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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Tech-fest, hybrid-only new Mercedes-Benz E-Class revealed

Three-pointed star model that straddles the gap between the C-Class and S-Class premieres as the most advanced generation ever made.


Mercedes-Benz has officially brought rumours and spy images dating back almost two years to a close by revealing the all-new fifth generation E-Class.

One of Stuttgart’s most important models globally, the new internally named W214 E-Class, represents what the three-pointed star calls a “new chapter for the business sedan” that straddles the gap closer to the new S-Class than ever before.

Said to be the most the technologically advanced E-Class ever made, the W214 rides on the same MRA platform as the S-Class and smaller C-Class and the for first time, comes as standard with electrification in a form of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, or as a plug-in hybrid.

New junior ‘S’

Currently presented solely as a sedan with an estate due to arrive at a later stage in Europe, the E-Class sports a prominent S-Class-inspired design in not only the LED or optional Digital LED headlights, but also the side profile and indeed the entire look of the rear facia.

ALSO READ: Mercedes-Benz outlines all-new E-Class ahead of 25 April debut

At the front, elements of the Mercedes EQ models also linger, most noticeably the studded grille, oversized Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star and the blackened-out surrounds of the grille itself.

A new option that alleviates the E-Class’ standing as often the most conservative Mercedes-Benz sedan is the availability of an illuminated grille across the entire range.

Dimensions

Initially, the ‘E’ will be marketed in Exclusive, Avantgarde and AMG Line trim levels, each with their own unique assortment of exterior and interior touches ranging from alloy wheels and veneers, to materials and cabin colour options.

Dimensionally, the E-Class measures 4 949 mm long, 1 468 mm high and 1 880 mm wide while riding on a 2 961 mm wheelbase. Compared its predecessor, the latte figure represents a 22 mm increase, which Mercedes-Benz claims has freed-up more legroom by as much as 17 mm and rear elbow room by 25 mm.

Mercedes-Benz debuts all-new E-Class
Rear-end styling has been lifted directly from the S-Class. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

Along with a wider track and wheel sizes from 17-inches to 21-inches, boot space has increased to 540-litres and the cabin made even quieter thanks for sound deadening materials.

Enter tech

One of the first aspect teased before the most recent outline of the exterior earlier this month is the interior, which, as an option, can be specified with the MBUX corner-to-corner 56-inch Hyperscreen display that premiered on the EQS.

Unlike the C-Class, the design of the E-Class’ Hyperscreen means the display is integrated into the dashboard rather than the centre console. This also applies to the standard infotainment system that measures 12.3-inches.

Certain designs are, however, unique to the E-Class, namely the air vents that wrap around the sides of the dashboard and the LED mood lighting stripes around the outer edges expanded to the doors.

Mercedes-Benz debuts all-new E-Class
EQS influence continues inside where the OLED 56-inch Hyperscreen display can be specified as an option. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

Carried over from the C-Class though are the physical buttons at the base of the dash, the new three-spoke steering wheel with touch-sensitive switchgear and a completely freed-up centre console that houses a massive storage area containing the wireless smartphone charger, USB ports and pair of cupholders underneath the lid.

In terms of tech items, again filtered down from the S-Class, the E-Class sports a new camera system ranging from the standard one, to as many as five designed to monitor the cabin itself and not safety.

Of the optional five, excluding the mentioned mono item, two are integrated into the dash – one being a selfie cam and the other a dash cam – one below the sound system and the other on the overhead console in a gesture form as part of the Interior Assist system.

All-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class fully detailed
Longer wheelbase than the old W213 means more legroom for rear passengers. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

Safety is taken care off by a vast array of systems comprising the following:

  • Steering Assist;
  • surround-view camera system;
  • Distance Assist Distronic;
  • Pre-Safe Assist;
  • Junction Assist;
  • Blind Spot Assist;
  • Lane Change Assist;
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking;
  • Active Brake Assist;
  • Evasive Steering Assist;
  • Lane Keep Assist;
  • Park Assist;
  • 3D Driver Attention Assist

Dynamics

As for the E-Class’ dynamics, and in order to accommodate to the new electrical hardware, Mercedes-Benz has added the Airmatic air suspension system as an option, which comes with adaptive dampers when the optional Airmatic+ option is selected.

Standard on all models though is the Agility Control steel springs, a new subframe, axles, springs, control arms and stuts, plus the option of rear-axle steering system available on the C-Class.

Hybrid for all

On the engine front, two mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powerunits have been selected, the former able to raise power and torque by 17kW/205Nm for short spells as per the 48-volt system forming part of what Mercedes-Benz calls EQ Boost.

A four-cylinder-only affair, all units displace 2.0-litres with the one in the E200 developing 150kW/320Nm and the one in the turbodiesel E220d 145kW/440Nm. Top speed for the former is 240 km/h and 238 km/h for the latter, with the respective 0-100 km/h times amounting to 7.5 seconds and 7.6 seconds.

All-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class fully detailed
Longer wheelbase than the old W213 means more legroom for rear passengers. Image: Mercedes-Benz.

An option for the E220d is the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, which lowers the top speed to 234 km/h and increases the benchmark sprint time by a further 0.2 seconds.

On the plug-hybrid front, a 25.4-kWh battery driving an electric motor producing 95kW/440Nm has been paired to the 2.0-litre engine in order to produce a combined 230kW/550Nm that allows the E300 e to get from 0-100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 236 km/h. The claimed all-electric range is 115 km.

Despite developing the same power, in the E300 e 4Matic, the claimed range falls to 109 km, top speed to 234 km/h and the 0-100 km/h sprint increases to 6.5 seconds.

Rounding the range off is the E400 e 4Matic makes 280kW/650Nm, enough for a top speed of 250 km/h, 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and an emissions-free range of 109 km.

Arrival

Although Mercedes-Benz will provide details at a later stage of the AMG models, no happening are any coupe or cabriolet derivatives as these will be succeeded by the incoming new CLE.

Going on-sale later this year in Europe and the United States, the E-Class will be offered in South Africa before the end of the year, though no further details have been made public by the local arm of Mercedes-Benz.

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