If you can’t make the financial effort to step up to the S-Class flagship, the next best things with the three-pointed star are the E-Class and its more stylish counterpart, the new CLS. But if you’re living in China, there’s a third option as Mercedes is selling an E-Class L. The previous generation of the stretched E was actually the first China-made Merc, some 12 years ago. This is the latest variant introduced at the Beijing Motor Show back in April 2016. Once again, it caters only the People’s Republic.
Seeing it sitting pretty on a trailer in Germany comes somewhat as a surprise considering it seems unlikely the E-Class L will be sold on the old continent. How do we know it’s the elongated model? Just look at the size of the rear doors and also at the fixed glass section, positioned aft the rear doors. The distance between the two axles measures a generous 121.2 inches (3079 millimeters), which represents an increase of 5.5 inches (140 mm) compared to the standard E. Needless to say, the extra length has also made the car 140-mm longer and it now spans at 199.3 inches (5063 mm). As a result of the increased footprint, rear passengers get to enjoy an additional 5.3 inches (134 mm) of legroom.
Built by Beijing Benz Automotive Co., a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor, the bigger E carries over the exterior design of the regular model, much like it’s the case with the C-Class and C-Class L built at the same factory where the GLA and GLC crossovers also come to life. Fun fact: the factory in Beijing is Mercedes’ biggest passenger car plant in the entire world, based on land size.
It’s not all alone in China as the E-Class L has to face not only the BMW 5 Series L and Audi A6 L, but also the Jaguar XFL.