Mercedes E-Class hybrid interior & comfort

Interior comfort, luxury and technology is a Mercedes E-Class speciality and the latest model doesn't let the side down

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. The latest post-facelift model raises the bar once again – with the E 300 e now giving the larger, plusher S-Class a serious run for its money.

Mercedes E-Class hybrid dashboard

The dashboard is probably the most distinctive aspect of the E-Class plug-in hybrid's interior, with luxury materials and digital screens everywhere you look. The Merc beats its rivals hands down in this regard, and it’s difficult to imagine how the brand’s forthcoming S-Class flagship will trump the smaller saloon for quality, fit and finish.

Since the E-Class was facelifted in 2020, every model gets 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. Previously, entry-level models had to make do with an analogue instrument cluster – and while it served its purpose, it felt a little bit out of place in the Merc’s otherwise tech-laden cabin.

Equipment, options & accessories

With the 2020 mid-life facelift, Mercedes ditched the entry-level SE trim. In fact, you can’t buy an E-Class hybrid in Sport spec either. The cheapest E 300 e or E 300 de is the AMG Line Edition, which means every PHEV model gets a decent level of standard equipment.

Gone are the basic petrol model’s analogue dials; every E-Class variant gets twin 12.3-inch digital screens, with Merc’s MBUX infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. New LED lights also feature, plus heated seats, three-zone climate control and 18-inch wheels.

Step up to AMG Line, which bizarrely sits above the AMG Line Edition, and you’ll get multibeam LED lights and some different interior trim. AMG Line Premium brings a keyless go, plus a 360-degree parking camera and augmented reality sat nav. This setup uses the car’s camera to overlay arrows on the car’s sat-nav screen, making it much easier to see which turn to take when navigating tight city streets.

Top-spec cars get the rather lengthy AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus badge. These command a sizable premium but add desirable extras like a panoramic roof, a Burmester stereo and dark trim inside and out.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

As mentioned above, the E-Class hybrids get an impressive dual 12.3-inch screen setup, with Merc’s MBUX system and complimentary touchpad giving operation of the various functions, including the satellite navigation, phone connectivity options, voice control and digital radio. The central infotainment screen is now touch-sensitive, however, and makes operating the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto far more straightforward. 

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 (new-for-2020) 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 to respond, and despite the variety of control methods, it can be tricky to find certain functions in the complicated sub-menus.