Destined to be the brand’s most important model introduction of 2016, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class arrived this week.
Now in its tenth generation, with 13 million units sold, the E-Class lies at the heart of the Mercedes-Benz product offering.
Despite the rapid expansion in its model offering recently, distributors in Ireland expect it will continue to be the largest-selling model.
Mirrored in their description of the E-Class as a ‘masterpiece of intelligence’, Mercedes-Benz has set out to give owners a preview of what motoring will be like for future generations.
The new E-Class brings the era of ‘autonomous and accident free motoring’ closer.
One feature allows the car to be manoeuvred remotely via a mobile phone without the driver being inside. This is likely to appeal to all who ever found themselves hemmed in within a narrow parking space and unable to gain entry to their car.
This movement towards autonomous motoring is reflected in the new Drive Pilot system in which key functions such as remote parking, guidance, speed control, braking, acceleration, gear changing and an ability to anticipate hazards ahead and take corrective action are amongst those that can be carried out automatically, depending on model and options choice.
Three style and equipment lines are offered - Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG. Buyers can choose between models with a bonnet-mounted star and louvered grille favoured by regular E-Class owners or one with grille inset star likely to appeal to more sporty buyers.
Maintaining Mercedes-Benz’s price-value offering - whereby features that previously came only as options are now included as standard - the entry level Avantgarde model is equipped with over €7,000 worth of standard features compared to the outgoing version.
Included is Parking Pilot parking assist, heated front seats, full leather upholstery, reversing camera, LED static lights, satellite navigation, mirror pack, ambient lighting, stowage pack, ‘through loading’ feature, seat comfort pack, alarm pack and a ‘connect me’ function. Standard on all models is 9G Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.
Optionally available are two high-resolution 12.3 inch display screens (a first in the segment) and three different wide-screen instrument cluster styles. A wide choice of materials and colour combinations gives owners scope to ‘individualise’ the interior.
It is the first car to feature touch-sensitive finger swipe buttons on the steering wheel which the driver can use to control the infotainment system while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.
Focus in Ireland
Mobile phones with the inductive charge facility can be charged and connected with no need for cables or a telephone holder.
In Ireland, focus is being placed on the E220d Avantgarde Automatic at €52,850 (ex works) which represents a price decrease of €850 compared to the previous model.
Also available to order will be Exclusive (€55,210) and AMG versions (€57,650).
Available also is an E350d version at €66,900. Further model variants to follow in time will include an E350e hybrid and a powerful V6 E350d.
Aerodynamically, it has a drag coefficient of 0.23. Under the bonnet, a completely new engine on which Mercedes-Benz spent some €2.6billion in development costs delivers a 17% weight reduction, lower fuel consumption (3.9 litres/100Km combined), lower C02 (102g/km), increased horsepower (194 HP), 400Nm of torque and lower road tax (€190).
Amongst the standard fitments is Active Brake Assist, providing support during emergency braking, Attention Assist with adjustable sensitivity to alert the driver to inattentiveness or drowsiness and Crosswind Assist, which mitigates the effects of strong crosswinds.
An optional Driver Assistance package offers a further suite of safety features that Mercedes-Benz claims makes the E-Class the most intelligent saloon in its class, one being a system that moves the driver or front passenger away from the danger zones when an imminent lateral collision is detected.