE®anticipatory occupant protection system (also see page 54): if the PRE-SAFE®control unit detects a critical driving situation, it activates the air chambers in the backrests almost instantaneously. These then envelope the seat occupants and provide them with support, limiting the dangerous whiplash movements of the upper body in the event of accident.
To ensure a relaxed and fatigue-free ride, the Mercedes engineers have developed another special feature, available in conjunction with the active multicontour seat, in the shape of a massage cushion in the backrest. It consists of seven air chambers that are inflated and deflated cyclically so that the passengers feel a pleasant rolling movement across their entire back area. This movement stimulates the musculature, boosts circulation and counteracts premature fatigue. The massage mat operates independently of the contour and lumbar settings.
Further features of the active multicontour seat include a luxury head restraint with moving side bolsters, which also incorporates crash-responsive NECK-PRO technology.
Filled seat piping for a new comfort experience right from the off
For the E-Class, the Mercedes experts have further enhanced the quality of a tried-and-trusted Mercedes concept: filled seat piping. This is a special form of upholstery in which an additional layer of foam is inserted under the fabric or leather cover. The soft upholstery makes the occupants feel comfortable and relaxed as soon as they take their seats in the car. The experts attach great importance to first impressions, in this case the impression a person has when sitting in a car seat for the first time. All in keeping with the “welcome home” motto.
The design of the filled seat piping depends on the design and equipment line: the base model and the AVANTGARDE line have seat covers with horizontal contours, while the ELEGANCE line features vertical contours, evoking memories of the equally famous and well-proven Mercedes seat design from the 1960s and 1970s. In each case, the manufacture of the filled seat piping is a complex process in terms of both the craftsmanship and the upholstery technology required. Only Mercedes-Benz uses this process
A newly developed moulded foam cushion effectively forms the seat’s lower comfort zone. In the centre area, the Mercedes engineers have increased the foam thickness by around twelve percent compared to the outgoing model. Coupled with the overall softer feel of the material in the seat centre, this design provides noticeably more comfort. In the area of the side bolsters, on the other hand, the foam is harder so as to enhance lateral support. In this way, the experts achieve an excellent pressure distribution, which helps relieve the strain on the spinal column and provides specifically targeted support for the pelvic area.
Mercedes seat developers have always attached great importance to the optimum distribution of the seat pressure as they view this as a key requirement for a high level of long-distance comfort. Seat pressure distribution is adjusted in eight different zones of the backrest and seat cushion, based on carefully acquired empirical values. The backrests of the front seats, for example, are divided into several pressure zones: whereas the foam is soft in the area of the cervical and lumbar curve, it is hard in the pelvic and shoulder areas, where optimum support is required. On the seat cushion, the pressure gets progressively lower between the hip and thigh areas – a key requirement for comfortable, fatigue-free car travel.
The foam upholstery used for the front seat cushions is housed in seat squabs with integral springing. Here a frame made partially from high-strength steel forms a solid base. Special tubular sections and energy-absorbing elements in the seat lining ensure that, in the event of a side impact, the seats are able to absorb high forces and transfer these to the side facing away from the impact.
Lumbar support as standard for healthy sitting
Because the human body is not designed to sit still for long periods, it needs support at specific points. One example is the lumbar lordosis – the area of the lower part of the spinal column where the backbone curves forwards. This inevitably leads to a hunched sitting posture – meaning that stress is exerted on one side
of the intervertebral discs. The lumbar lordosis therefore requires support when sitting. Standard equipment for the driver’s seat in the E-Class includes a lumbar support which provides ergonomic support for the spinal column in the lumbar region. If the Memory function is specified by the Mercedes customer, the two front seats are equipped with electropneumatically adjustable four-way lumbar supports including side-to-side adjustment as well as height and shape adjustment.
The front-seat backrests consist of steel frames with springing and foam elements whose contours, like the seat surfaces, provide even better lateral support. The backrest height has been increased by around 30 percent in the area at the top of the backrest to provide even better support for the shoulders.
Natural materials and active ventilation for a comfortable seat climate
When developing seats, the Mercedes experts do not merely think about classic comfort features such as springing and damping. Moreover, they look at the all-round wellbeing of the car occupants, including what is referred to as seat climate. The materials and structure of a Mercedes seat are designed to ensure wellbeing whatever the weather and temperature outside. In the case of the E‑Class seats, this is achieved thanks to the breathable material mix and the high-quality fabric or leather covers. The fabric covers contain 25 to 30 percent wool – a natural material which, unlike synthetic fibres, displays excellent electrostatic properties and, moreover, outstanding moisture absorption, which has a positive effect on the seat climate in high temperatures.
Even greater climate comfort is provided by the optionally available actively ventilated front seats: four ventilators in the seat cushion and in the backrest extract cool air from the floor area of the interior and distribute it evenly through a ventilation tissue beneath the seat surface. The mild airflow can prevent the car’s occupants from sweating, even when it is extremely hot outside.
Multiple adjustment options for the ideal sitting position
As before, the front seat height, cushion angle and backrest inclination can be adjusted electrically, while adjustment of the fore/aft position of the seat cushion is performed manually. Plus the seats in the new E-Class have the largest fore/aft adjustment range in this market segment: 277 millimetres. The individual seat position can be adjusted in very small 4.5-millimetre stages and is therefore almost continuously variable, whereas the backrest inclination is fully continuously variable. This means that very tall and very short drivers can adjust the seat so that all of the Saloon’s functions are within easy reach.
Adjustment ranges of the standard-specification front seats:
- Fore/aft adjustment277 millimetres
- Seat height59 millimetres
- Seat cushion angle4.5 degrees
- Head restraint height 85 millimetres; head restraint depth 45 millimetres
- Backrest angle110 degrees
The fully electrically adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger, which Mercedes-Benz supplies as optional extras, are even easier to use. In this case, the fore/aft position, seat cushion angle, head restraint, steering column and
exterior mirrors can be adjusted by electric motors in addition to the seat height and backrest angle. Three individual seat positions can be stored if the Memory function is specified. In this case, a touch of a button on the inner door lining is all it takes to move the seats, steering wheel and exterior mirrors to their programmed positions automatically.
Once the driver has removed the electronic ignition key from the new E-Class, the steering wheel can be moved upwards to make it even easier to get out of the car. The steering wheel then remains in this position until the ignition key is re-inserted, providing the driver with more legroom when getting back into the car as well.
Individual seats for the rear passengers
For the rear passengers in the new E-Class, Mercedes-Benz has developed a system comprising two individual seats offering an all-new comfort experience (optional). The soft foam upholstery used for the seat cushion and backrest features distinctive contours and makes travel on board the Saloon even more of a pleasure. These luxury rear seats feature leather upholstery, a heating function and their own head restraints as well as a centre console between them and a through-loading feature allowing longer items to be carried in the boot. The head restraints, adjustable for height and angle, have side bolsters which improve lateral support for the head, allowing the occupants to fully relax in any reclined position.
A spacious stowage compartment with two cup holders for various cup, can or bottle sizes is located beneath the leather-trimmed armrest. And the through-loading module can be equipped with an optional ski bag.
Climate control: THERMOTRONIC with three individual climate modes
Comfort is all about highly individual preferences. Which is why it is important for cars to offer their occupants a wide range of personalisation options. The new E-Class meets this requirement, not only in terms of suspension tuning and seat adjustability, but also when it comes to climate comfort.
The new E-Class marks the debut of a Mercedes-Benz-developed automatic climate control system which, as well as being able to set individual temperatures in three zones (for the driver, the front passenger and the rear passengers), additionally offers what are referred to as climate modes. This means that, if the optionally available THERMOTRONIC system is fitted, the car occupants can choose from “Diffuse”, “Medium” and “Focus” at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.
In “Diffuse” mode, for example, the THERMOTRONIC system operates with a low air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. This is the purpose of the automatically controlled, upwards inclined diffuse nozzle in the centre of the dashboard. In “Focus” mode, meanwhile, the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air.
Sophisticated sensors are another reason why the three-zone luxury automatic climate control system does full justice to its name. These ensure that the desired temperatures set by the occupants remain constant: even the standard-fit THERMATIC system features two sensors for the interior temperature, four sensors for measuring the temperature of the air flowing out of the air outlets and one sensor for recording the intensity and direction of the sun’s rays, while the THERMOTRONIC system for the new E-Class additionally includes a dew-point/moisture sensor and a pollutant sensor.
The dew-point sensor enables specifically targeted cooling and, if required, reheating of the inflowing air, meaning that the air conditioning operates even more economically. The pollutant sensor senses when the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide concentrations in the outside air are too high and, if the level of these pollutants increases suddenly, closes the air recirculation flap automatically.
Finally, the THERMOTRONIC system is equipped with a separate control panel at the rear of the centre console, allowing the rear passengers to select their ideal temperature and – if required – adjust the air quantity manually. This means they control the special booster in the centre console, which offers five speed settings and, therefore, ensures highly effective climate control in the rear of the car.
Another highlight of the THERMOTRONIC system is the residual heat function: pressing the “Rest” button heats or ventilates the interior for around 30 minutes when the engine is switched off.
The standard equipment package for the new E-Class includes THERMATIC two-zone automatic climate control. With this system on board, the driver and front passenger can set the desired temperature using the rocker switches on the elegant control panel in the lower section of the centre console. The OLED (organic light emitting diode) display indicates the programmed levels. If automatic mode is deactivated, the blower speed and air distribution can also be adjusted by rocker switch. The “ZONE” function is new: at the push of a button, the temperature settings are synchronised, and the level selected by the driver is transferred to the front-passenger side.
Heating output of a modern family house
The THERMATIC and THERMOTRONIC systems have received a boost in both heating and cooling output. The heating output has been increased by around ten percent to eleven kilowatts, equivalent to the power of the central heating system in a modern family house. In the diesel models and the four-cylinder models with direct petrol injection, a heat exchanger with six integral PTC heating elements (PTC = Positive Temperature Coefficient) is also activated when the outside temperature falls below a certain level in order to supplement the heater heat exchanger with an electrical output of around 1200 watts. The PTC heating element is required because, due to their high thermal efficiency, the sophisticated CDI and CGIengines are very economical on fuel and, therefore, give off much less heat to warm up the coolant than conventional engines when running under partial load.
An air-conditioning unit with an output of around 8.4 kilowatts – some five percent more than the unit used in the predecessor model – ensures rapid cooling of the interior. The air-conditioning compressor is continuously variable, allowing on-demand, i.e. economical, operation of the air conditioning. The control is provided by a solenoid valve which varies the swept volume of the air-conditioning compressor. In the E 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model, Mercedes‑Benz uses an air-conditioning compressor which is disconnected from the engine’s belt drive automatically when no cooling power is required.
Fine-dust particulate filter fitted as standard
A large, hermetically sealed fine-dust combination filter, fitted as standard for the new E-Class, ensures that the air entering the interior is clean. It is 96 to 98 percent efficient at filtering out particles between five and ten micrometres in size and 100-percent efficient when it comes to removing ten-micrometre particles. Thanks to its activated-charcoal coating, the fine-dust combination filter can also filter out gaseous substances which are the cause of unpleasant odours. The filter is active on a permanent basis – even in air recirculation mode.
Up to ten electric motors and 18 air outlets for excellent climate comfort
The cleaned air flows to the centrally arranged evaporator, which cools and, therefore, also dries the air, depending on the temperature set by the car’s occupants. The temperature is then controlled with the help of the heater heat exchanger, which sets the desired outlet air temperatures. There are up to ten electric motors in total, whose job it is to control the cold and warm air flaps in the mixing zones as well as the air outlets, meaning that practically every air outlet can be regulated precisely as required. THERMATIC features 18 air outlets for effective and uniform ventilation of the interior, while THERMOTRONIC includes two additional rear outlets in the B-pillars.
As well as being more effective, the climate control systems for the new E-Class are also audibly quieter than before. Newly calculated cross-sectional areas for the air intake, the air ducts and the air-conditioning unit reduce the noise level at maximum cooling output by around three decibels (dB (A)), for example. In addition, the air ducting has been lined with acoustic absorption elements and/or sound-insulating foam.
Dashboard: technology and aesthetics in harmony
Attractive design, a pleasant feel and perfect ergonomics are the three main attributes of the dashboard and the centre console in the new E-Class – a harmonious blend that is one of the main factors behind the feeling of comfort and wellbeing experienced when riding on board the Mercedes Saloon.
As an option, the dashboard can be ordered with a two-tone design: while the upper section and the centre console are finished in a darker shade, the lighter contrasting colour used for the knee bolster, glove compartment lid and tunnel makes these areas really stand out. The surface of the dashboard is made from a polyurethane foam skin with additional padding. This sophisticated production process allows both small radii and precise edges, plus it ensures a pleasant feel. For particularly discerning motorists, Mercedes-Benz offers a dashboard trimmed in high-quality sheeting with fine topstitching for a perfect finishing touch. This item is part of the Exclusive package (optional extra), which also includes a fine Alcantara trim for the roof lining, sun visors and pillar mouldings.
The dashboard incorporates an illuminated glove compartment with a capacity of around 6.8 litres, which can be cooled by the automatic climate control system. A twelve-volt outlet and a socket for connecting an external audio device are also integrated. This is likewise the location of the optional media interface for connecting an MP3 player.
One of the main aims of the Mercedes engineers – to fuse elegant design with a pleasant feel – is reflected in the door panelling. They achieve this aim by combining high-quality materials such as fabric or leather and wood or aluminium with scratch-resistant plastic boasting a new grain-effect finish. The wide armrests on the door panelling are pleasingly soft to the touch and, therefore, exceptionally comfortable. Here the designers have integrated the control panel for the power windows, the locking/unlocking switch for the doors and the exterior mirrors so that it looks elegant and is also easy to reach and use. In addition to the expansive wood or aluminium trim strips at waistline height and the optical fibres for the ambient lighting in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models, the door panelling incorporates a second trim level, adding a further elegant touch beneath the armrests.
Centre console as command centre for the infotainment and automatic climate control systems
The centre console blends in harmoniously with the dashboard form and colour concept. This is where the controls for the infotainment system and the optionally available car phone are located, just below the air outlets. Beneath these, the buttons for the seat heating, seat ventilation, rear window blind, rear head restraints and other optional extras are demarcated by a discreet chrome strip. The lower section of the centre console houses the controls for the standard-fit automatic climate control system.
A special paint has been used to treat the visible areas of the buttons and controls, giving them a satiny shine and a soft finish. The experts call this “soft-touch paint”. Together with the sophisticated short-stroke buttons, which are easy to press and have very little travel, this paint helps ensure a pleasant yet precise feel. They buttons only need to be pressed once to activate or deactivate the function in question, and they always make a soft “clicking” sound to confirm that the desired function has been activated.
Every last detail designed for everyday practicality
A wealth of intelligently conceived details in the interior of the new E-Class highlight the fact that the Saloon has been developed with the customer and, therefore, everyday practicality in mind:
The front-passenger footwell incorporates a practical storage net suitable for holding an atlas or map. Directly above this is an adjustable plastic bottle holder.
In the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models, two stowage boxes, each with a capacity of around 2.6 litres and suitable for carrying smaller items, are housed beneath the driver’s seat and front-passenger seat.
Additional coat hooks are built into the B-pillar trims.
As part of the Sun Protection package (optional extra), Mercedes-Benz supplies two-piece luxury sun visors for the driver and front passenger, an electrically operated rear window blind, guided on the C-pillars as in the S‑Class, and manually operated roller blinds for the insides of the rear side windows. They cover over 80 percent of the window area and, therefore, provide highly effective protection from the sun.
Proven concept for intuitive and reliable control
The aluminium controller on the centre console is one of the core elements of the tried-and-tested control and display concept which Mercedes-Benz first unveiled in the S-Class some years ago. It is based on the conviction that technology is only perfect if people can understand and master its use intuitively. To achieve this aim, the Mercedes experts have defined four basic principles that underpin their work:
1. Easy identification of the key control functions
2. Fast availability of the key spontaneous functions
3. Simple and intuitive control of the key functions
4. All the controls in the right place
Key features of the Mercedes control concept include special hotkey-type buttons which provide fast access to frequently used functions. This is why all the control and display elements that are necessary or important during a journey are located in the cockpit, i.e. in immediate proximity to the driver. These include the switches and stalks for the lights, windscreen wipers, indicators and cruise control (standard in models with automatic transmission).
Furthermore, in keeping with the “everything in the right place” logic, the switches and buttons for the power windows, central locking and exterior mirrors are where one would intuitively look for them: on the doors. In other words, the driver does not need to learn anything new and, when it comes to the controls too, feels at home immediately on board the new E-Class.
Multifunction steering wheel with twelve buttons
Alongside the controller on the centre console, the multifunction steering wheel is one of the main protagonists of the sophisticated control and display concept. Its buttons are linked to the central display in the instrument cluster and merely need to be tapped with a thumb to gain fast access to a wide range of information displayed right in front of the driver’s eyes. The driver uses the left-hand button in horizontal direction to mark one of the main menus on the central display and in vertical direction to select the desired submenu. Each selection or setting is accepted by pressing the “OK” button, while the “Return” button is used to return quickly to the next-highest menu level.
The buttons on the right-hand side of the multifunction steering wheel are used for adjusting the volume (vertical), activating the mute function (middle) and using the car phone (horizontal). Beneath these is an additional button for activating the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
Cockpit with five circular instruments featuring a high-quality chronometer-style design
There are five instruments in the cockpit to provide the driver with all the necessary information: speedometer (middle), rev counter (right), clock (right), coolant temperature gauge (far right) and fuel gauge (far left). Thanks to black-panel technology, the indicator and warning lights assigned to the various circular instruments are not visible during normal driving; the driver only sees these when the ignition is switched on or if a fault occurs.
In the centre of the speedometer is a two-section central display.
The lower section of the central display is used for displaying icons that provide information about the status of the driver assistance systems as well as digital readouts of the outside temperature, transmission gear and transmission mode
(if an automatic transmission is fitted). One of the new features is the fuel consumption and gearshift indicator (if the six-speed transmission is specified), which informs the driver of the current fuel consumption and at what point the next-highest gear should be selected in order to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions (also see page 89).
Large colour display for the infotainment functions
In the centre of the dashboard – where it can be easily seen by the driver and the front passenger – a large colour display in 16:9 format provides information about all the infotainment system functions. There are two versions of this sophisticated AM-TFT(Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor) display available, depending on the equipment specified for the E-Class: a 5.8-inch version for the Audio 20 and Audio 50 APSdevices or a high-resolution 7.0-inch version for COMAND APS (also see page 82).
The controller on the centre console incorporates the main controls for the infotainment systems and allows fast and easy access to the devices’ clearly structured menus. This turn/push control can be moved in eight directions: turning the controller selects the main menu and submenus on the display, while pressing it activates or accepts the displayed function or setting. The “R” and “C” buttons in front of the controller are used to exit submenus quickly or delete entries.
As the infotainment control system has been designed redundantly, the car radio, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system can be operated either using the controller or at the push of a button. This is the purpose of the function buttons on the centre console, which are positioned ergonomically so that the driver can reach them easily without having to take their eyes off the road.
Car radio, CD player and Bluetooth interface as standard
Information, communication, navigation, entertainment – these four aspects are now just as important a part of motoring as agile handling, outstanding comfort or powerful engines, for example. Motorists can no longer do without news, the telephone, navigation and music whilst driving. This is why Mercedes-Benz equips the new E-Class with sophisticated infotainment devices that deliver outstanding performance and, above all, are easy to use. These are called Audio 20 CD (standard equipment), Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS (optional extras).
All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard and a Bluetooth interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly. Eight loudspeakers fitted as standard in the doors deliver superlative sound.
Features of the Audio 20 CDsystem, fitted as standard in the new E-Class, include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (for FM reception) and a 4 x 20-watt amplifier.
The AUDIO 50 APS infotainment system is an all-in-one device featuring a combination of car radio, DVD player and Europe-wide DVD navigation system. The radio functions and the options for linking with other systems are the same as for the Audio 20 system. Mercedes customers who opt for the version with integral six-disc DVD changer also receive the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
COMAND APSwith even more functions
The Mercedes-Benz-developed COMAND APS multimedia system includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing extremely fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 7.0-inch colour display in the centre of the dashboard and provides useful additional information. By way of example, the map shows the outlines of prominent buildings along the road to aid orientation.
In addition, COMAND APS includes a Music Register for around 1000 compressed music tracks in MP3, WMA or AAC format, which can be downloaded from PC memory cards. The system has a saved database (“Gracenote”), enabling it to recognise music tracks played from a CD, DVD or the Music Register and then display the title of the track and the artist on the display. Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND APS with LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control and a text-to-speech function as standard, allowing the driver to listen to route-specific traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or station names. New traffic reports relevant to the current route are read out automatically by the system.
Voice-operated control with whole-word voice input for navigation, telephone and radio
Mercedes-Benz, one of the inventors of modern voice-operated control systems, has continued to further develop the LINGUATRONIC system in recent years, meaning that the navigation system in the new E-Class can now be controlled based on the principle of whole-word voice input: the driver no longer needs to spell out the names of countries, towns or streets, but is able to speak them as whole words. It is just as easy to use the voice-operated control to select a radio station or an entry in the phone/address book: all available or stored names can be called up without the need for prior voice-input training.
As an option, Mercedes customers can combine the infotainment devices that feature in the E-Class with further systems offering even more information and entertainment:
The “Logic7” surround sound system developed by Mercedes-Benz in partnership with the audio specialist harman/kardon® provides three-dimensional audio enjoyment noticeable above all by a natural 360-degree music experience in all seats. It makes no difference if the music is played from a CD or a DVD or if the disc contains 5.1 surround or normal stereo recordings. The music signals are distributed by a 610-watt amplifier that controls 14 high-performance loudspeakers.
A media interface in the glove compartment can be used to connect an iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices to the infotainment system in the new E-Class. All that is required for this is a suitable cable from the Mercedes accessories range. The interface includes a control unit that links the external music memory to the Saloon’s on-board electronic and control systems. The advantage of this is that the titles of the tracks stored on the iPod can be shown on the colour display in the dashboard and in the instrument cluster, allowing them to be selected almost effortlessly using the controller and the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The battery in the audio device is charged for as long as the portable music memory is connected to the car via the media interface.
A separate DAB tuner (DAB= Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials (optional) allow passengers on board the new E-Class to receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak.
A newly developed Rear Seat Entertainment System with a DVD player and two large colour displays (8.0-inch) in the rear of the front head restraints makes the ride even more entertaining for the rear passengers in the new E‑Class. The system also includes connection options for external audio or video devices and for the integration of a TV tuner. If COMAND APS is fitted, the DVD films and TV programmes (if the TV tuner is specified) played by the COMAND device can also be viewed by those passengers sitting in the rear seats.