Mercedes-Benz released a massive press kit with details, photos and videos of the new W213 E-Class earlier this week. This is in conjunction with the international press drive event currently on-going, which our man Anthony Lim will be attending next week.

While trawling through the contents, we noticed something odd about this particular photo, which is meant to demonstrate an automated parking feature called Park Pilot. The COMAND controller was not the usual rotary dial with a touch pad palm rest floating on top of it.

It appears to be the new COMAND touch pad controller that we first saw in spyshots of the W222 S-Class facelift. You can compare the new controlled next to the current COMAND controller in the two images below.

The new controller is of course lower in terms of height, so it eliminates the current ergonomics issue where in a right hand drive car, the driver would have less visibility of the buttons to the left of the COMAND dial, which so happen to all be driving related – we’re talking about buttons like the DYNAMIC SELECT switch and 360 view camera buttons in the case of the E-Class.

Mercedes-Benz have basically taken the current floating touch pad and flattened it. They’ve also moved the back, option and ‘star’ shortcut buttons to the front of the touch pad instead, which is an improvement in terms of ergonomics since you don’t have to lift up your palm to access them in their rear position now.

But is a touch pad better than a rotary knob? I find that the rotary knob is easier to use while you’re driving. But one plus point of the new system would be that the palm rest would go back to being a more comfortable leather one instead of a hard touch pad.