Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes-Benz has been slowly leaking information and teasers regarding the new E-Class executive luxury sedan for weeks now. That trickle does wonders to build up interest, but in the end we just want to see what the darn thing looks like. Now, we finally get that glimpse, putting the previously released info into context. Here’s what you need to know.

Covert Photo Op

These images were leaked via German car website, and feature a more slender, sleeker E-Class. The large front grille is flanked by menacing headlights, and a crisp character line runs from behind the headlights to the aft of the car. We just wish it were a bit more...E-Class.

All in the Family

The new styling comes as hardly a surprise. Mercedes, like many other luxury automakers, has been styling all of its cars to look basically like scaled up or scaled down versions of the same car. The exterior of the E-Class looks basically like a stretched out C-Class, with some hints of the larger S-Class. It makes a very strong message to buyers: “You get one look, now which model can you afford?” Despite the homogeneous styling, the detail of the LED light strips are a nice nod to the dual cluster headlights of older E-Class models.

Suave Interior

One benefit of that “familiar design language” approach, is that the E-Class gets an interior that is reminiscent of the breathtaking S-Class flagship sedan. The flowing lines frame an elongated digital instrument panel and navigation screen combination. It will feature the latest iteration of Mercedes’ COMAND system, which includes the rotary dial and touch-sensitive pad in the center console. This system takes some getting used to, but replaces many of the tactile buttons and knobs, resulting in an extremely clean center stack design.

Choice of Engines

Mercedes has not announced engine offerings, but you can expect probably four models. There will likely be a four-cylinder E300, a V6-powered E400, and E350e plug-in hybrid, and possibly a diesel-powered E250d (though Mercedes may not see a diesel models moving from dealer lots in the wake of VW’s diesel woes). There will likely also be some AMG variant, possibly powered by a twin-turbo V6 or V8.

Autonomous Offerings

The 2017 E-Class is going to be available with a feature called Drive Pilot. It is a suite of features that deliver semi-autonomous driving, making the E-Class the most advanced self-driving car in the automaker’s portfolio. The system alerts the driver to take back control of the wheel at timed intervals, and the driver can swipe one of two pads on the steering wheel to let the system continue driving itself. The current Mercedes Intelligent Drive system does this at 10-second intervals, and we suspect Pilot Drive will allow for longer durations before alerts. According to Mercedes-Benz, this system can work on both highways and in cities, where it will brake for pedestrians and stop-and-go traffic.

Everything Else

The official unveiling of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will occur at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Expect far more details on engines options, output, and fuel economy. Perhaps there will be word on price, but it is not uncommon for automakers to release this information months after the formal debut. There’s also a good chance Mercedes announces some superfluous set of options, much like the interior fragrance option from the S-Class. The formal announcement of the E-Class is expected on January 11.

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