by Bennett Oghifo
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon and Estate have undergone a comprehensive update as the first representatives of this model series.
Automotive intelligence is now getting exciting and dynamic, according to the automaker, who said both models will arrive in the showrooms of European dealers in summer 2020. The long-wheelbase version of the Saloon (China), as well as the Coupé and Cabriolet, will follow soon thereafter.
With over 14 million Saloon and Estate models delivered since 1946, the E-Class is the best-selling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz. It is perceived by many as the “heart of the brand”. The tenth generation of the E-Class set styling trends in 2016 with its clean yet emotionally appealing design and an exclusive, high-quality interior. The wealth of innovations such as in the area of the driving assistance systems also was characteristic. This emotionally appealing and at the same time intelligent combination is extremely successful: to date, more than 1.2 million customers around the world have bought a current-generation E-Class Saloon or E-Class Estate.
Here the key facts about the refresh:
More dynamic design
Avantgarde Line as the new basic specification for the exterior Redesigned front headlamps (full-LED headlamps as standard, optionally available MULTIBEAM LED headlamps) Redesigned tail lamps Redesigned radiator grille and front bumper
All-Terrain variant visually more similar to the SUV models
Next-generation driving assistance systems, including:
New steering wheel generation with capacitive hands-off detection
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adjustment
Active Stop-and-Go Assist
Active Steering Assist
Active Brake Assist; in the Driving Assistance Package now also with turning manoeuvre function
Active Blind Spot Assist – now also with exit warning
Parking Package in conjunction with 360° camera: newly expanded side view and for the first time automatic parking not only in parallel and end-on parking spaces, but also on marked areas.
Even more comfort in the interior
Two digital screens as standard (2 x 10.25-inch, bonded), optional Widescreen cockpit
with two 12.3-inch displays)
MBUX with LINGUATRONIC voice control (standard) and augmented reality
ENERGIZING comfort control with ENERGIZING COACH and PowerNap (in plug-in hybrids)
ENERGIZING seat kinetics
E as in efficiency: electrification of the powertrain
Seven plug-in hybrids as Saloon and Estate models, petrol and diesel, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive
Electrified models for the first time also for the US market New M 254 engine: two-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with ISG (Integrated Starter-Generator) and 48-volt on-board electrical system, rated output: 200 + 15 kW, innovative segment turbocharger with flow connection, electric additional compressor (eVZ), NANOSLIDE® coated cylinder barrels, CONICSHAPE® cylinder bore, CAMTRONIC for controlling the intake valves.
Additional engine variants and off-road drive modes for the All-Terrain
New comprehensive category of products and options
Intelligent interlinking of hardware and digital solutions for protection against theft and damage
More dynamic design
The enhanced dynamics and the upgrade of the E-Class are reflected in the model range: Now the entry-level model already comes with the sporty Avantgarde Line exterior. As a result, the base model of the E‑Class features a central star at the front for the first time. The new front end with increased chrome content plays a role in the fresh appearance: The grille of the Avantgarde Line was redesigned with two chrome louvres and vertical high-gloss black struts. Chrome and high-gloss black trim elements in the front bumper underscore the sporty and elegant appearance. The likewise available Exclusive Line lives up to its name: The special grille, the upright star on the bonnet and the large chrome elements in the front bumper emphasise this positioning.
The AMG Line with a new bumper in the style of the AMG Performance models looks even sportier. In addition, Avantgarde, AMG Line and All-Terrain feature a bonnet with power domes. The E-Class features all-LED headlamps as standard. MULTIBEAM LED headlamps including ULTRA RANGE high beam are available as an option.
The designers also updated the Saloon’s rear end with a new bumper, split tail lamps and a new boot lid. The inner design of the tail lamps was revised for all models.
The All-Terrain is visually more similar to the SUV models. In addition, signature All-Terrain components such as the radiator grille or the stylised skid plate now sport a mirror chrome finish rather than the previous silver shadow hue.
The three new paint colours available for the E-Class as part of the model refresh go by the names high-tech silver, graphite grey metallic and mojave silver. The wheel line-up has also been expanded and now includes aero wheels, which also contribute to saving fuel and thus to sustainability.
New appointment colours and materials upgrade the interior. These include the new colour combinations magma grey/neva grey (Avantgarde), black/nut brown (Exclusive) and magma grey/macchiato beige (Exclusive), and trim in open-pore silver ash wood, burr walnut fondant, brushed aluminium and aluminium with a carbon grain.
The seats combine the hallmark Mercedes-Benz long-distance suitability with avant-garde design. The adaptive driver’s seat adjustment is particularly convenient: When the height of the body is entered on the media display or via Mercedes me, the seat automatically moves into a usually fitting position, which only needs to be fine-tuned by the driver.
The design of the front seats accentuates the sporty aura of the interior. They offer strong lateral support without compromising on comfort. The seat contour follows the pronounced side bolsters and, depending on the specification, the centre section has sporty transverse or modern longitudinal seams. The colours of the centre sections of the seat backrest and cushion are matched to the overall sculpture of the seats. Numerous material combinations ranging from fabric to ARTICO man-made leather to embossed leather to nappa leather with diamond quilting are possible.
Next-generation driving assistance systems: better assistance in tailbacks and when parking
The new E-Class has the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems providing cooperative support to drivers. This results in an especially high level of active safety: Saloon and Estate are able to react if the driver doesn’t. The hands-off recognition now works on a capacitive basis. This enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode. Because to inform the assistance systems that the driver still has control of the E-Class, it is sufficient for the driver to hold the steering wheell. A steering moment – that is to say a slight steering movement – was previously required as feedback. The new steering wheel (see next chapter for details) features a pad with the appropriate sensors in the rim. These register whether the driver is holding the wheel. If the system detects that the driver does not have their hands on the steering wheel for a certain time, a warning cascade is started, which finally activates Emergency Brake Assist if the driver continues to be inactive.
As standard, the E-Class comes with Active Brake Assist, which in many situations is able to use autonomous braking to prevent a collision or mitigate its severity. The system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians at typical city speeds and even to prevent collisions, depending on the situation. As part of the Driving Assistance Package, this is now also possible when turning off across the oncoming lane.
Some Intelligent Drive functions can optionally be added to the Driving Assistance Package. They include Active Speed Limit Assist, which uses map data and information from Traffic Sign Assist to respond to changes in the speed limit. Route-based speed adjustment ahead of bends, roundabouts, toll stations, T-junctions as well prior to turning off/exiting motorways/expressways is also included in the scope of delivery. When the driver switches on Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adjustment, the E-Class is now even able to respond to data from LiveTraffic Information. Ideally, this happens even before the driver or the radar and camera sensors are able to detect a traffic obstruction. When a tailback is detected, the speed is reduced to approx. 100 km/h as a precaution unless the driver deliberately decides otherwise.
When driving in a tailback on the motorway, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is largely able to perform the tasks of keeping in lane and maintaining the safety distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 60 km/h. The vehicle can restart automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop. On multi-lane roads, Active Steering Assist is able to support the driver with the emergency corridor function, which causes the vehicle to stay off-centre in the lane. On motorways, at speeds under 60 km/h, the vehicle refers to detected lane markings and applies swarm intelligence to take its bearings from vehicles in the surrounding area. If none are detected, the E-Class takes its bearings from the vehicle ahead as before.
Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning offers enhanced protection when getting out of the car. It is able to respond to vehicles in the blind spot as well as in the critical area with an active brake intervention. When the vehicle is stopped, the system can now also warn the passengers visually in the exterior mirror before they get out if a vehicle, even a bicycle, is driving past in the critical area. If the driver tries to use the door handle at this moment, an additional audible warning will sound and the ambient door lighting will start to flash red. It detects passing road users moving at a speed of more than 7 km/h. The function is also available when the vehicle is stationary and up to three minutes after the ignition has been switched off.
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC and 360° camera makes it possible to enter and leave parking spaces automatically. The system facilitates the search for and selection of a parking space as well as entering and leaving (if the vehicle was parked automatically) parallel and end-on parking spaces or garages. For the first time, the new E-Class is able to recognise and use parking spaces which are only marked as areas on larger sites, for example. The 360° camera transmits an even more realistic image to the media display, which includes an expanded side view. When leaving a parking space, the system is able to warn of traffic crossing behind the vehicle and can apply the brakes in case of doubt.