China's discerning drivers get expansive E-Class
Having taken the wraps off its new E-Class and an AMG version earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz has now unveiled a long-wheelbase version designed especially for China. The extra 140 mm (5.5 in) provides more space for occupants, and is joined by additional comfort features.
The Chinese market has long been ripe for sales of more palatial automotive offerings, and that appears to be exactly what Mercedes-Benz is targeting here. The long-wheelbase E-Class provides occupants with larger footwells and more space in the back.
From outside, the modification can be seen by way of an elongated roof and bonnet, as well as triangular windows that form part of the C-pillar. Despite the added length, though, the vehicle still has relatively short overhangs at the front and back.
Accompanying the more spacious interior are high-quality materials, including wooden elements and Artico fabric used on the dashboard and beltlines. There's also a 64-color ambient lighting system that can be tailored to occupants' tastes, with lighting able to be added to the to the car's trim, central display, center console stowage facility, handle recesses, door pockets, front and rear footwells, overhead console and tweeters.
For rear-seat passengers, there's a folding armrest in the center with a number of features. It boasts an illuminated stowage compartment, a USB port, an optional touchscreen, wireless charging for mobile devices, an optional heated pad and an optional temperature controlled cup holder.
Meanwhile, in the front, there are two high-res 12.3-in displays integrated into the dashboard. Virtual instruments show vehicle information and the driver is able to choose between three different visual styles.
Controlling the infotainment system is made easier and safer with new touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. These allow its functionality to be accessed using horizontal and vertical swiping movements, and allow the driver to control the system without removing their hands from the steering wheel.
A touchpad with controller mounted on the center console provides another way of controlling the infotainment system. This is able to recognize handwriting and characters, as well as spoken words via Mercedes-Benz's LINGUATRONIC voice control.
Elsewhere, the long-wheelbase E-Class features LED High Performance headlamps as standard, or optional high-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. These are said to provide provide better illumination of the road ahead without dazzling other road users.
Standard driver assistance systems include Active Brake Assist for helping the driver to avoid collisions, ATTENTION ASSIST to warn the driver of their inattentiveness or drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist, which helps to stop the car drifting off-track in wind. An optional Driving Assistance package package is also available, with DRIVE PILOT for keeping a regular distance from vehicles ahead and Remote Parking Pilot for moving the vehicle in and out of parking spaces or garages via a smartphone app.
The long-wheelbase E-Class is on display at Auto China 2016 and is being produced in China. Prices have yet to be announced, but the car is expected to hit showrooms in China sometime between September and November.