The disguise continues to fall off the next Mercedes E-class, and it’s plain to see that it won’t shock anyone – even in this musclebound AMG spec. Not for Merc the surprise and radical change that heralded the E60 BMW 5-series.
Instead, the new E (dubbed W212 in Mercspeak) will have a typically sleek outline redolent of its bigger S-class brother. Plus, on this example, the quad pipes, big wheels, discrete bodykit and huge brake discs that denote the E63 AMG sports saloon.
One giveaway to the new E-class’s design is the updated, CLS-style headlamps alluded to under the frontal disguise of this test car, a strong character line down the flanks and a stylised rear wheel arch.
Mercedes E-class: the lowdown
Where you can expect a radical rethink is under the skin. The next-gen E-class will have an E300 Bluetec diesel hybrid emitting just 134g/km of CO2. By linking Merc’s diesel Bluetec engine to a hybrid system, the greenest E-class should mix performance (413lb ft of twist) with purity (55.4mpg).
The diesel hybrid won’t be a big seller, as it’ll cost more than an E320 CDI (but less than the E500). It’s not the first Merc hybrid, though – that’ll be the S400 hybrid due at the 2008 Paris motor show this autumn.
Click ‘Next’ to read the full tech lowdown on the next E-class
Forget the E-class hybrid, presumably diesels will be the big sellers?
You could say that. The big event will be the 2.2 and 3.0-litre diesels, badged E200 CDI, E220 CDI, E250 CDI and E300 CDI; however, the UK is unlikely to take the lowest-power version.
Unleaded lovers can pick everything from a 1.8-litre petrol up to a muscle-bound 6.2-litre V8, most with CGI direct-injection for cleaner emissions. Did you know why the big AMG engine doesn’t grow beyond its 6208cc? There’s a 6.3-litre tax break in Germany, beyond which you’re clobbered by seriously high bills…
Is the new E-class new underneath?
You bet. The E-class premieres the latest iteration of Merc’s mid-sized saloon architecture – with an emphasis on back-to-basics engineering after the debacle of the dodgy electronic braking system on the last E, which led to one of the biggest recalls of recent times.
So expect conventional hydraulic brakes, a multilink rear axle and four-link front axle layout, governed by ABC Active Body Control systems and Airmatic suspension on higher-spec (as opposed to hire-spec) models.
And toys galore?
Oh yes. Stuttgart is going to throw its entire toy cupboard at the new E-class, with electronic systems that read road signs as you pass them (reminding you of speed limits and the like) and automatically flick your headlights between main beam and dipped.
There’s even a pop-up bonnet that can be reset simply, rather than require a trip to the garage. Handy for those who like to bump-park.
Click ‘Next’ to read the final page of our E-class scoop
And what about inside the new E-class?
Previous spyshots published by CAR Online prove that the interior will be updated with a fresh look, too. The gearstick moves up to the steering column and there will be a raft of intriguing tech to make lives easier for stressed execs: a more sophisticated voice activation system, night-vision from the S-class, you name it…
And how long til we see the real new E-class?
Be patient – we won’t see the finished E until the 2009 Geneva motor show. That points to a UK launch of summer 2009, when you can expect prices from around £29k.
Saloon and, from spring 2010, estate bodystyles will again be offered, and the next-gen CLS will also be spun off this platform too.
Owners of the BMW M5 and Audi RS6: you have been warned…
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