Mercedes-Benz has always seemed to follow evolution over revolution when it comes to styling updates, and its current crop of models are no exception. In the latter half of 2015, we saw a sleeker, new-look for the SL-Class, and its little brother the SLC (neé the SLK). Over in its SUV lineup, the full-size GLK was rebranded as the GLS to bring Mercedes’ people movers closer in line with its iconic C-Class/E-Class/S-Class sedan lineup.
Since the C-Class and S-Class were both new for ’14, it was only natural that a fresh E-Class wouldn’t be far behind. This week, Mercedes unveiled its all-new E-Class (internal designation W213) a full week before its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show, and while it’s brand new, it already looks very familiar.
For the first time in over 20 years, there’s a strong cohesiveness throughout Mercedes’ sedan lineup again. While some could claim this is merely “sausages cut to a different length” (a charge usually leveled at Audi), Mercedes has a history of having its styling and tech trickle down from the flagship S-Class to the rest of its lineup. And for those of us who can’t afford the $95K-and up S-Class, this new E-Class is a very good thing.
While you could now easily mistake E-Class for the larger S-Class when looking at them from the front or the rear, the new car’s biggest surprise may be its interior, which looks straight out of Mercedes’ flagship. On top of a redesigned steering wheel with a number of controls mounted on it, and redesigned seats that look suspiciously similar to to the big Merc’s, the company says:
“The eye-catcher in the comfort-oriented, luxurious interior of the new E-Class is two displays each with a 31.2 cm (12.3-inch) screen diagonal and a resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. These merge visually to form a wide-screen cockpit, thus acting as a central element to emphasise the horizontal bias of the interior design of the new E-Class. As the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. A common glass cover results in a modern flat-screen look.”
There’s no word on pricing yet, but if the company can keep the E-Class close to the current car’s $52,000 entry point, it should have a serious competitor in the midsize luxury sedan segment.
According to CarScoops, the new E-Class will ride on Mercedes’ modular MRA platform, keeping the car lighter despite a 1.7 inch growth spurt in length. In Europe, a 2.0 liter turbocharged four will be the base engine, while a 2.0 liter turbo-diesel and V6 options will be available too. E63 AMG models will ditch their current 577 horsepower 5.5 liter twin-turbo V8s, and will instead get a a twin-turbo 4.0 liter V8, expected to put out around 600 horsepower. Other than the AMG, every other model will come standard with Mercedes’ nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. All-wheel drive will be available in some models as well.
Last month, Mercedes and took Car and Driver along for a ride in a prototype, and they said: “The Mercedes-Benz E-class is not just a prototypical luxury sedan, it’s the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz brand.” For a company with so many formidable models, that’s no faint praise. We’re looking forward to knowing the rest once it’s officially unveiled in Detroit next week.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.