The new-generation model, codenamed W213, adopts Mercedes’ modular MRA platform, as used by the latest C-Class and S-Class models. Insiders confirm it will once again grow in size, to about 4950mm long and 1940mm wide. The estate variant, offering a similar 695-litre luggage capacity to its predecessor, is due to go on sale towards the end of 2016. The increased use of high-strength steel and aluminium is claimed to make both versions up to 100kg lighter than today’s.
New generation of engines
The E-Class will have a new generation of four-cylinder diesel engines, codenamed OM654, alongside existing four-cylinder petrol units. The new 2.0-litre diesel is expected to be offered in two states of tune.
Mercedes will extend the line-up during 2016 with a new generation of 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesels. New six-pot petrol engines are also planned.
The new six-cylinder petrol engine (codenamed M256) and diesel engine (codenamed OM656) are undergoing pilot production at the company’s factory in Unterturkheim, near Stuttgart in Germany.
They share elements of their architecture with Mercedes' existing four-cylinder petrol engine, the M274, including their 90mm bore centre spacing and 500cc individual cylinder volume.
All three units form part of a new modular engine family that, sources say, also include a three-cylinder petrol engine and a new generation four-cylinder diesel (codenamed OM654).
The three-cylinder petrol is scheduled to be offered in future generations of the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, GLA and possibly other front-wheel drive models in combination with an electric motor.
The new four-cylinder diesel, which replaces the OM651 unit in use today, gains the latest in piezo-guided direct injection. It is planned to be used across the Mercedes line-up in models ranging from the A-Class to the S-Class. Both engines are considered crucial to the German car maker’s efforts to meet the 95g/km fleet average CO2 emissions regulation due to come into force in 2020.
An E350e plug-in hybrid, with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and an electric motor, will join the range within a year of launch. It’s said to have an electric-only range of 20 miles.