It’s telling that at the unveiling of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class's interior in Stuttgart last month, there were no pictures or displays depicting the cabin of the entry-level ‘Avantgarde’ model.
Read the full story of the Mercedes E-Class unveiling at the Detroit motor show here.
This will be the only E-Class at launch not to receive the new dual 12.3-inch digital display – improved compared to the version that’s currently offered on the S-Class, and running an upgraded version of Mercedes’ Comand software.
It’s hardly surprising to see Mercedes going down this route. As Audi starts to bring its own Virtual Cockpit technology to mid-range models such as the A4 and TT, manufacturers can no longer reserve this kind of technology for their high-end models. The sheer pace with which the technology is filtering through model ranges is impressive.
Mercedes technicians told me that, at the moment, it’s not commercially viable to put a digital display into every Mercedes-Benz model, but they said the day is coming when sheer economies of scale will make them standard fit.
I can’t wait, because the scope for personalisation with a digital display is far greater than with traditional analogue dials. In the same way that our smartphones and tablets come pre-loaded with different themes and pictures to choose from, our cars can become equally adaptable.
Sadly, that day isn’t here yet, and that’s why the entry-level E-Class instead makes do with traditional analogue dials and a smaller central screen for infotainment. Buyers of the entry-level car will no doubt know what they’re letting themselves in for, but I reckon the uptake on the dual-screen display means they’ll be in the minority.