Mercedes-Benz is about to launch a new E-Class. The midsizer has been the heart of the Benz lineup for 70 years, but though the company won't confirm it this is likely the last one to be powered by gas. That makes it both a big deal and a bit of a farewell to a model that is a luxury staple around the world.
Though it might be the last, it really is new. That means longer, with an extra two centimetres between the wheel arches leaving more room for passengers. There is more headroom, too, with Mercedes-Benz pushing up the roof by 5 mm.
There aren't many styling surprises here. From the side it looks much like the other three-box Mercedes-Benz sedans. The nose takes some cues from the electric EQE model, but it is still distinct. At the back, Mercedes-Benz engineers clearly had some fun; just look at those taillights with their super-cool LED interior highlight.
The latest E-Class will be tech-heavy, starting with the new Superscreen. One up over the Hyperscreen just launched in some of the Benz flagships, this whopper has a screen for the driver, the centre, and even the front passenger. Though the driver's screen is separate, and not part of the ensemble.
That front passenger can watch movies or stream other videos. Even conference calls, thanks to the new 5G system. While the driver can watch the screens when the E-Class is stopped, some magic tech blocks the driver's view when the car is moving.
The latest version of the MBUX interface combines what used to be multiple features into one single (more powerful) computer. That gives Benz programmers more flexibility and more capability.
It also lets them link more systems. This E will get active ambient lighting that can let you see the audio you're listening to. The system can now recognize commands without the "Hey, Mercedes" prompt, too.
Then there is the new AI. It can learn about your routines and then respond to them before you even ask. Things like automatically turning on the heated seats at 10 degrees because that's when you use them. Or automatically rolling down the car's window when you get to the same parking pass kiosk every morning. Cool.
Mercedes-Benz will let you add apps to the system, including the controversial TikTok. Benz says if you don't want them you don't have to install them, and that it has confidence in the data security legislation of the EU and other countries where it operates.
Air and adaptive suspension systems will be offered. Rear-wheel steering for agility and stability will also be on the options list. The announcement from Benz didn't get into driver assistance, but the company did say that the E-Class won't get the Level 3 systems of the S-Class.
On paper, the engines sound the same, but Mercedes-Benz says they're new too. The E 350 gets a 2.0L turbo-four that uses the more efficient Miller combustion cycle. It makes 255 hp and 295 lb-ft, with the 48V mild hybrid system adding 20 horses and 148 lb-ft.
There will be a 3.0L inline-six, too, badged E 450. That one is also heavily revised from last year and makes 375 hp with 369 lb-ft. The 48V mild-hybrid boost adds the same amount of power.
Will there be an AMG version? The Mercedes-Benz execs we spoke with couldn't confirm. But we were told, "you see me smiling, so maybe that helps." Message received.
Europe gets a plug-in hybrid, but North America won't be. The reason, says Benz, is that there isn't demand. Its own market research says buyers want gas cars or full EVs. If that perception changes, the models are there to bring over.
Expect more about the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class as it gets closer to dealers. The E350 is expected in the fourth quarter of this year with the E450 to follow in Q1 of 2024.