Ahead of its full reveal, Mercedes-Benz has showcased the interior design, features, and technologies of its 2023 E-Class model, with many new additions offered for the new model year. The OEM has said that many of these additions were motivated by a shift to an electronic architecture that is driven more by its software than its hardware.
For 2023, computing functions that once previously occupied separate domains now take place in a single processor. This unification allows for the vehicle’s screens and MBUX infotainment system to share a new central onboard computer – enhancing performance through accelerated data streams.
An optional entertainment package (called MBUX Entertainment Plus) available for the new E-Class includes enhanced hardware, connected services from Mercedes me connect, and a data package from a third-party provider. Depending on the user’s market, a 5G communication module will enable an in-vehicle hotspot for connected consumer devices.
Another optional feature is an additional screen that allows the front passenger to access a variety of dynamic multimedia content, such as TV or video streaming apps. An advanced camera-based ‘visual shield’ function allows the display to automatically lower its brightness if the driver looks at the passenger – reducing the risk of distracted driving and enhancing user safety as a result.
Equipping the new E-Class with the passenger display enables the new MBUX Superscreen – another of the vehicle’s key features. Pairing the optional display with the standard central display offers a combined 40.4-inch screen that is supported by the visually-detached instrument cluster positioned in the driver’s field of view. For both screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring allow for select functions from the user’s smartphone to be used while the car is moving.
Benefitting from this dual-display setup is a new compatibility layer that allows for a wider range of third-party apps. At launch, a revised in-vehicle app store will offer apps such as the social media platform TikTok, the Angry Birds mobile game, Webex by Cisco for cloud-based collaboration solutions, the video conferencing app Zoom, and the Vivaldi web browser. Select apps will work in tandem with a new in-vehicle camera.Offered as part of the optional MBUX Superscreen, and located on top of the dashboard, the camera can operate with compatible apps such as Webex or Zoom when the vehicle is stationary. It can also be used to take personal photos and videos.
This suite of native apps is further supported by the ZYNC entertainment portal. This optional feature offers access to video streaming apps, on-demand content, interactive experiences, local video programs, sports, news and more. ZYNC hosts more than 30 streaming services from its global, regional and local partners are available, with further partners and channels are continually integrated over time.
A new ‘Just Talk’ function allows for the vehicle’s intelligent voice control system to be activated without saying ‘Hey Mercedes’. When the function is activated in the new E-Class, a red microphone symbol appears on the display to indicate that the vehicle is waiting for the user’s commands. The system can respond to navigation requests or control certain vehicle functions, while saying ‘and’ can link several commands together.
In outlining the car’s features, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would provide users with a variety of AI functions. One example given was the use of AI to learn which comfort systems the vehicle’s occupants use most frequently and eventually automate them. These personal automations are what Mercedes-Benz is referring to as routines in MBUX. At launch, the new E-Class will allow occupants to use templates that offer a series of standard routines, though users will also have the chance to create their own routines. Occupants can link several routines and conditions, enabling a routine that could activate the seat heating and set the ambient lighting to warm orange if the interior temperature is below twelve degrees Celsius.
Mercedes-Benz confirmed that the rollout of the 2023 E-Class will begin with its Saloon model. The first models to launch, the 214 series, will arrive at the OEM’s European dealerships in summer 2023. Following this launch, the vehicle will then have its U.S. market launch in the following autumn.