New E-Class stakes luxury claim
Mercedes-Benz has released photos of the upcoming E-Class, sending a clear message that the German luxury cruiser is ready to take on the competition.
The current E-Class has been disappointing, not offering the same degree of technology, styling or comfort as its Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series rivals. But if the images are to be believed the new E-Class will live up to its heritage of being a scaled down S-Class.
The exterior is a departure from the hard, angular lines of the previous model, favouring the curves we’ve already become accustomed to in the S-Class and C-Class context. The front has a clear C-Class look to it, with large air intakes and pulled headlights, while the three-quarter view is S-Class through and through.
Only the rear view reveals some styling elements unique to the E-Class, mixing oversized dimensions and the Mercedes-Benz design language to create a look that is reassuringly bulky. Less Arnold Schwarzenegger from Conan and more Jason Statham in a dinner suit.
Surprisingly the car has grown in most dimensions, adding 43 mm to its already substantial 4 923mm length. The wheelbase swallows up all and more of that, increasing by 65 mm to trim the overhangs of this fifth-generation E-Class. Width and height have both been snipped by 2 mm and 6 mm respectively.
The changes in dimensions hint at the E-Class’ new chassis and platform which are in line with the technology used to produce the C and S-Class. The structure features hot-formed high-strength steel and aluminium, with certain panels — such as the roof and bonnet – made from a single sheet of cast aluminium.
Mercedes-Benz claims this saves an average of 100 kg compared to the previous-generation E-Class.
While nearly eight engines will be on offer when the E-Class is in full swing, early adopters will only have a choice of two, and both are diesel. The E350d will use a 190 kW 3,0-litre turbocharged diesel, while the E220d will receive a 143 kW and 400 Nm 2,0-litre oil-burner.
The 2,0-litre diesel is a brand new engine codenamed OM654, and replaces the older and sometimes less than refiined OM651. Mercedes-Benz also claims the E220d will return fuel consumption figures of only 3,9 l/100km while producing exhaust emissions of just 102 g/km.
The remaining engines will be a turbocharged 2,0-litre petrol available in two states of tuning and wearing the E200 and E250 nameplates. The E200 will produce 135 kW and 300 Nm of torque, while the more powerful E250 is credited with 180 kW. A twin-turbocharged 3,0-litre V6 generating 245 kW will be used for the E400.
An AMG version is also planned for release about a year after the car’s debut. It will receive the latest twin-turbocharged 4,0-litre V8 from AMG which rumours say can produce 433 kW in E63 AMG guise.
For the more frugal minded, an E200d will also later make an appearance, using a detuned 110 kW version of the 2,0-litre OM654 engine.
All E-Class models will be rear-wheel drive with a choice of 4Matic four-wheel drive with certain engine pairings in European and possibly US markets, but unlikely locally. A nine-speed 9G automatic gearbox is standard.
But as pleasing as the exterior of the new executive sedan is, it is the interior where most of the changes have occurred. Combining the new C-Class layout with the S dual 12,3-inch TFT displays of the S-Class allows the new E to feel like a premium vehicle of this decade. All the luxuries you would expect are there, including wireless charging and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
Interestingly Mercedes-Benz is also investigating the possibility of resurrecting the E-Class Estate, and to do so in two possible body styles. The first will be the traditional large-load but luxurious hauler, while the second will be more rugged, with a higher ride height and four-wheel drive.
The All-Terrain version will come standard with air-suspension and go head-to-head with Audi’s A6 Allroad, a personal favourite of ours.