Automotive

New Mercedes E-Class is a tech powerhouse in a sharply cut suit

New Mercedes E-Class is a tech...
The new E-Class is a showpiece for Mercedes' luxury design and tech nous
The new E-Class is a showpiece for Mercedes' luxury design and tech nous
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The E-Class can be specced with high-end Burmeister audio
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The E-Class can be specced with high-end Burmeister audio
There are no normal dials in the E-Class, just widescreen monitors for all the info you could ever need about the car's status
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There are no normal dials in the E-Class, just widescreen monitors for all the info you could ever need about the car's status
Quilted leather has been available on Audis for a long time, but Merc is just starting to get on board with the trend
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Quilted leather has been available on Audis for a long time, but Merc is just starting to get on board with the trend
There's a huge range of trim and leather colors available, so no two cars need be the same
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There's a huge range of trim and leather colors available, so no two cars need be the same
In sports trim, the car comes with big wheels and a brash grille with the badge integrated
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In sports trim, the car comes with big wheels and a brash grille with the badge integrated
There is more than just a hint of S-Class in the new car's face
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There is more than just a hint of S-Class in the new car's face
The E-Class looked particularly fetching in this shade of matte gray
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The E-Class looked particularly fetching in this shade of matte gray
Two four cylinder engines will be available at launch, one petrol and one diesel
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Two four cylinder engines will be available at launch, one petrol and one diesel
Cars in 'Luxury' trim have a more traditional grille and badge
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Cars in 'Luxury' trim have a more traditional grille and badge
There's no word about an AMG E-Class yet, but don't expect to wait too long
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There's no word about an AMG E-Class yet, but don't expect to wait too long
The E-Class has been designed as a showpiece for Mercedes' latest semi-autonomous technology
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The E-Class has been designed as a showpiece for Mercedes' latest semi-autonomous technology
Aerodynamics play a big part in the car's design, helping to cut down on fuel use and wind noise
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Aerodynamics play a big part in the car's design, helping to cut down on fuel use and wind noise
Self-levelling air suspension is available on the car
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Self-levelling air suspension is available on the car
With the air suspension fitted, the E-Class will lower itself on the highway for better aerodynamics
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With the air suspension fitted, the E-Class will lower itself on the highway for better aerodynamics
As with the C-Class, there's a clear influence from the S-Class in the new design
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As with the C-Class, there's a clear influence from the S-Class in the new design
On the freeway, Mercedes DISTRONIC now works at speeds up to 210 km/h
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On the freeway, Mercedes DISTRONIC now works at speeds up to 210 km/h
If you need to swerve, the car will work to make sure you steer cleanly and precisely
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If you need to swerve, the car will work to make sure you steer cleanly and precisely
To our eyes, the car looks best with the luxury grille and more subtle wheels
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To our eyes, the car looks best with the luxury grille and more subtle wheels
The car will stay in its lane even when there are no line markings, meaning your autonomous steering doesn't go away during roadworks
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The car will stay in its lane even when there are no line markings, meaning your autonomous steering doesn't go away during roadworks
The air suspension will raise the ride height over rough ground
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The air suspension will raise the ride height over rough ground
The car is the first to integrate touch surfaces into the steering wheel controls
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The car is the first to integrate touch surfaces into the steering wheel controls
If you buy the entry level petrol model E-Class, this is all you'll see of the rest of the range
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If you buy the entry level petrol model E-Class, this is all you'll see of the rest of the range
The new E-Class is a showpiece for Mercedes' luxury design and tech nous
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The new E-Class is a showpiece for Mercedes' luxury design and tech nous
The new E-Class goes into battle with the new Volvo S90 and BMW 5 Series
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The new E-Class goes into battle with the new Volvo S90 and BMW 5 Series
View gallery - 24 images

We've been teased and tantalized by a constant feed of previews, and now Mercedes has finally ripped the covers off its E-Class sedan. With a suite of semi-autonomous driver aids, a range of efficient engines and S-Class aping levels of luxury, Mercedes' new midsize sedan looks like it was worth the wait.

The first thing that grabs your attention when you look at the car is, at risk of stating the obvious, its sharp styling. The E-Class looks like a slightly shrunken S-Class, with a sculpted bonnet, creased flanks and sloping rear deck.

The E-Class looked particularly fetching in this shade of matte gray
The E-Class looked particularly fetching in this shade of matte gray

Compared to the stodgy, fussy last generation E-Class, it's as if Mercedes has jumped forward by three or four generations. Inside it's the same story, where the widescreen displays and horizontal design mimic the more expensive S-Class' high-luxury environment.

Just how modern the car looks depends on which trim level you choose. Cars bought in Sport trim are fitted with massive three-pointed star inside the grille, while luxury-spec cars get a more traditional emblem on the end of the bonnet.

Compared to Mercedes' last business sedan, the W213 E-Class has a 2.6-inch (6.6 cm) longer wheelbase – part of a 1.7 inch (4.3 cm) increase in overall length. The extra length means extra space for rear seat passengers, crucial in the showroom against the new Volvo S90 and upcoming BMW 5 Series. The extra rear seat space is also likely to make a difference in China, where luxury car buyers like to be driven, not drive.

To our eyes, the car looks best with the luxury grille and more subtle wheels
To our eyes, the car looks best with the luxury grille and more subtle wheels

That's not to say Mercedes has neglected drivers – thanks to multi-chamber air suspension, the ride can be firm and sporty or soft and cushy. Three chambers of air in the spring struts on the rear axle, and two in the struts on the front axle give drivers three different levels of stiffness. The system will automatically level when the car is fully loaded, and automatically sits the car lower at high speed for improved economy, or sits it higher on rough roads.

No new Mercedes tech-leader would be complete without a raft of new safety systems. The E-Class is chock full of fancy driver assistance systems to make your morning commute safer and easier. The car uses the seat bolsters to actively move you further away from a side-impact collision, and will even make a sharp noise before an accident to prepare your ears for the shock that's coming up.

The car is the first to integrate touch surfaces into the steering wheel controls
The car is the first to integrate touch surfaces into the steering wheel controls

If you're not so keen to take the wheel, or simply afraid you'll make a mistake that triggers one of these features, the E-Class will also deal with a huge amount of the driving for you.

Drive pilot provides assistance to the steering wheel to keep the car in its lane, and will follow the traffic in front at speeds up to 210 km/h (130 mph), making autobahn driving an absolute breeze. The system will even follow the road when lines are missing because of roadworks at speeds up to 130 km/h (81 mph).

Of course, helping the driver when the road is long and straight is one thing, but helping them in an emergency is potentially life saving. That's why the new E-Class is fitted with evasive steering assist, which adds torque to steering inputs when a driver swerves to keep the car under control.

There's a huge range of trim and leather colors available, so no two cars need be the same
There's a huge range of trim and leather colors available, so no two cars need be the same

At launch, there will be just two four-cylinder engines available: the first is the 2.0-liter E200, which makes 135 kW (184 hp) and 300 Nm for a 7.7 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph). The second is the E220 diesel, which drinks just 3.9 l/100km (60 mpg) despite having an extra 100 Nm and 8 kW (11 hp) over the petrol engine.

The range will expand to include a six-cylinder diesel with a monstrous 600 Nm of torque and a plug-in hybrid with 30 km (19 mi) zero-emissions range.

The E-Class will go into battle with the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6, so don't expect much of a price rise over the current car when it drops.

Source: Daimler

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