Mid-life revisions to the Mercedes-Benz E-class will be the most comprehensive in the firm’s history, insiders have claimed. The changes are designed to boost showroom appeal against a backdrop of stiffer competition and flagging sales. The extensively restyled and re-engineered range will be revealed at the Detroit motor show in January.
The chief styling change is a return to two headlights from the unloved four, while a new front bumper, grille and bonnet will give the E-class greater presence. The rear door skins, wings and tail lamps are also new. A design source described the theme as “less is more”.
The new E-class retains the basic fascia architecture of the current car, while efforts have been made to improve perceived quality. Higher-grade materials, more supportive seats, new instrument graphics and switchgear, and an improved multimedia system have all been adopted.
New turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engines will be added to the line-up. The M274 units are essentially the same as the transversely mounted M270 units in the A-class range, but are re-engineered for longitudinal mounting and rear-wheel drive.
The engines will include a 156bhp 1.6 for the base E180 and a 2.0 with 181bhp, 208bhp and 248bhp in the E200, E250 and E350. A new twin-turbo 3.0 V6 with 335bhp will feature in the new E400 — 34bhp more than the normally aspirated E350 unit it replaces.
A twin-turbo 4.7 V8 with 429bhp will be used in the E500. The range-topper will again be the E63 AMG, with its twin-turbo 5.5 V8 producing 518bhp in standard tune.
The 2.1-litre turbodiesel will continue with 134bhp, 168bhp and 201bhp in the E200 CDI, E220 CDI and E250 CDI respectively. A 3.0 V6 diesel with 227bhp and 261bhp will power the E300 and E350 CDI.
Hybrid options will be a development of the diesel-electric E300 unit, which could use a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and a not-for-UK petrol-electric E400 hybrid.
Chassis tweaks could include Mercedes’ advanced new Magic Ride adaptive damping, which uses a camera to scan road conditions ahead.
New safety features are likely to include revised Distronic cruise control and Brake Assist, both with anti-collision systems.