The Mercedes Benz E-Class is a car that represents many things to many different people. In Germany and most parts of Europe, it is the taxi cab of choice that ferries millions of people a year. Locally however, the E-Class is regarded as a symbol of wealth and success. Small wonder that Merc is hailing this tenth-gen as the most intelligent business saloon to date.
We’ll get to the intelligent bit in a minute. The E-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s core model and has been at the forefront of redefining standards in the business-class segment. This W213 promises to deliver a wealth of top-notch innovations, though we’re not sure whether the breadth of it will reach our shores.
Physically speaking, the W213 E-Class has grown a fair bit, 43mm to be precise. But interestingly, the wheelbase grew by 65mm, which translates to better legroom space. That being said, this E-class will be given the additional ‘L’ moniker at the end of the badge to reflect just that.
And as it turns out, most of us would echo the same sentiment as those droves of Chinese buyers. We want more legroom and Merc has done just that. Apart from that, Mercedes has opted to contour the looks by giving it a more coupe-like stance with an elongated hood and a sloped rear-end. But herein also lays its biggest flaw. The styling is so blindly undramatic and it looks just like an S-Class that went through the office Xerox machine at 75 percent scale reduction. Bad move, Mercedes.
Thankfully on the inside, it isn’t as badly plagiarised as the exterior. Interestingly the brand has managed to bring their interior sketches to life. Pictures do it no justice. But as they, it speaks a thousand words. The instrument cluster is something to behold, especially the wide-screen instrument cluster that is optionally available with COMAND Online. However, the entry model combines two tube-type round dials and a 7-inch colour display cluster with a 8.4-inch central display screen.
Additionally, the interior gets touch-sensitive control buttons in the spokes of the multifunction steering wheel. Like the surface of a smartphone, the buttons are touch-sensitive and therefore respond precisely to horizontal and vertical finger swipes. This enables the driver to control every function of the infotainment system in the same simple, logical and intuitive manner as with a smartphone without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. Clever, isn’t it?
A further highlight of the new E-Class is its seats, which create an ergonomic, sculpted impression with their torso form, uniting Mercedes-Benz’s typical suitability for long journeys with a refined yet sporty look. The seats are differently designed depending to the trim.
The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder petrol engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine. Further model variants will be added to the range after market launch, including the E 350e hybrid. The PLUG-IN HYBRID impresses with its efficiency, allowing around 30 kilometres of pure electric mileage and emission-free driving. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 286 hp with a combined torque of 550 Nm.
All models available at market launch are equipped with the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard. It enables faster gear changes and allows for low engine revs, which has a particularly beneficial effect on efficiency and noise levels. All the hallmarks of a proper business saloon present. But what about ride comfort? Wafting is a thought that comes immediately to mind.
A conventional steel suspension system is the usual suspect here with three selective damping program settings to choose from. But as an option, Merc will throw in their multi-chamber air suspension system on all four corners. The advantage? Three chambers of different size in the spring struts of the rear axle and two in the spring struts of the front axle make it possible to control, in three stages, how stiffly the suspension reacts. In this way, the occupants enjoy soft base suspension, and a sense of security as the speed increases.
What else comes stuffed in this Merc? Just as Tesla has been paving the way for autonomous driving capabilities in cars of recent, Mercedes has decided to follow suit and has made great strides in that field, some of which are slated to debut in this new E-Class. On some models, Active Brake Assist is fitted as standard equipment. Apart from that, ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist, which can assist the driver by substantially mitigating the effects of strong crosswinds to prevent the vehicle from drifting too far off track.
From the sound of it, this new E-Class sounds like the Bees Knees but there’s a lingering thought at the back of my mind that, we as proud Malaysian buyers will not be as likely to see all this cool toys on our (most likely) CKD cars over here. That being said, we are excited to see the range lineup that will be offered on our shores. So stay tuned for more updates!