For decades, the E-Class has been the vehicle that defines Mercedes-Benz - stylish, safe, solid and comfortable, not to mention packed with useful industry-leading technology. In recent generations, the 1996 E-Class set a new design theme for the entire auto industry with its distinctive elliptical LED lights, and the 2003 E-Class eclipsed its predecessor with bolder, sleeker lines.
For more than a half-century, the E-Class has set new standards in vehicle safety, comfort and driving dynamics. With each new-generation vehicle, Mercedes-Benz engineers increased its chassis rigidity while reducing weight through extensive use of high-strength steel, lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Historically, the E-Class established many "firsts" in its segment. For example, the previous E-Class boasted PRE-SAFE, a revolutionary system that represents the next big step in automotive safety technology. Mercedes-Benz safety engineers felt that cars could be equipped to take preventive action in the valuable seconds before the actual impact when sensing an imminent crash. As a result, they designed the innovative PRE-SAFE system to first tension the seatbelts if the car senses an impending collision. Further, if the front passenger seat is overly reclined or forward, and if the seat cushion angle is too shallow, PRE-SAFE moves it to a more favorable crash position. Finally, if the vehicle skids (sometimes a precursor to rollover), the system automatically closes the sunroof.
Beginning with the industry's first crumple-zone body in the 1950s, E-Class cars have always featured a full array of Mercedes-Benz safety technology, and in recent times, this has included ABS anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, the ESC Electronic Stability Control and traction control as well as an adaptive restraint system using state-of-the-art air bags.
The new 2010 E-Class represents the ninth generation of the highly successful model line, with a total of more than 10 million E-Class sedans produced over the past 70-plus years. Packed with useful new safety technology, the new E-Class is likely to become another industry trend-setter, and with a full compliment of sedan and coupe models, the lineup should appeal to more consumers than ever.
With an impressive aerodynamic drag coefficient of only 0.25, the base European model of the new E-Class is literally the slickest luxury sedan on the planet. While the wider tires of the U.S. model give it a Cd of 0.27, the car's still slippery profile means even better fuel economy and less wind noise on the highway. The new E-Class body is also 30 percent stronger, thanks to intelligent body construction, which includes more lightweight, high-tensile-strength steel.
Standard ATTENTION ASSIST
Among its many standard safety features is an innovative "ATTENTION ASSIST" system which couples a steering sensor with intelligent software that can identify the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy. Elegant in its simplicity, the system senses drowsiness and alerts the driver.
Other examples of trailblazing innovations include optional automatic emergency braking, which can now be activated 0.6 seconds before an imminent collision, and adaptive high beams that use a small windshield-mounted camera to control high-low beam operation automatically. This system also provides a soft transition from low to high beam. An optional Driver Assistance package includes Blind Spot Monitor and a new Lane Keeping Assist feature, which alerts the driver if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on.
The design of the new-generation E-Class begins with a "cubist" treatment of its trademark twin-headlight face. Two parallelogram lights are recessed into each front fender, bracketing the three-dimensional chrome frame of the front grille.
Both models have grown slightly as compared to their predecessors. The sedan grows wider by 1 inches and longer by 5/8-inch while the coupe is 1.8-inches wider and 1.9-inches longer. The overall E-Class body shape features large concave and convex surfaces defined by taut, clearly defined lines. In particular, a graceful line follows each rear wheel well and shapes the muscular contours of the rear fenders. While the car looks futuristic, aficionados might recognize styling cues reminiscent of the famous "Ponton Mercedes" of the 1950s.
Mercedes-Benz designers paid careful attention to the interior, to ensure that every surface is appealing in both functional and emotional terms with its form, color and material. The sedan cockpit features five analog gauges, including two outer pairs that overlap each other. Standard equipment includes a four-spoke, premium leather-covered steering wheel with integrated multi-function switches and a Direct Select electronic shift lever mounted on the steering column. Coupes feature a 3-spoke steering wheel and console-mounted shift lever with TouchShift.
Also standard is a new COMAND system featuring a seven-inch color display screen with a standard in-dash, six-disc CD / DVD changer. Using a console-mounted controller, the central display in the dash can be operated by either the driver or front passenger. The COMAND system can be equipped with optional GPS navigation, an iPod/MP3 interface, satellite radio and a number of other useful features.
The trademark twin-headlight face of the E-Class has been reinterpreted in the new-generation car with a more rectangular design reminiscent of the geometric shapes in cubist art. Two parallelogram lights are recessed into each front fender, bracketing the three-dimensional chrome frame of the front grille. On each side, the look resembles a long rectangular lens with an angled stripe of body color separating the lens into two sections.
Below the headlights, optional LED daytime driving lights make a dramatic visual accent. Recessed in the front apron, the LED lights form an inverted "L" on each side.
The overall body shape of the new E-Class features taut lines that define large concave and convex surfaces. In particular, a graceful line follows each rear wheel well and shapes the muscular contours of the rear fenders. While the car looks futuristic, aficionados might recognize styling cues reminiscent of the famous "Ponton Mercedes" of the 1950s.
Sedan Versus Coupe
While there's an unmistakable family resemblance between the new E-Class sedan and coupe, the sedan wears a three-pointed star on the front hood above its familiar louvered front grille, and the coupe version has an entirely different look to its face, thanks to a large star emblem in the center of a sporty two-lamella grille.
In general, the two-door E-Class coupe boasts a more muscular shape that gives it an athletic, more dynamic presence. With "frameless" doors and no B-pillar, the coupe features an airy, uninterrupted expanse that extends from the front windshield to the rear window whenever the front and rear side windows are fully lowered.
At the rear, the E-Class coupe sports longer, more sharply angled LED taillights, as well as a center brake light integrated in the trunk lid. The sedan has a more traditional look, with a third brake light in the rear window.
The larger "eye" holds a halogen low beam, with a turn signal at the outer edge, and the high beam is located in the smaller lens. Supplemental LED turn signals are integrated in the outside mirror housing.
Standard fog light/daytime running light pair is flush-mounted in the front apron below the bumper, and optional LED daytime running lights form a distinctive signature. The eye-catching daytime running lights are more noticeable than conventional low beams and are designed to last the life of the car.
Bi-Xenon Lights See Around Corners
Optional bi-xenon high-intensity gas-discharge headlights are self-leveling, so they're always aimed properly, regardless of vehicle loading, even under the pitching of braking or acceleration. Coupled with the new Adaptive Highbeam Assist, the bi-xenon lights can provide the maximum possible illumination for a given situation.
The bi-xenon package includes a high-pressure jet wash system with two telescoping nozzles on each side that clean the lenses whenever the windshield washer is operated.
The bi-xenon lights also feature active-curve illuminating technology, in which the headlights actually turn slightly (up to 15 degrees) with the steering wheel to light up each approaching curve. In a long curve, the driver can see about 30 yards farther with active-curve illuminating lights.
A cornering light is also integrated into each LED headlights (no longer in the fog light). At low speeds whenever the steering wheel is turned or the turn signal switched, the cornering light helps to light up the road.
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