After teasing us with tit-bits of the upcoming model for months, Mercedes Benz has launched the much awaited E class at the Detroit Auto Show today. Despite being one of the most important models in the Mercedes line up, E class is the last to get the design update and now the new E class looks stunning, clad in the cloths of 'Sensual Purity' design language.
The new E class is no less stunning than the full sized S class or the small brother in the family, the C class – in fact, the new E class is almost two third of the new S class. The swooping lines, the grill, the curvy cab rearward profile, the now signature tail lamps – all of these bears the testimony that the new E class is no more alien to the now familiar family design.
But where the E class breaks new grounds is the interior, and literally, at the headlights and tail lights. The car features what Mercedes christened as MultiBeam LED headlights – which have an impressive 84 LEDs that can be controlled individually to reduce the effect of the high beam on the oncoming traffic. The LED tail lights feature stardust effect while illuminating, giving a distant character to the tail lamps and by thus helping the new E to stand apart from the crowd.
The Mercedes Benz E class has also grown in size – the car is slightly bigger than the outgoing model, with wheelbase increased by 2.6 inches and overall length by 1.7 inches. It is offered with both luxury and sports trim, where the sports will distinguish itself from the other one by a different grill (which will have two bars) and will omit the three pointed star hood ornament. Also on offer will be more aggressive front and back bumpers. There will be a choice of both 19-inch and 20-inch wheels, larger than the previous generations.
The interiors were unveiled much before the official launch and are now the bench mark in its class. The new interior borrows lot of cues from the elder sibling – the S class. A perfect blend of latest in design with the luxury, the interior is nothing short of an intelligent study in modern luxury. The dashboard display is a pair of 12.3-inch high definition screens that feature configurable display settings and different themes to suit the mood of the driver. The E class is equipped with three different graphic themes – Classic, Sport and Progressive. The interior also features LED ambient lighting, with 64 different color choices to opt from.
The wood veneers span the entire dash and also the door panels, and offers a sense of luxury akin to that of S class. Mercedes has equipped the E class with more interior color choices than the usual black and beige and the top-of-the-line beast will come with the second generation Burmester 3D surround sound system that boasts 23 speakers.
The steering wheel sports touch sensitive pads that make use of swipe functions, like that of smartphones, to control the UI.
The E class is the most technologically advanced car from Mercedes, which has been attested by the fact that the car got Autonomous Test License, for testing autonomous driving. The sedan has lot of tricks under its sleeve, including safety and autonomous driving capabilities – both new and improvised versions of what Mercedes provides in the current S-class and C-class. The beauty features technological advancements such as intelligent drive, autonomous lane changing, Evasive steering assist, Active braking assist, Remote Parking assist, etc.
By combining Adaptive Cruise Control and lane-keep assist, Mercedes has trained the E class to keep a safe distance from the car in front, while navigating by itself around corners. Thanks to the host of sensors, radars and cameras deployed in this deadly beast.
The car features two noteworthy additions to the assist features – Evasive steering assist and Active Brake Assist – which work in collaboration to prevent potential collisions by warning the driver about the dangerous conditions and by taking preventive actions, in case the driver fails to react. This also helps the driver by assisting him taking evasive actions, for example, if a pedestrian comes suddenly in the vehicle's way.
Remote Parking using Smartphone
For the first time in the history of E class, the driver will be able to park the car with the help of a smartphone app. The smart car will now be able to park on its own coupled with self-start, lock and unlock using the smart app.
Digital Car Key
In another innovation, Mercedes uses the NFC chip in the smartphone to be used in lieu of conventional key fob. The driver will be able to lock or unlock the car with its help, even if the phone is out of battery.
The new E class shares the platform with the new S class, which translates to a wider, longer but lighter E class based on the MRA architecture.
Vehicle to Vehicle and Vehicle to Infrastructure Communication
Mercedes have equipped the E class with V2X Communication technology that will help the car to communicate with other cars on the road and other infrastructures like traffic lights that are equipped with this technology. Using this, the cars and other objects will communicate to a central server about the road conditions, accidents, etc., which in turn will pass on the message to other cars/vehicles to warn them in advance. This goes on a long way to make the drive environment safe, as this technology is poised to see rapid advancements.
The powertrain on offer during the launch will be the familiar 2 liter, 4-cylinder block that outputs a healthy power of 241bhp. The transmission is 9 speed automatic, and the car will be more efficient and faster, thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and other light weight high strength materials that helped the E class to shed 150 pounds of weight.
Though Mercedes has not officially announced, there will be AMG models (in addition to the E63 AMG, we are suspecting that Mercedes will surprise us by an E450 AMG option as well), along with the much awaited plug-in hybrid and diesel powered models. The model line will see the addition of the E Wagon by this year's end or by next year and we will also be seeing the Coupe and Convertible models.
Though Mercedes has not given any concrete launch dates in India, the plans are to introduce the model in India soon after the international launch, so we will be seeing the new Mercedes Benz E-class in a showroom near our houses, pretty soon.