Images surface on the internet ahead of official launch
10 December 2008

These are the first official images of the new Mercedes E-class, released accidentally on Mercedes’ official German website this morning. The pictures come more than a month before the luxury saloon is due to be unveiled to the world.

Known internally under the codename W212, the new Mercedes E-class is due to go on sale in the UK in May. We’ll see it for the first time in the metal at the Geneva motor show in March.

The new E-class, a direct rival for the BMW 5-series and Audi A6, has been designed to reduce Merc’s manufacturing costs by 25 per cent compared to its predecessor. Despite this, E-class list prices are expected to remain similar to the current model when it’s launched in the spring.

>>See more pictures of the new Mercedes E-class

Next year’s E-class is bigger than the outgoing model. At 4950mm long it is 70mm longer, a move aimed at boosting safety as well as improving rear seat accommodation and load capacity.

There are no official figures yet, but Autocar sources say boot capacity for the saloon is 550 litres – up by 10 litres on today’s model.

Cosmetically, the new E-class draws heavily on the Mercedes Fascination concept we saw at the LA motor show. It gets the taut body surfacing treatment familiar from recent Mercedes models, along with new distinctive headlamps that ditch the rounded theme from previous generations for an edgier form with four elements. Top-end models will be marked out with LED daytime running lights.

Expect more fuel-efficient engines to power this generation E-class. There will be a revised line-up of four-cylinder petrol and all-new common-rail diesel engines.

The entry level engine will be a 163bhp 1.8-litre petrol (the E200 Kompressor). There will be a range of 2.5-litre, 3.0-litre and 3.5-litre V6s, along with a naturally aspirated and twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel.

Top-end models will include the E450 and E500, which will be powered by Benz’s 340bhp 4.6-litre V8 and 388bhp 5.5-litre V8 respectively. These engines are seen as stop-gaps before upgraded versions with direct injection and twin turbochargers are launched in 2011.

Also planned, though not likely to go on sale in the UK until late 2010, is a new E300 Hybrid model. Previewed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, it mates Mercedes’ new 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel with an electric motor to provide 224bhp and a combined cycle average of 55.4mpg with a CO2 rating of just 135g/km.

The E-class will be offered with either rear-wheel drive or Mercedes’ 4-Matic four-wheel-drive system. The saloon, shown here without disguise for the very first time, will be followed around six months later by an estate, which will hit UK showrooms in October 2009. In a bid to re-establish it as a leader in technology in its class, next year’s E-class will get all the high-end features available on the larger S-class, plus some new safety features.

Among an extensive list of options will be a second-generation version of the German maker’s night vision system, together with a new fatigue detection device called Attention Assist.

There will also be lane departure warning and the latest NTG4 navigation system in combination with an all-new entertainment system from Mercedes’ long-time partner Harman Becker.

Greg Kable

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

The E-Class is a refined and relaxing return to old Mercedes qualities

Join the debate

Comments
19

10 December 2008

Rear lights look a bit rubbish. Mercs have been improving a lot recently, but I suspect this will fall into the elegantly dull category.

10 December 2008

First impression - looks very good to me. This has potential of being a handsome car in the metal.

10 December 2008

I thought things couldn't get much worse after the disaster that is the CLC, but this is amazingly ugly. Even the new aero spec F1 cars look better.

10 December 2008

[quote Autocar]Also planned, though not likely to go on sale in the UK until late 2010, is a new E300 Hybrid model. Previewed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, it mates Mercedes’ new 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel with an electric motor to provide 224bhp and a combined cycle average of 55.4mpg with a CO2 rating of just 135g/km.[/quote]

There must be little doubt that they hybrid model will be the most desirable in the range. Not sure what effect it will have on sales of other models when it is due for release in 2010 - in the current market, I dare say that people will wait.

10 December 2008

Again another car that has grown! This thing is nearly five meters long! That's nudging S class territory!

Have they reduced weight on this model to aid the environmental impact? I doubt it.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

10 December 2008

You could have interpolated this car using images of the C-class and S-class. It is far too fussy and almost Maybach-esque. Horrible.

The simple elegance of the W124 and W210 e-class is long gone.

10 December 2008

It looks nice on the whole. The rear light cluster is not it's best point. M-B normally have really nice ones, like on the CL.

As for it getting longer, rarely do new models come out smaller. Although, in the 90s I was convinced a Mk7 Golf would be S-Class sized, but I guess that won't happen, haha.

-------- 

I'm The Ωmega Man, always talking to myself

10 December 2008

It must be so disheartening to release pics of a new car only to have everyone (majority at least) say its ugly..that said 'it is' and I just don't know how these manufacturers produce such consistently dull looking cars over and over. Is there no design talent left or perhaps its down to economics ?

10 December 2008

Looks pure Mercedes. Can't blame them for playing it safe. In terms of design the W124 and W201 were strange, tasteful exceptions for Mercedes. The proportions of this and the current S are closer to the Norm.

Bring back steel wheels.

10 December 2008

[quote W124]W124 and W201 were strange, tasteful exceptions for Mercedes[/quote]

Are you sure these two models are the only 'tasteful' Merc designs? What about W220, W215, C216, W204, W219, to name just a few modern cars?

But I agree with the critics of the new E-class to some extent; its design is a bit heavy-handed and overdone (especially rear haunches), but it's not an exception in the broader context of contemporary car design.


Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK