► Mercedes-Benz E-class revealed in Detroit
► Initial range includes 4cyl petrol and diesel
► On sale in late January for £36,000
The new tenth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-class, the brand’s BMW 5-series and Audi A6-rivalling luxury saloon, has been revealed at the Detroit motor show.
It ushers in a host of significant changes, including autonomous technology and a new four-cylinder diesel engine, as well as adopting the styling of the newer C-class and S-class.
Full pricing and specifications are yet to be announced, but you can expect the entry-level E220d to cost around £36,000 when it goes on sale at the end of the month.
Six features on the new E-class that’ll blow your mind.
New engine range for 2016
Good news: the 2016 E-class marks the debut of an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine, which is reputedly far more refined than Mercedes’ old 2.1-litre diesel. It’s coupled, like every other engine in the new line-up, to a nine-speed automatic gearbox that drives the rear wheels.
The new all-aluminium 2.0-litre diesel packs a single-stage variable turbo, and puts out 192bhp and 295lb ft. That might not sound like much for a big luxury saloon, but Mercedes claim a suitably spritely 0-62mph time of 7.3sec.
It’s also reported to average 72mpg – if you happen to commute on a rolling road in a climate-control facility, most likely – and emit just 102g/km of CO2, which will no doubt please company car drivers looking for a luxury exec. This new diesel will be the entry-level model in the UK range initially, badged the E220d.
The impressive efficiency is in part thanks due to a low drag coefficient of just 0.23. To put that in prespective, that means the E-class cuts through the air more easily than a Toyota Prius. The Mercedes’ low-drag nature also helps to deliver better refinement at higher speeds.
Other versions include the 3.0-litre diesel E350d and the E350e plug-in hybrid, which features a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. You can expect other versions to be announced and launched in the near future, however – including the flagship V8-engined Mercedes-AMG E63.
Advanced tech and autonomous features
If you’re looking for something that’ll get you from A to B with minimum input, then the new E-class may prove a top choice. That’s because it features the Mercedes-Benz ‘Drive Pilot’ system, which the company says represents the ‘next step along the road to autonomous driving’.
The system consists of adaptive cruise control and a ‘Steering Pilot’, which provides steering assistance to keep the Mercedes in the right lane. This, in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control, means little brake, throttle or steering input will be needed.
Another aid that will cut the driver’s workload is a ‘Speed Limit Pilot’, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed based on sat-nav information or signage regarding speed limits. There’s even the option of an ‘Active Lane-Change Assistant’, which will automatically change lanes for the driver when they indicate. Assuming it’s clear, that is.
Other neat touches include ‘Evasive Steering Assist’, which helps drivers carry out emergency manoeuvres and to maintain control following the swerve. Much like the recently updated Tesla Model S, Mercedes also offers a ‘Remote Parking Pilot’, which allows for remote-controlled parking, ideal for tight spaces or garages.
Futuristic, multi-layered dashboard
Step inside the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and it’s hard to tell whether you’re sitting in a motor show concept or a smaller version of the S-class limousine.
Headline features include an optional huge, floating widescreen display and more LED lights than a B&Q Christmas aisle. The new E’s dashboard wraps around from door to door and frames the new widescreen display, which is backlit by LED strips to give a modernist, floating effect.
There are no traditional bulbs used in the interior at all and the LED ambient lighting can be customised with a choice of 64 colours. Pick the optional Burmester 3D stereo and its front door tweeters and roof speakers are also ringed with light.
Four central air vents like in an S-class lead down into the centre console, which flows into the armrest. The open-pore wood and metal-woven fabric used wouldn’t look out of place on a luxury yacht, plus there’s a choice of two-tone coverings for the dashboard.
New E-class showcases a sleek, info-packed widescreen
While the standard car makes do with two round dials, the dual-screen display is a box worth ticking. The look of the dials can be customised between Classic, Sport and intriguing Progressive schemes, inspired by the film Tron (no, really).
Smart features on the central display include a sat-nav map that shows the nearest fuel stations, plus the current price of whichever fuel you need. The connected world is here, folks.
Instead of jabbing madly at the massive screen you use two steering-wheel-mounted thumbpads to pilot the various menus by swiping left and right, and up and down. It’s an intuitive system after just a few minutes’ use and anyone comfortable with a smartphone will be right at home.
So what about the UK range and pricing?
The UK line-up starts with the E220d, which will cost around £36,000 when it goes on sale towards the end of January. Deliveries will begin in May, following which the six-cylinder E350d will join the range. Towards the end of the year a four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid, the E350e, will also be released.
You can expect other versions to be launched as well, but you won’t see the four-wheel-drive E400 4Matic in the UK. Mercedes has hinted, however, that 4Matic will be offered on some models – most likely the yet-to-be-announced E63 AMG.
Two trim levels will be available: SE and AMG Line. Both come with the Sport radiator grille with the prominent three-pointed star, but none are offered with the bonnet-mounted three-pointed star – you’ll have to move up to an S-class if you want that.
As standard UK versions come with lowered comfort suspension which sits 15mm lower than the standard comfort suspension, while air suspension can be specified if desired.
Full pricing will be announced later in the month but expect a price hike of 2-3% over the existing range.
Read more of CAR’s Detroit motor show coverage here.