By Marc Lachapelle
A new family of E-Class sedans and wagons is coming to Canada next fall. The cars were given a special introduction on the evening before the first press day but were not displayed on the show floor. The perfectly-recognizable front fascia now has pairs of pointy parallelograms for headlights instead of twin ovals.
A slightly creased line that flows almost the length of the car, front to rear, is said to evoke the famous 1953 Ponton Mercedes. It does give character to the car’s profile. The trapezoidal rear lamps look a bit derivative, on the other hand.
The new E-Class boasts the world’s best drag coefficient (Cd) at only 0.25, for a gain of 0.25 litres per 100 kilometres at 130 km/h. Only on the autobahn, of course. The car’s interior has also been entirely revamped with a flowing instrument panel design and it features new seats. The body shell has 30 per cent greater rigidity and the E-Class gets a new suspension to take full advantage of it, with an optional air suspension that works in synch with electronically-controlled dampers. The gasoline engines range in output from a 268-hp, 3.5-litre V6 to the 507-hp, 6.2-litre V8 in the E 63 AMG sedan.
The E 350 Bluetec sedan gets a turbocharged diesel V6 that delivers 210 hp and a massive 400 lb-ft of torque. With AdBlue injection, it already exceeds 2014 European standards. New 4Matic models get a fourth-generation all-wheel drive system that is more compact, lighter by 20 per cent and much more energy-efficient. As usual, the E-Class has a plethora of the latest safety systems such as headlights that automatically dim to avoid blinding other drivers and brighten up on dark roads.
A standard drowsiness detection system monitors more than 70 different parameters. Systems such as Night View Assist and the radar-based emergency braking system, new to the E-Class, come from the S-Class in updated form. Other safety systems include eight standard airbags, blind-spot detection, lane departure and retention, the familiar Pre-Safe system and a new ‘active hood’ that raises by 50 millimetres during a collision to increase the deformation range and further protect pedestrians.