The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class made its global debut at the Detroit motor show last month, and is already on sale in the UK with prices starting from £35,935.
Ahead of the first cars being delivered this summer, we spoke to overall vehicle designer, Drummond Jacoy, to see what the new model means for Mercedes-Benz in Europe.
Q&A with Drummond Jacoy, responsible for overall vehicle design, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
How much of a leap forward is the new E-Class?
It’s a quantum leap for us, and there are a few dimensions to that. Firstly, the proportions of the vehicle are astonishing for us, and the efficiency of it, too. The other big step is its intelligence - the kit we’ve got in there, from the human-machine interface to the driver assistance systems. Having all of that in one vehicle is the big step.
What about the design?
We want you to recognise the E-Class as belonging to our family of Mercedes-Benz models. We’ve stretched the wheelbase, shortened the overhangs and given it an enormous coupé-like silhouette, and in doing that we’ve also kept the space inside.
Mercedes-Benz design boss Gordon Wagener has said this latest E-Class is like leaping forward two generations - is that still accurate?
When we were on the signing off drive in November, we were driving the car in convoy, and we were with Gordon Wagener. This was the first time any of us had seen the car on the road. He was so stunned by the dimensions of it, he was taking pictures and calling the designers about it. He was over the moon. That’s the feeling that we have about this new E-Class.
What size of E-Class family can we expect?
We’re not going to change our product strategy completely - the Estate will follow towards the end of this year, and we have a few other things planned too.
What part does hybrid play in the product range?
It’s definitely important, and it’s the way things are going. For us in this area, you have to have something like the E350e with the electrical driving range. People will use this as a business car, and for that, we need to project this image of being aware of the ecological issues.
Is there a danger of ‘Russian doll’ design among German car makers?
We discussed that internally a lot at board level. We decided to go down this route because we want people to recognise our family. We think that within that family each car has its own individual aspects. We think there is a lot of differentiation in there.