Still over two years away, our spies have garnered details on the next all-new Mercedes E?class, code-named W212 and due at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Still over two years away, our spies have garnered details on the next all-new Mercedes E?class, code-named W212 and due at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Mercedes will abandon SBC in favour of conventional brakes, although they will boast features such as wet-weather disc wiping and wheel-selective cornering brake control. Optional ceramic-composite discs could be introduced top-down, starting with the AMG models. The next E-Class will borrow the S-Class's wheel-arch extensions, rising character line below the door handles, massive bumpers, and greenhouse. A more sculpted wide-frame grille, more geometric nasal air intakes and the wedge-shaped profile should give W212 a sportier stance. Actually, early styling models show a certain affinity for the most recent efforts from Lexus - such as the rectangular quad headlamps, the C-pillar treatment, and the tailights. This is, of course, ironic given that the Lexus LS is famous for copying Mercedes, but Stuttgart still has plenty of time to hone the shape. Driver assistance in general is a major theme for W212. Expect lane-departure warnings, an eye-movement monitor, traffic-sign identification, road-condition sensors, and stability control that accounts for crosswinds, camber changes, and tire wear. We'll get the usual V6- and V8-engines, plus a normally aspirated, 500-plus-bhp 6.3-liter V8 for the E63 AMG model.

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