I was noticing the column-mounted shifter, too. That, and the fact that it looks more like the Lexus RX than ever. Its too bad that physics and fluid dynamics works the same way all the time, because as car design software becomes more advanced, all designers seem to move to the exact same convergence point. Soon, the differences between the cars will be reduced to where the cup holders are located.
"In the M-Class featured here, we moved the shifter to the steering column so we could align the cup holders **front to back** instead of side to side." (pause for ooh and ahh)