A Mercedes E-class has featured in most petrolheads’ lives at some point (mine was a wonderful W124 estate, best family car we ever had) so a new one is always a bit of an occasion.
Mercedes say the 2016 version is the 10th generation of the model (though of course it is only comparatively recently they have been badged E-class), and it’s going to be sold to us under the catchline, a ‘Masterpiece of intelligence’.
Bit of a clever clogs then? For sure. Expect everything from a taste of autonomous driving with a new self-park feature to clever LED lights, giant displays on the dash and efficient new four-cylinder engines, along with a likely plug-in hybrid version later. Expect too lots of carryovers from the S-class for very grown-up luxury appeal, along with what Merc design boss Gorden Wagener has said will be plenty of ‘glamour factor’.
The covers come off the new E-Class at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday January 11th but we have plenty here now to get you in the mood, including pictures showing a very inviting interior and teaser videos from Mercedes highlighting various aspects of the new car.
Such as the headlights. No new car is complete without clever lights and its own ‘light signature’, these cays as much a brand identifier as the grille. The new E-class gets (as an option) Multibeam LED lights for a distinctive ‘double eyebrow’ look. See more about it in the video above.
Each Multibeam headlight incorporates 84 high-power LEDs which are individually controlled, says Mercedes, so the beam can be tailored to avoid dazzling other road users, which sounds similar to Audi’s matrix lighting system. The new car promises to be just as distinctive at the rear where (again, optionally available) LED lights resemble what Mercedes describes as ‘stardust’.
There’s more cleverness with a tilt at autonomous driving in the form of a remote self-parking feature, controlled from your mobile phone. The perfect answer for squeezing this biggish car into impossibly tight parking spots? Could be. The video here shows it well:
A big part of any E’s appeal is its spacious and elegant interior and the new one seems to have that nailed. There are lots of cues from the S-class, including a dashboard with a configurable screen. In fact there are two digital displays here, each 12.3 inches across, to totally dominate the dash and give a very ‘wide screen’ look indeed.
Another bit of cleverness inside is touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, which respond to finger swipes a la smart phone. Mercedes says the system allows the entire infotainment system to be controlled without the driver having to take hands off the steering wheel.
The new E has been four years in the making, says the firm, and for a car of such global significance that means lots of testing; Mercedes has given us a glimpse of what that has involved in this video.
All that remains then is to see the car in the metal rather than in its disguise! Stay tuned to Goodwood Road & Racing for the new E-class launch and all the other new models to be unveiled in Detroit.
Images and video courtesy of Mercedes-Benz