Yep, this must qualify as the worst ever secret of a German automaker – it was even more open-sourced then the now infamous dieselgate scandal of Volkswagen. So, Mercedes decided to introduce us to the new 2016 E Class just prior to its worldwide public debut during the 2016 NAIAS in Detroit.
The North American International Auto Show is opening its gates later on today for the press specialists but during the night the spree of debuts also included Mercedes which has decided it was high time it officially delivered the all new generation (W213) E Class. While it has almost nothing to do with the previous iteration (save for a side profile posture that makes the transition) we are treated to an instantly recognizable exterior styling that slates as a mashup between the current C and S Class lines. From the get go this might be a good thing but we’re not really happy about Mercedes bringing a level of uniformity that has been the panache of its Ingolstadt-based rivals from Audi for years (and has been universally panned by fans and critics). Anyways, the E Class has two different grilles. On one side we have the entry-level version and the Exclusive line that sport the classic grille with a star emblem on the hood, and on the other we have the Avantgarde and AMG Line that will make use of a more dynamic two-bar grille with a massive Mercedes emblem inside. Optional goodies include the much hyped Multibeam LED headlights and the “stardust effect” taillights that according to the company recall of the “Milky Way [galaxy] or the glow of a jet engine.”
The cabin features more upscale materials and a design that closely resembles the S Class – but we already know all about it since the company showed us the interior a while back. Of note are the new steering wheel with touch-sensitive control buttons that can understand horizontal and vertical swiping movements or the instrument cluster / dashboard digital panorama making use of two large 12.3-inch screens.
For Europe, the E Class will come equipped with the E 200 engine sporting a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline mill making out 184 horsepower and 300 Newton meters of torque or the E 220 d with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine churning out 195 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Later options include the E 350 d – six-cylinder diesel engine rated 258 hp and 620 Nm of torque; the E 400 4MATIC with six cylinder gasoline sporting 333 hp and 480 Nm of torque; a four-cylinder diesel with 150 hp and more petrol options between 183 hp and 245 hp in four-cylinder guise. The upcoming E 350 e plug-in hybrid will combine a four-cylinder gasoline, an electric motor and a battery for a combined power of 279 hp and 600 Nm of torque, with an all-electric range of about 30 km (18.6 miles).
The US-spec E Class will have under the hood a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine boasting 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque mated only to the new nine-speed automatic transmission. As has been traditional, the E Class will bring to the table lots of safety and assistance systems – including the semi-autonomous driving system nicknamed Drive Pilot that enables autonomous operation on highways at up to 130 mph (210 km/h). There’s also the Remote Parking Pilot system that allows for remote parking operations via a smartphone app.