Mid-level executives everywhere rejoice, this is the new Mercedes E-Class, and it looks almost exactly the same as your boss’ more expensive (and probably out of reach) S-Class. Mercedes describes the new car as being a product of ‘emotional design’ rather than being a product of cut and paste laziness. But in all fairness the new car (which we’ve already seen thanks to last week’s leak) with its low roof line and broad shoulders is a very sharp looking vehicle; much more so than the angular but fairly bland outgoing model.
Exterior design aside, the new E-Class is a very high-tech machine. One of the most interesting features is the new Drive Pilot system which walks the line between traditional cruise control and a fully autonomous mode. Very impressively, the system allows the car to control its own braking, steering and acceleration at speeds of up to 130mph – essential for the daily autobahn commute. A new car-to-car communication system also warns the driver of potential hazards up ahead, minimising the risk of a serious accident.
Not to be outdone by its American rivals Tesla, the new E-Class can also autonomously change lanes using its advanced radar, GPS and camera setup. These systems also allow the car to adhere to speed limits, detect crossing traffic at junctions and avoid pedestrians. The car will also be able to park itself via the owner’s smartphone app (much like the new BMW 7-Series).
Ultimately, if you manage to crash this car you should get some kind of Darwin award.
Each model will receive Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard and owners will have the choice of advanced multi-chamber air suspension (the only car in the segment to offer this option) or traditional steel springs. The Air Body Control is fully active and can automatically adapt the damping based on the driving situation and road conditions.
The new interior is another step forward for the E-Class and looks incredibly premium. Two vast 12.3-inch touch screens dominate the dashboard and touch-sensitive control buttons on the steering wheel are intended to allow the driver much greater control over the infotainment system. The idea is that the driver can swipe and scroll through menus (much like an iPhone) without having to take their hands off the wheel – the first time this technologically has featured on a car.
With all these new developments the E-Class looks set to re-claim its crown as the most advanced car in its class. Prices haven’t been revealed yet, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long with the car making its public debut at the Detroit motor show this week.