Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class range has long been the automaker’s bread-and-butter lineup. A direct descendent of the rattly, yet long-lasting diesel sedans of the ’70s and early ’80s, the E-Class has seen considerable evolution over the years, leading to the highly refined vehicles of today.
The executive sedan received a complete redesign for the 2010 model year onward, representing a significant step up from its predecessor. In addition to an all-new interior and exterior, the E-Class packs a number of new or improved high-tech features, as is typical of Mercedes-Benz. Despite offering more in virtually every department, the new model will lists for $4,600 less than the prior version.
The sedan’s all-new body doesn’t just look different, it also yields a number of functional improvements. Aerodynamics were a big focus of the redesign, and Mercedes was able to achieve a drag coefficient of only 0.25, making the car the most aerodynamic luxury sedan, the company claims. Moreover, the new body is 30 percent stiffer, resulting in more precise handling.
Engine performance and fuel economy has been improved, starting from the base model up. As before, the E350 offers 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the V8 E500 cranks out 382 hp at 6000 rpm and 391 lb-ft between 2800 and 4800 rpm. Both models will be offered with all-wheel-drive. Customers can also chose between the the six-cylinder E 350 CDI with an output of 241 horsepower and an even more efficient E350 BlueTEC, developing 211 horsepower and meeting EU6 exhaust emission standards planned for 2014. All the other engine variants in the new E-Class meet the EU5 limits.
High-tech features include: Attention Assist, which detects driver drowsiness based on 70 parameters; Adaptive Main Beam Assist, which adjusts the angle of the headlight for the best possible illumination without blinding other motorists; LED daytime driving lights, which use less power and enhance aesthetics; Blind Spot Assist familiar from the S-Class; and Lane Keeping Assist, which uses vibrations in the steering wheel to inform the driver if they’re veering out of their lane.
An optional Speed Limit Assist , which recognizes speed limit signs as the car passes them, then displays the relevant speed limit in the speedometer.
As with other Mercedes models, Brake Assist Plus automatically calculates the braking pressure to prevent a collision in critical situations. When the brake pedal is depressed, the system immediately activates the calculated level of braking assistance.
If the driver fails to respond to the warnings, the radar system first initiates partial braking, and if a collision is unavoidable, emergency braking is initiated.