'The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations. The new E-Class takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving. In addition, it enhances efficiency, safety and comfort, reduces the stress level when driving and intensifies the motoring pleasure', says Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Coupé-esque and powerful
The new E-Class is sophisticated, confidently stylish and sporty. Compared with its predecessor, its wheelbase length has grown by 65 millimetres (2939/2874), its overall length by 43 millimetres (4923/4880). Its design displays hallmark Mercedes-Benz saloon proportions. The elongated bonnet coupled with a coupé-esque roof flowing into a sensual, broad-shouldered tail end creates an exciting silhouette. The powerfully extended vehicle body is characterised by short overhangs, a long wheelbase, large wheels and taut well-defined flanks displaying a fresh, stylish and dynamic interpretation of the feature line. All of which allows the E-Class to deliver the perfect take on the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy: Sensual Purity.
A powerfully designed front end underlines the status the business-class saloon aspires to, boasting a different look for each design and equipment line. The base version features the classic Mercedes radiator grille with the star on the bonnet, as does the EXCLUSIVE line – albeit in an even more elaborate fashion. The AVANTGARDE and AMG Line models are identifiable by the sports radiator grille with a large Mercedes star as its centrepiece. Each of the radiator grille designs lends the E-Class a distinct character, offering a unique degree of diversity that makes each different model stand out.
At the rear end, broad shoulders above the rear wheel arches lend the E-Class its unmistakably powerful character. Single-piece tail lights featuring a two-bar design framed by the vehicle body clearly identify the E-Class as a new member of the Mercedes saloon family. Optionally available rear lights provide an additional highlight reminiscent of stardust, the Milky Way or the glow of a jet engine. This 'stardust effect' is created by innovative reflector technology with a specially configured surface structure for the tail lights and is making its debut appearance on the new E-Class.
Next Level Interior Design
The interior of the new E-Class embodies the synthesis of emotion and intelligence, poles that are defined by the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy – distinct forms with a sensual flow to them. Optional extras include two next-generation high-resolution displays, each with a wide screen diagonal of 12.3 inches – a first in this segment. Beneath their shared glass cover, the two displays visually conflate into a wide-screen cockpit that seems to be hovering in thin air, creating a central element that emphasises the horizontal orientation of the interior design. As the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. The driver can choose between three different styles to select their preferred design for the wide-screen instrument cluster: 'Classic', 'Sport' and 'Progressive'.
In addition, touch-sensitive control buttons ('Touch Controls') on the steering wheel make their first appearance in a car. Like a smartphone interface, they respond precisely to horizontal and vertical swiping movements, allowing the driver to control the entire infotainment system using finger swipes without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. In keeping with the motto 'hands on the wheel, eyes on the road“, this allows achieving minimum driver distraction.
Further controls for the infotainment system are provided in the shape of a touchpad with controller in the centre console, which can even recognise handwriting, and the LINGUATRONIC voice control system. There are also direct-access buttons for controlling functions such as the air-conditioning system or – in another first – for convenient activation and deactivation of certain driver assistance systems.
A new, intelligent graphic design with high-resolution visualisations and animations, together with a simplified logic, further enhances this all-new operating experience. At the same time, the occupants enjoy a sensual interior with spacious architecture, which combines the elegance of the luxury class with accomplished sportiness.
Intelligent material design
High-quality materials define the interior style. They include open-pore woods, wood in a yachting look with flowing lines as a contemporary interpretation of inlaid wood and a novel metal fabric. The use of authentic materials is continued in the leather-covered doors and the beltline for selected lines. Another Mercedes hallmark clearly in evidence is the high-quality look and feel created through meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Just as carefully composed is the material/colour concept with various shades of brown, including new attractive colour combinations such as nut brown/macchiato and saddle brown/macchiato. This allows a personalised interior design.
Lighting atmosphere with 64 colours
The interior lighting makes exclusive use of durable, energy-saving LED technology. The same applies to the enhanced ambient lighting included in the lines. With 64 colours, it offers a host of possibilities for personalisation. It adds touches of light, for example, to the trim parts, central display, front stowage facility on the centre console, handle recesses, door pockets, front and rear footwells, overhead console, and tweeters (if the vehicle is equipped with the Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system).
Seat design: first class
A further highlight of the new E-Class is its seats. Their ergonomic, sculptural form combines Mercedes-Benz's hallmark suitability for long journeys with a refined, sporty look, featuring a unique design for each line. Another new feature in this segment is a Heat Comfort package including heated armrests in the doors and on the centre console.
The rear bench seat in the new E-Class Saloon comes with the option of a three-piece backrest with a 40% - 20% - 40% split, making it exceptionally versatile. Integral features of the centre armrest include a stowage box and two pop-out drinks holders. There is also the option of a holder for a tablet PC for the rear passengers.
New engine generation
The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder petrol engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine.
Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch, including the E 350 e featuring hybrid technology. The PLUG-IN HYBRID impresses with its dynamism and efficiency, allowing around 30 kilometres of purely electric and therefore locally emission-free driving. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 210 kW (286 hp) with a system torque of 550 Nm. With this set-up, the E 350 e achieves the performance of a sports car yet consumes less fuel than a small, compact-class car.
The most powerful diesel variant will boast a six-cylinder engine incorporating advanced SCR exhaust technology, with an output of 190 kW (258 hp) and a peak torque of 620 Nm.
Another variant to join the range will be the E 400 4MATIC whose six-cylinder petrol engine has an output of 245 kW (333 hp) and a maximum torque of 480 Nm.
Further variants will later complete the engine range, including a new four-cylinder diesel unit developing 110 kW (150 hp). The range of petrol engines will comprise four-cylinder versions with outputs ranging from 135 to 180 kW (183 to 245 hp) plus a six-cylinder variant developing 245 kW (333 hp).
All engines for the new E-Class are equipped with the ECO start/stop function. The petrol engines meet the requirements of the EU 6 emissions standard, while the new OM 654 four-cylinder diesel engine is already configured with future RDE limits in mind.
All-new four-cylinder diesel engine
The new four-cylinder diesel unit marks the birth of a new Mercedes-Benz engine family and opens up new dimensions in efficiency. What's more, it is shorter and more compact than its predecessor thanks to reduced cylinder spacing (90 mm instead of 94 mm). Despite having a lower displacement than its predecessor, reduced to around two litres, the new diesel powerplant has an output of 143 kW/195 hp and, when installed in the E 220 d, delivers NEDC combined consumption of just 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres, which equates to CO2 emissions of 102 grams per kilometre – a figure that until now only significantly smaller vehicles have been able to deliver.
In addition to this, the four-cylinder unit is exceptionally refined. In its basic form it features single-stage turbocharging and variable turbine geometry. Both the cylinder head and the crankcase are made of aluminium. The Mercedes-Benz developed NANOSLIDE® surface coating efficiently reduces the friction between cylinder surface and steel piston.
All models available at market launch are equipped with the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission as standard. It enables fast gear changes and allows low engine revs, which has a particularly beneficial effect on efficiency and noise levels.
Suspension – sporty comfort
The suspension on the new E-Class offers agile driving pleasure on twisting roads as well as the highest level of ride comfort in this segment. The Saloon comes with steel suspension as standard. Three DIRECT CONTROL suspension systems with selective damping system are available in conjunction with this suspension:
- Comfort suspension
- Comfortable Avantgarde suspension with a sportier character, lowered by 15 millimetres
- Sporty suspension with adaptive damping adjustment, lowered by 15 millimetres, which replaces the classic sports suspension
AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension
Alternatively the new E-Class can be equipped with multi-chamber air suspension all round – the only car in its segment to offer this option. Advantages of this system: Three chambers of different size in the spring struts of the rear axle and two in the spring struts of the front axle make it possible to control, in three stages, how stiffly the suspension reacts. In this way, the occupants enjoy soft base suspension, and the secure feeling of good handling stability as the speed increases.
Furthermore, the highly sensitive and fast-responding AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension features all-round self-levelling for excellent ride comfort even with the vehicle loaded. It controls the ride height automatically depending on the speed and reduces fuel consumption on the motorway, for example, by lowering the vehicle. When driving on rough roads or access roads, the ground clearance can also be increased at the push of a button using the ride height adjustment switch.
The multi-chamber air suspension is supplemented by a continuously operating, electronically controlled damping adjustment system, which adapts the damping at each individual wheel to the current driving situation and road conditions fully automatically – when performing evasive manoeuvres or driving on poor road surfaces, for instance. The system therefore delivers good road roar and tyre vibration characteristics, excellent ride comfort, and outstanding driving dynamics.
What's more, a DYNAMIC SELECT switch in the cockpit enables the driver to select from four AIR BODY CONTROL modes: 'Comfort', 'ECO', 'Sport' and 'Sport+'. The additional 'Individual' option allows drivers to configure their vehicle to suit their own preferences.
Next-generation driver assistance systems
Mercedes-Benz's new assistance and safety systems enhance safety, comfort and driver assistance to new levels.
Active Brake Assist, fitted as standard, is able to warn the driver of impending crash situations, provide just the right level of support during emergency braking and, if necessary, also apply the brakes automatically itself. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it can also detect pedestrians crossing the danger zone ahead of the vehicle.
Likewise included as standard are ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist, which can assist the driver by substantially mitigating the effects of strong crosswinds to prevent the vehicle from drifting too far off track.
Highlights of the optional Driver Assistance package that make the E-Class the most intelligent saloon in its class include:
- DRIVE PILOT: This system represents Mercedes-Benz's next step along the road to autonomous driving. As Distance Pilot DISTRONIC on motorways and country roads, it is not only able to keep the car the correct distance behind vehicles in front automatically, it can also follow them at a speed of up to 210 km/h for the first time. This can make life easier for the driver, who no longer needs to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving and also receives plenty of steering assistance from the Steering Pilot – even on moderate bends. Another unique feature at speeds up to 130 km/h is the fact that, like in a swarm, the system can continue to intervene actively by taking account of surrounding vehicles and parallel structures, even if the lines are unclear or non-existent, like at road works. The system therefore makes driving much easier, especially in traffic jams or heavy congestion. Another feature that helps to relieve the workload on the driver in such situations is the extended restart function, which allows automatic starting of the vehicle within 30 seconds following a stop initiated by the Distance Pilot DISTRONIC on motorways or similar roads. Further new development designed to relieve stress: in combination with COMAND Online, the selectable Speed Limit Pilot subfunction can autonomously adjust the vehicle's speed in response to camera-detected speed limits or speed limits logged in the navigation system, e.g. 50 km/h in built-up areas or 100 km/h on country roads. Additional DRIVE PILOT innovations include, for the first time, an Active Lane-change Assistant. This radar- and camera-based assistance system assists the driver when changing lanes on multi-lane roads and can steer the vehicle into the lane selected by the driver – when overtaking, for example. Once the driver has indicated to turn for at least two seconds, the Active Lane-change Assistant assists with steering into the adjacent lane if it detects that the lane is unoccupied.
- Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function: Compared with the standard version, this system has extended speed thresholds with respect to vehicles and pedestrians. Furthermore, it can detect crossing traffic at junctions and, if the driver fails to respond, apply the brakes autonomously. For the first time, it can also detect hazardous situations at the tail end of traffic jams where there is no room to manoeuvre and initiate autonomous braking far sooner in such situations. Consequently, it is possible to completely avoid accidents at speeds up to 100 km/h or substantially reduce the severity of accidents at speeds above this level.
- Evasive Steering Assist: This likewise new system ideally complements the pedestrian detection function of Active Brake Assist. When the driver deliberately or instinctively performs an evasive manoeuvre in a dangerous situation, this function can assist by adding precisely calculated steering torque to support the movement of the steering wheel. This helps the driver to avoid the pedestrian in a controlled manner while subsequently facilitating the straightening-up of the vehicle to allow the situation to be negotiated safely.
- Advanced assistance systems: The intelligent assistance systems in the new Driver Assistance package also include proven systems that have been further developed in terms of their mode of operation and the sensors they use. Active Lane Keeping Assist can help stop the driver from unintentionally changing lane, this being done by corrective one-sided application of the brakes, including in the case of broken lines and risk of collision, e.g. with oncoming traffic or fast overtaking vehicles. Active Blind Spot Assist can now also warn of the risk of a lateral collision in typical urban traffic at low speeds and, as before, correctively intervene at the last moment to prevent a collision at speeds above 30 km/h. PRE-SAFE® PLUS can protect against collisions with traffic following behind and their effects on the occupants.
Furthermore, the range of new features in the new E-Class includes:
- Remote Parking Pilot: For this first time, this system allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of garages and parking spaces remotely using a smartphone app, enabling the occupants to get into and out of the car easily, even if space is very tight.
- Car-to-X communication: In 2013, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer to introduce widespread car-to-car networking in the form of a retrofit solution. This is now to be followed by the logical next step as the world's first fully integral Car-to-X solution goes into series production. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road, for example, can effectively allow the driver to 'see around corners' or 'through obstacles' well in advance. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as a broken down vehicle at the edge of the road or also in the event of heavy rain or black ice on the road ahead. In this case the new E-Class simultaneously acts as a receiver and a transmitter, since warning messages are conveyed automatically by evaluating vehicle statuses or manually by the driver to the backend.
- PRE-SAFE® impulse side: This system is part of the Driving Assistance package PLUS. If a lateral collision has been detected and is imminent, it moves the driver or front passenger away from the danger zone in a sideways direction by way of precaution. To do this, the system inflates an air chamber in the side bolster of the front seat backrest nearest the side of the imminent impact in a fraction of a second, thus increasing the distance between occupant and door and, at the same time, reducing the forces acting on the occupants.
- PRE-SAFE® Sound: This system is based on a human reflex in the inner ear, called the stapedius reflex. PRE-SAFE® Sound emits a short interference signal through the vehicle's sound system if the risk of a collision is detected. This signal can trigger the natural reflex and thus prepare the occupants' ears for the expected sound of the accident.
- High-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, each with 84 individually controlled high-performance LEDs, automatically illuminate the road with a hitherto unsurpassed, precision-controlled distribution of exceptionally bright light – without dazzling other road users. That's because this grid allows the light distribution of the left and right headlamps to be controlled separately and adapted to the changing situation on the road quickly and dynamically. All functions of the Intelligent Light System in low-beam and high-beam mode can furthermore be depicted purely digitally and without mechanical actuators for the first time, including, as a world first, a purely electronically implemented active light function.
- Digital Vehicle Key: This drive authorisation system uses Near Field Communication technology and allows the driver's smartphone to be used as a vehicle key.
Multifunction Telephony – ideally connected, and not a cable in sight
An all-new infotainment generation is making its debut in the E-Class equipped with COMAND Online. Its highlights, alongside the double display, include the touch-sensitive Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel and the new, intelligent graphic design of the Multifunction Telephony. It allows mobile phones to be charged and connected to the vehicle's exterior aerial – with absolutely no need for cables or a telephone holder. The wireless, inductive charging system works with all mobile devices that either support the Qi standard or can be upgraded to this standard. The charging pad, built into the stowage facility at the front of the centre console, is compatible with mobile phones with a screen diagonal of up to 15.2 cm (6 inches). When the 'NFC' logo is touched, the system connects the mobile phone to the head unit and the exterior aerials via Near Field Communication (NFC). Telephone calls are then routed via the Bluetooth® hands‑free system automatically.
Three-dimensional listening pleasure
Fitted as standard, the Mercedes-Benz-developed Frontbass system in the new E‑Class delivers a unique listening experience. It uses the space in the cross-member and side member of the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers. If the vehicle is additionally equipped with the optionally available Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system with 23 loudspeakers, the occupants are treated to a listening experience reminiscent of the acoustics in a concert hall as it includes a third dimension of sound courtesy of roof loudspeakers.
Robust yet lightweight bodyshell
An outstandingly stiff body forms the basis for exceptional handling, astonishingly low noise and vibration levels, and a high level of crash safety. To achieve this, the engineers opted for a bodyshell with a far higher proportion of aluminium and ultra-high-strength steel components than its predecessor. The front wings, bonnet, boot lid, and large sections of the front and rear ends are made of sheet or cast aluminium. This lightweight design reduces fuel consumption and makes for tangibly sporty and agile vehicle handling.
Against the wind
Aerodynamic performance is one of the main reasons behind the outstanding efficiency of the new E-Class. Here the E-Class raises the benchmark with a record-breaking drag coefficient (cd value) of 0.23. To achieve this, the aerodynamics experts had to optimise numerous details and implement new ideas. By way of example, the AIRPANEL Advanced shutter system, available for most engines in the EXCLUSIVE line and base models, opens the radiator grille by means of adjustable louvres when extra cooling is required and additionally features a second shutter in the air intake beneath the number plate to further improve the system's overall performance. Plus the sophisticated aerodynamics minimise wind noise and ensure that the new E-Class is quieter than even some luxury-class models.
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