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New Merc E-Class - info, photos

2009-01-12 07:56
Mercedes-Benz has released technical details of the new E-Class, intimating the new model will major on safety and drivetrain efficiency.

If ever there was a sign that the Detroit auto show is dead, it has to be the unveiling of the new E-Class, which was done at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel, instead of the show venue.

Making good drivers better

Optional air suspension (adaptive damping is now standard) and multicontour massaging seats are S-Class features which have migrated downwards –- yet the body of new innovations centre on driver safety assistance.

Joining the litany of Mercedes-Benz ‘assist-features’ are adaptive main beam assist and attention assist.

Main beam assist utilises a front windscreen mounted camera to evaluate whether the driver might inadvertently blind other traffic, and controls the illumination intensity accordingly. Dipped beam functionality can accordingly be adjusted from 65- to 300m.

Attention assist uses 70 different parameters to detect driver drowsiness, the most distinct among these being continuous small, yet haphazard, steering corrections. As the system becomes aware of the driver potentially dosing off behind the wheel it signals a warning.

Of particular interest to South African customers is the optional infrared night view assist system, which detects pedestrians ahead, and highlights them in the onboard display screen.

Direct-injection power all-round

Beyond the technical safety innovations, the latest E-Class features five engines in either fuel configuration. Compression ignition power starts at 100kW with the E 200 CDI, followed by 125kW E 220 CDI and E 250CDI - all three engines are 2.2l in capacity and feature dual-turbochargers.

Producing 150kW and 500Nm the E 250 CDI engine, which is the mid-range option, has 25% more torque than its V6 predecessor and consumes only 5.3l/100km. At the top of the turbodiesel engine range is the E 350 CDI, available in either standard 170kW or ice-cap friendly 155kW BlueTec trim.

Those who prefer petrol power have a buy in point at the E 200 CGI spec, with the direct-injection 1.8l petrol engine producing 135kW. Similar in capacity, but in a higher state of tune is the E 250 CGI, packing 150kW and 310Nm whilst returning 7.4l/100km.

Buyers keen on V-configuration engines still have option on the E 350 CGI V6 and E 500 V8, which produce 215kW and 285kW respectively. Performance buyers will have an AMG spec E-Class available with the 6.2l V8 in 386kW trim.

With infotainment an increasingly strong factor in buyer purchasing rationale the Audio 20 CD system, with a twin receiver, CD-player, eight loudspeakers and a Bluetooth mobile phone interface is now standard.

Trim levels will be the familiar Elegance and Avantgarde delineation. Elegance models are styled to appeal to more seasoned Mercedes-Benz buyers, featuring a chrome-plated radiator grille with four silver-painted louvers and walnut interior wood trim.

Avantgarde is the more contemporary trim package, featuring bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime driving lights, LED embedded rear lights, lowered suspension and ambient instrument cluster lighting which cues a sporty hue.

E-Class owners who have a four-member family (instead of the traditional five-member unit) can specify a twin-seat rear set-up.


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