Classified as “W212”, Mercedes’ midrange E-Class will make its debut late this year to replace the “W211” generation which date back to 2003. New styling and “green technology” mark the new models, which include the E350 and E550, an all-wheel drive E63 AMG, and the E350 BlueTe4c diesel. The fleet also includes a coupe and convertible, replacing the CLK range. Only the sedan was featured in the Detroit Motor Show.
The new E-Class complies with stricter emission limits imposed by California and other states, thanks to “AdBlue” urea injection to the exhaust stream which converts harmful nitrogen oxides into simple nitrogen and water vapour. All models retain the 7-speed automatic transmission and have the option for Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive along with standard rear-wheel drive. For the AMG version, a high performance Speedshift 7-speed automatic will replace the current 5-speed unit.
With a new fuel-saving powertrain, the W212 series will be using more lightweight materials making the cars upt 100 lb lighter than today’s models; improving performance and handling.
The E-Class will also come with “driver-assistance” features, among them an active-safety Pre-Safe system which automatically repositions front seats and tightens seatbelts when sensors detect an imminent collision, and lane departure warning systems and night vision. There will also be Distronic “smart” cruise control that can read road signs and advise the driver of speed limits, hazards and other road conditions.
Style-wise, body design will include prominently bulged wheel openings and a wedge profile highlighted by bodyside crease lines. The 2010 E-Class will get a longer hood, more rakish windshield, and a wider wheelbase, with an aggressively sporty “wheels at the corners” stance. Mercedes hopes its new E-Class can go head to head with its rivals in a very tight market.