• Heavily updated executive saloon on its way
• New safety tech debuts in the E-Class
• EU6-compliant engines

The updated Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been unveiled. Much more than a mid-life facelift, the refreshed model debuts some of the technology which will be found in next year’s S-Class luxury saloon. Mercedes’s new car will also feature new engines and updated styling.

Its revised styling includes incorporating the headlamps into one cluster, complete with LED daytime running lights, while the front bumper and grille have been redesigned as well. Mercedes says that this redesign “discreetly underscores the sporty credentials of the E-Class”. The rear of the car gets a similar treatment to the front, with the rear light clusters being redesigned as well as the bumper and boot-lid. These rear lights are now LEDs and the clear insert in the middle of them has been removed, they are now a single block of lights.

Inside, the headline changes are a two-part trim, a trapezoidal infotainment display and a three-tube instrument cluster. The two-part trim can be had with either wood or aluminium look and stretches across the width of the fascia. Its instrument cluster contains three regular dials. It also now has re-designed air vents, with an analogue clock situated between them.

Mercedes has decided to introduce some of the technology which will feature on next year’s S-Class limo in the new E-Class. These include Distronic Plus with Steering Assist. Also, the Brake Assist system BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist can be ordered. Active Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, Pre-Safe Brake and Pre-Safe Plus are also available. Alongside these, Pre-Safe Impulse and Attention Assist, can be specified.

Under the bonnet, the E-Class benefits from a range of BlueDIRECT four, six and eight-cylinder petrol engines, of which the four-pots already meet the EU6 emissions regulations, which are set to come into force in 2015. The outstanding figures, however, come from the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid (which is not EU6 compliant) and will deliver 69mpg and 107g/km of CO2 yet still manage to get to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. All cars will be available with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Chassis-wise, the new E-class gets updated suspension with sporty, lowered suspension available as well as the cosseting Airmatic air-suspension system (which is standard on the estate). All E-classes will now also feature electro-mechanical power steering which varies the amount of assistance  and also the steering ratio.

The Estate and saloon variants will be on sale from February/March next year, with the coupe following later in the Spring. pricing will remain broadly similar to the incumbent models.

By James Richardson

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