Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz E-Class Spotted Testing

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Jan 16, 2016
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Mercedes will move to a new generation of its long-lived E-Class within the next couple of years, and the first spy shots of the new model have surfaced.

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Caught by spy photographers on public roads in Europe, the rival to the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series isn’t wearing the typical thick black disguise usually seen when early prototypes emerge, rather a thinner, more revealing wrap. That means we can see it’ll stick closely to the styling convention of the latest C-Class and S-Class.

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Although the front grille of this prototype appears to be a dummy cover, the overall front-end shape appears to be more reminiscent of the sportier-looking C-Class than the more classically shaped S-Class. A low front bumper points to that, too, although the headlights, with their dual LED running lights, more closely align with those of the S-Class.

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Down the side we can see a slightly taller shoulder line than today’s car, as well as some swoopy design lines on the doors. Also visible are the same pop-out electric door handles as the S-Class, which sit flush in the body when driving for better aerodynamics.

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The rear appears to continue the family look, although the car’s finished tail-lights aren’t visible. And although we can see into the cabin in these shots, the dashboard is heavily camouflaged. However, we expect the design to borrow much from the latest S-Class, including the large portrait-angled central touchscreen and big digital dial display.

Those aren’t the only technology features that the E-Class will adopt from its larger sibling, however. Expect a high focus on connectivity and autonomous driving features, including level-three autonomy and over-the-air software updates. It could even feature 5G connectivity to bring a suite of high-speed data features, along with tech such as rear-wheel steering to improve agility and stability.

Judging by the typical seven-year lifecycle of the E-Class, expect the new model to launch in 2023 after Mercedes’ all-electric EQE executive saloon, which is due in 2022. While full battery power will be reserved for that car, the new E-Class is highly likely to adopt a fully electrified engine line-up, with a mixture of mild-hybrids and plug-in hybrid systems mated to four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

Plug-in versions will also offer a much greater electric range than today’s car. It’s unlikely that the AMG-tuned E 63 will return with the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 as the current model, however. Auto Express understands that the smaller C 63 will ditch its V8 in favour of a hybridised four-cylinder turbo unit, so expect similar downsizing for the larger saloon. It’s possible the E63 will use a six-cylinder engine to account for its greater power output, however.

Expect to see the new E-Class also offered in estate and All Terrain forms after the launch of the saloon. The E-Class coupe and convertibles are unlikely to be directly replaced, however: as reported by Auto Express earlier this year, the German brand will launch a two-door model, dubbed the CLE, which will serve as a catch-all car and replace both two-door versions of the C-Class and E-Class. That should be offered in hard-top and soft-top formats.


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