Mercedes-Benz's next-generation midsize sedan has officially made its world debut at this year's North American International Auto Show. Described by the company as a big step into the future, the 2017 E-Class is packed with several new technologies including additional safety features, new infotainment controls and better dynamics in driving.
“The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations. The new E-Class takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving. In addition, it enhances efficiency, safety and comfort, reduces the stress level when driving and intensifies driving pleasure,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Board Member of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Beginning with the exterior, the new E-Class follows in the form of the current C-Class. Its overall shape is coupe-eseque-like according to Mercedes-Benz that blends muscular curves and broad character lines.
Depending on the model chosen, each variant will don a unique grill and bumper design. The E400 4MATIC AMG (feature image) has a two-bar grill finish and a front bumper that features an open vent design. For the E-Class 220d Avantgarde, it gets a thinner two-bar grill and a simpler bumper with a mesh grill finish. The E350 E, on the other hand, has a more classic Mercedes-Benz grill along with a hood-mounted emblem and wide front bumper.
Seen from the side, the E-Class's coupe-like profile is immediately seen with its long hood, muscular shoulder lines and short overhangs. The 2017 E-Class also gets new alloy wheel designs that are unique to each variant. More design cues from the C-Class can be seen at the rear, specifically with the taillights, trunk design and exhaust pipes.
Inside, an array of new infotainment technology have been incorporated in E-Class' cabin. A 12.3-inch wide navigation/multi-information display will come as standard on US versions of the sedan. It incorporates the instrument cluster, navigation, infotainment sections and other available menus. Touch-sensitive controls replace traditional buttons on the multi-function steering wheel. It can recognize vertical and horizontal swiping gestures, much like a smartphone.
Other new technologies that debuted in the 2017 E-Class include: center-mounted touchpad controller that can recognize handwriting, voice control system, LED interior lighting and the Warmth and Comfort Package. This new optional extra allows for heated armrests, center console, steering wheel and rapidly-heating front seats.
Over to engine choices, there are currently four available powertrains to choose from. Starting with the inline-fours, the E 200 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that puts out 184 PS and 300 Nm of torque. Next is the E 220 d which also displaces 2.0-liters. It packs 195 PS and a healthy 400 Nm of torque.
Next comes the six-cylinder engines. Powering the E 350 d is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel. Rated as the most powerful diesel for the 2017 E-Class, it produces 258 PS along with 620 Nm of torque. To be available in the future is the E 400 4MATIC that is fitted with six-cylinder gasoline engine which delivers 333 PS and 480 Nm of torque. There will also be a hybrid variant in the guise of the E 350 e in the future. Driven by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor, the car has a combined output of 279 PS and 600 Nm of torque.
All engines will come with the ECO start/stop button and will be mated to Mercedes-Benz's 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Driver assistance systems like Active Brake Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist will be available to the 2017 E-Class. There will also be a new range of features including: Remote Parking Pilot which allows for autonomous parking, Car-to-X communication which will enable the car to gather information from the road and other automobiles and Pre-Safe Impulse that immediately deploys an air chamber on the side, increasing the distance between the occupants and the point of impact.
Perhaps the most striking point of the new E-Class is that it will be available with autonomous driving technology. When fitted with 'Drive Pilot', the E-Class can drive itself along highways and country roads of up to speeds of 210 km/h. The camera- and radar-based system can also assist drivers during overtaking and lane-changing should the driver opt to to manipulate the car by themselves.
Mercedes-Benz stated that the new E-Class will be available to the US market in the summer of 2016.