Mercedes E-Class hybrid interior & comfort
Mercedes has seriously upped its game in the interiors department in recent years, and it consistently produces some of the most attractively designed, luxurious and comfortable environments in which to spend your time behind the wheel.
The E-Class hybrid is a perfect example of this, with an impressive dual-screen infotainment and instrument setup, along with high-quality materials, attractive design and great seat comfort all sure to please occupants.
Mercedes E-Class hybrid dashboard
The dashboard is probably the most distinctive aspect of the E-Class plug-in hybrids' interior, with dual 12-inch screens (one in the middle of the dashboard and one behind the steering wheel) showing almost all the information and functions you'll need.
Equipment, options & accessories
SE is the entry-level specification for both the E 300 e petrol and E 300 de diesel models. Standard kit here includes blind-spot monitoring, parking assistance with front and rear parking sensors, 64-colour ambient lighting, 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels and heated front seats with partial electric seat adjustment (you use a manual lever to slide the seat forwards and back) and adjustable lumbar support is optional.
AMG Line adds sporty styling enhancements to the exterior, a different design of 18-inch alloys, leather seats, an AMG steering wheel and rear privacy glass.
There are also a couple of option packages. First off, the Premium package adds Mercedes' COMAND Online infotainment system, along with wireless charging, multibeam LED headlights and a 360-degree parking camera.
Premium Plus includes a Burmester surround-sound audio system, hands-free entry, a powered bootlid and a panoramic sunroof. You can add a night package on AMG cars online, which includes a high-gloss black finish on the alloy wheels, radiator grille, front apron and rear bumper.
The comfort package – available on both SE and AMG Line cars, but only in conjunction with the Premium or Premium Plus packages – adds an 'air balance' system, air suspension and Nappa leather upholstery (the latter on AMG Line cars only).
While expensive options are generally par for the course in the executive saloon class, the Mercedes is frustrating in that you're held hostage to adding expensive packs for some of the features that many will want. Having to pay extra for keyless entry is one thing, but having to pay £4,400 more for it - as part of a Premium Pack that includes a Burmester sound system - feels more like robbery than customer service.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
As mentioned above, the E-Class hybrids get an impressive dual 12-inch screen setup for infotainment, with Mercedes' COMAND rotary controller and touchpad giving operation of the various functions, including the satellite navigation, phone connectivity options, voice control and digital radio.
You can also control the driver's dials (which are offered with a bewildering array of configurations and driver readouts) and main infotainment screen with touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel, which sounds terribly complex but actually becomes easy to use with very little familiarity.
We found this the most intuitive way to hop about the functions while on the move, and more reliable than the hit-and-miss voice control and touchpad. Ultimately, the system is highly impressive but not as easy to use as BMW's iDrive; it's not always the fastest system to respond, and despite the variety of control methods, it can be tricky find certain functions in the complicated sub-menus.