Must confess that I like the look of the new Mercedes-Benz E-class, wheeled out for the first time at the Detroit motor show this week.

It doesn’t jump out at you the way the svelte Jaguar XF does, but the taut-looking exterior and new detailing does have something else going for it – the visual solidity that used to typify all Mercedes-Benz models a couple of decades ago. see the new Merc E-class live from Detroit 

Granted, this factor alone won’t be enough to see the new E-class claw its way back to the top of the executive ladder, ahead of such accomplished rivals as the Jaguar XF, BMW 5-series and Audi A6. But you can bet on it being a good deal more competitive than the car it replaces.

And for the sake of potential customers in the UK (as well as Australia, Japan and all the other right-hand drive countries) I do hope Mercedes manages to cure the awful pedal placement of the outgoing E-class.

I’ve just spent a couple of weeks driving a right-hand-drive E280 CDI saloon around Sydney during a visit back home to see the relatives. The reaction when I first stepped in it was one of utter surprise. The offset of the brake and throttle pedals is dire and, coming from a company that prides itself on engineering, downright embarrassing.