17 December 2020
17 December 2020
For more than 65 years, a mid-size sedan has been the beating heart of the Mercedes-Benz range, combining performance and luxury in a family-friendly package with an aspirational price tag.
In 1993, it was dubbed the E-Class, a memorable nomenclature befitting a model that remains the company’s best-selling model of all time.
The E-Class 2020 remains as sharply relevant as it is sharply presented. A significant cosmetic makeover is matched by an overhaul of the infotainment and driver assistance systems. The result is an eye-catching, mouth-watering choice of sedans, coupés and cabriolets stuffed with desirable new gadgets that are so intuitive, you’ll wonder how you ever coped without them.
The Interior Assistant function is one new feature likely to capture the imagination. Interior Assistant uses a camera mounted in the overhead console to intuitively detect hand movements from either the driver or front passenger. For example, a hand gesture toward the centre touchscreen can change the media display or highlight individual elements for that person. A reading lamp can be switched on by extending a hand towards the interior mirror. It’s intuitive and fun, not to mention an appropriate means of reducing surface contact in these touch-sensitive times. Interior Assistant is available optionally or as standard depending on the E-Class variant.
For the driver, augmented reality for the satellite navigation can be specified for the first time on an E-Class model. The augmented reality feature intuitively overlays navigational signals and key driving assistance information directly onto a forward camera view displayed on the central navigation screen. For example, it can assist the driver to navigate a complex road junction by overlaying the camera view with easy-to-follow virtual arrows.
Every model in the range is equipped with a version of the latest-generation steering wheel, which integrates an array of controls underneath seamless touch-sensitive panels. Plus, for the first time in a Mercedes-Benz, “hands-off detection” is enabled via capacitive sensors integrated into the steering wheel rim. Essentially, the vehicle can detect the driver’s hands in contact with the steering wheel, as Australian road laws require. This means no extra steering input is required to signal to the vehicle that the driver is in full control.
All models are now also equipped with MBUX, the advanced infotainment system. It can be controlled in a variety of ways according to the driver’s preference – voice commands (“Hey Mercedes, open the sunroof”, or “Hey Mercedes, navigate to 160 High Street”), via tap-and-swipe controllers on the steering wheel, using the touchpad in the centre console, or by direct input to the central touchscreen.
Every E-Class model also comes with the Driving Assistance Package Plus as standard, including a suite of convenient functions such as Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, which can maintain a set distance behind the vehicle in front, and Active Stop-and-Go Assist, which at speeds of up to 60 km/h can maintain a preset distance even if traffic ahead comes to a stop and is stationary for up to 60 seconds. A comprehensive safety package also includes Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic detection, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Evasive Steering Assist and Route-Based Speed Adaptation.
And, of course, there’s the way it looks – timeless, yet modern. Purist, yet strikingly attractive. Confident and sporty, yet exclusive and elegant. The refined exterior boasts a completely redesigned front and also a new rear for sedan models.
The powerful dynamic incorporates AMG Line Exterior as standard, and restyled elements include the radiator grille, headlights with a new contour, a new front bumper and an elongated bonnet with set powerdomes. For E-Class sedan variants, the rear-end design has also been modernised.
Available in specifications ranging from the E 200 all the way up to the potent E 63 S 4MATIC+, the new E-Class range represents a significant step forward and a fitting successor to carry on a mighty legacy.
By Steve Colquhuon