Dec 9, 2008

New Mercedes-Benz E-Class leaked

Pictures of Mercedes’ BMW 5-Series rival have been revealed on the internet ahead of their 2009 release. JEZ SPINKS reports.

Official brochure shots of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class have leaked on the internet ahead of the mid-size luxury car’s 2009 debut.

The images confirm Mercedes is maintaining its Russian doll approach to its luxury cars, with the new E-Class sedan adopting edgier styling that follows design cues of the bigger S-Class and smaller C-Class.

A Mercedes-Benz insider says there will be only some minor design differences between the E-Class shot for official brochures and the model that will go on sale in Australia in June 2009.

The new E-Class sedan – codenamed W212 internally – adopts a sharper look than its predecessor. It swaps the outgoing model’s distinctive quad circular headlights for two-piece rectangular units, while the flanks look deeper and feature two rising character lines.

Mercedes designers have added extra visual muscle to the wheel-arches that surround the driven (rear) wheels.

At the rear, the edgy design theme is maintained with rectangular-shaped tail-lights and (on the E500 pictured) dual exhaust pipes.

The new E-Class will be offered with two different front ends, just like the current C-Class. Elegance models are expected to feature a raised three-pointed-star badge on the bonnet in Mercedes sedan tradition, while Avantgarde versions will incorporate the Benz badge within the grille.

Mercedes’ new mid-sizer – which will make its public debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show next March following a media reveal prior to January’s Detroit show – will offer more interior space thanks to increases in all key dimensions.

The German car maker has already declared that the new E-Class will be the safest car in its class, with about a dozen new or improved driver assistance systems.

A new feature is a fatigue monitoring system called Attention Assist, which alerts the driver audibly and visually if it detects a change in established driving behaviour. infra-red night vision and lane-departure warning systems are also be included as standard or options depending on the model.

The new E-Class will again be offered with a range of V6 and V8 engines running on either petrol or diesel and mated to a seven-speed automatic.

At least half of the engines will feature direct fuel injection technology, and Mercedes says “intelligent energy management and a raft of other measures will make the new E-Class consume far less fuel than its predecessor”.

The range will once again include an E63 AMG model, with a 6.2-litre V8 expected to deliver 386kW. A Black Series E-Class with even more power is also rumoured, though Mercedes’ high-performance badge may be applied to the new coupe version rather than the sedan.

Mercedes’ most environmentally friendly E-Class will be a new diesel hybrid model due in 2010. Fitted with a 560Nm 2.2-litre Bluetec turbo diesel engine, the E-Class hybrid is set to use just 5.1 litres per 100km and emit only 134 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre.

A new E-Class coupe – based on the Concept Fascination from the 2008 Paris motor show – will join the new sedan locally in June, replacing the CLK.

Convertible and wagon variants of the new E-Class will be unveiled later in 2009.