Behold: the handsome new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

By topgear, 28 April 2023

Behold: the handsome new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Perhaps reports of its demise have been exaggerated, because here is a new car that bears “the proportions of a classic three-box sedan”.

Welcome to the brand-new W214 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

It’s an important car, the new E: well over a million examples of the outgoing car have been sold across the globe (in fact more than “16 million upper mid-range vehicles since 1946”, according to Merc). So as new car reveals go, lots of eyes will be on the S-Class’s baby brother.

Eyes drawn at first to the new face, now said to “build a bridge to the avant-garde trendsetters from Mercedes-EQ”.

That’s Merc’s electric-only range of course, and the connection comes via the gloss-black surface that connects the new headlight design and front grille. The latter is available in two designs and with the option of being illuminated. You shouldn't do the latter of the latter.

Sweep back from there and you’ll land on the E’s new ‘power dome’ bonnet that represents the exec sedan's schportier side.

Sweep back even further and you’ll find the new E-Class is both longer and wider than its predecessor, representing its luggzury.

At the back, there’s a funky new rear light treatment that incorporates the three-pointed star in the pattern.

So it's bigger, but also more aero efficient, Merc translating its efficiency gains from the EQ range to its mainstream product.

The front features special new sealing around the bonnet, there are new spoilers ahead of each wheel, a new underbody with a better shape and material make-up, and ‘optimised’ contours about the body.

The result is a drag coefficient of 0.23. Which is good. Promises good efficiency too, because every combustion engine available is a mild-hybrid thanks to an integrated starter generator (ISG) on each model.

As a whole the E will be available as a 2.0-litre petrol E200 (200bhp), a 2.0-litre diesel E220d (195bhp, plus the option of 4WD), and the 2.0-litre petrol plug-in hybrids E300 e and E400 e.

That latter variant in 4WD guise will be the quickest new E-Class available from launch with a combined 381hp and a 0-100km/h time of 5.3s.

A six-cylinder diesel will join the range later. All are connected to a new, lighter and more refined 9spd Merc automatic gearbox.

Oh, and those ‘e’ badged hybrids will apparently feature more electric-only driving than before – indeed the range using just the motor on these cars is claimed at 100km, roughly double the average daily commute.

It’s part of Merc’s ‘fourth-generation’ hybrid setup, featuring better brake regen, a brake ‘booster’, and a bigger 25.4kWh battery.

The whole chassis is underpinned by a steel spring suspension setup, with the mild-hybrid cars (E200/E220d) sitting 15mm lower than the PHEV models. There’s the option of air suspension too with continuously adjustable damping and rear axle steering.

Being an executive Benz means there’s a tonne of computing power and active assistance on board, a list that’d require an entirely new server to be set up. Suffice to say, if you sneeze too hard, the E will know about it.

Though, no sneezing over the (optional) MBUX ‘Superscreen’ that sits across the central display. It’s a thoroughly modern cabin, overhauled significantly since the last outing.

There’s the obligatory digital dash in front of the driver, mixed with the central display in a dash that sweeps/floats along the entire front of the car. Looks cleaner and a mite less fidgety than the last car, not least because the outline of the dash is also illuminated.

There’s more space inside than before – indeed “almost S-Class level”, says Merc – along with more boot space.

Heck, you can even play ‘Angry Birds’ or doomscroll through TikTok - among a variety of new apps - thanks to their new availability on the central display. Should you be so inclined, there’s even a selfie camera on board.

Not for taking actual selfies, but for video conferencing (via Zoom) when stationary. Indeed in some markets, the front passenger can watch content on the display without disturbing the driver thanks to ‘intelligent blocking’ via a filter.

Handy for future passengers when, say in 50 years’ time, one of these will be a minicab with a million klicks on the clock.

Before then, what’s your take on this handsome new three-box sedan?

STORY Vijay Pattni

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