The significantly restyled Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon has been launched and will go on sale here in early April.
Long a dominant player in the executive/luxury segment, the E-Class range accounts for 50 per cent of all Mercedes-Benz cars sold in Ireland. Now the new model has been wholly transformed thanks to a makeover intended, in part, to broaden its customer appeal.
In a bold move, designers have restyled the E-Class to achieve the twin objectives of producing a car that will appeal to its loyal customer base while, at the same time, win over that younger generation of motorists that every manufacturer seeks to attract. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz has done this by creating two distinctly different cars with front-end designs that bear little resemblance to one another - an evolutionary one for the many loyal traditionalist and conservative buyers and a revolutionary one for those more likely to go for the more dynamic looking BMW 5-Series.
In Classic and Elegance models, the tastes of traditional E-Class owners are catered for with a design that features the classic triple-louvre grille with the familiar Mercedes-Benz star mounted on the bonnet where owners can keep it within view.
In wooing younger, sportier buyers – those seeking something that does not quite look like daddy’s car - the much more dynamic Avantgarde version has been given a completely different look with a CLS-like fascia on which a sports style grille with inset Mercedes-Benz star are the distinctive features.
In overall appearance, the new E-Class looks even more elongated and elegant. Changes include a completely redesigned bonnet and bumper with three large air vents common to both versions. New side feature lines create a visually more exciting profile. New intelligent LED headlamps provide additional safety features while continuing to reveal the typical E-Class look.
At the rear, lights and bumper have been revised to create a more broad and distinctive appearance. Interior changes include a redesigned centre console, new instrument cluster, a multifunction steering wheel as well as new wood and aluminium dashboard trim and new high-quality materials throughout.
Noteworthy is that each vehicle can be tailored to ensure it is unlike any other. For example, a model that is totally classic on the outside can be configured to display a highly modern character inside, thanks to options that allow owners to ‘individualise’ their vehicle, irrespective of its equipment line.
A broad range of fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines power the new E-Class, all fitted with ECO start/stop. Of special interest to Irish owners will be the E200 CDI, E220 CDI and E250 CDI BlueEfficiency diesel versions. Included also will be the low-tax, low-fuel diesel/electric powered E300 hybrid. Consuming 4.1 l/100km or nearly 69mpg with CO2 emissions of 107g/km, this version has road tax of €160 per annum. A 250 BlueEfficiency petrol unit is also offered .
Steering is rack and pinion and two transmission systems are offered - six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic. High-quality appointments include a multimedia infotainment system and elements drawn from the new S-Class. Its suite of safety items includes driver assistance, accident prevention and occupant protection systems. Among these is technology that detects driver drowsiness and a device that helps drivers keep a safe distance between the vehicle in front and those following.
First of the new models to arrive will be the saloon version, followed later in April by an estate and, in May, by coupé and cabriolet versions. Describing it as the product of “a unique approach” to car design, Mercedes-Benz passenger sales manager in Ireland, Ciaran Allen, said it would arrive on the market at prices closely comparable to the current range.
He said: “Though exact figures have yet to be finalised, our aim will be to hold increases to just 1.5 per cent approximately.”