Mercedes will score a world first by offering a hybrid estate car when it launches the new E-class wagon in 2010.
Recently spotted testing near Stuttgart, the next generation, W212 E-class is underpinned by an all-new large car platform and will offer hybrid-electric powertrains, along with ultra-clean Bluetec diesel engines.
Mercedes’ two-mode hybrid system works in a similar way to the Toyota Prius’, but teams an 18bhp electric motor with an ultra-clean 2.2-litre Bluetec diesel engine.
The new estate will be significantly bigger than the current model - which is already the largest premium wagon on the market – with a longer wheelbase and more luggage space. Other engines are likely to be familiar from the current range, so four petrol units ranging from the 1.8-litre four cylinder petrol to the 5.5-litre V8 are expected, along with three diesels engine including the 2.2- and 3.0-litre CDIs.
In saloon form the new E-class is expected to go into production late in 2009, but spotting this wagon mule car out testing suggests the estate version will follow very soon afterwards.
Both will benefit from the latest Mercedes technology lifted from the range-crowning S-class, which includes an infrared night vision system and radar-operated cruise control.
In the nearer future the A-class – one of Mercedes’ biggest selling cars in Britain – will get a mid-life facelift comprising of equipment upgrades and styling tweaks at the front end.
After the Leipzig motor show in April 2008, the premium supermini will be available with an enhanced interior and all new telemetric system, with improved satellite navigation and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Engine and drivetrain options are expected to remain unchanged.