These are the clearest pictures yet of the new Mercedes E-class saloon undergoing final testing.
Inspired by the new head of Mercedes design Gordon Wagener and his Concept Fascination showcar, the E-class (known internally by its chassis code W212) will finally break from the circular headlamp motif of the current E-class in favour of a more dramatic and visually imposing rectangular set-up. Out go the current car’s slightly bulbous and staid lines and in comes some far more dynamic and edgy styling.
What else can you tell me about the new Mercedes E-class?
Expect an alphabet soup of safety, luxury and technology acronyms to accompany the E-Class debut, headlined by night vision, driver fatigue monitoring system and auto-dipping headlamps. There will be an extensive line-up of direct injection petrol and turbo diesel engines hooked up to Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic, with the big fleet sellers employing six-speed manuals for lower CO2 levels.
The engine line-up should eventually feature the 184bhp 200K, 231bhp E280, 300bhp E350, 354bhp E450, 428bhp E550 petrol engines, and the 201bhp E250 and 252bhp E320 CDI diesels. AMG fans will enjoy the 481bhp E63 that will arrive by the end of the year, followed by the lightweight 525bhp Black Series version in 2010.
Mercedes will also produce a long-wheelbase version of the saloon aimed specifically at the lucrative Chinese market, where stretch limousines are highly sought after. But it won't come to Europe or America because Mercedes marketing suits fear it may eat away at S-class sales.
Arguably more important for Europe is the arrival of an E-class diesel hybrid in 2010. Powered by 2.2-litre Bluetec engine, the E-Class will borrow heavily from the recently unveiled S400 Hybrid. Insides claim the car will pack a hefty 413lb ft for effortless in-gear punch, while returning 134g/km of CO2 and 55.4mpg. Impressive for a big executive.