When the first photos of the 2014 E-Class surfaced, it was instantly obvious that Mercedes-Benz’s mid-size premium model wasn’t a simple nip-and-tuck job, as is customary with mid-life facelifts. Instead, Stuttgart’s designers had gone to the trouble of completely changing the entire front end of the car.
First of all, they ditched the four separate headlamps, an E-Class staple since 1995, in favor of a single one-piece unit on each side that encompasses all lighting elements. Mercedes says that the graphic design of the inner elements retain the “four-eyed” look while both the day-time running lights and the dipped beam have partial LED lights as standard and full LED lights are offered as an option.
For the first time, the E-Class, like the smaller C-Class, will be available with two different front-end designs. The base and Elegance trim levels feature the classic grille with three louvers and the three-pointed star on the bonnet, while the Avantgarde gets the sporty treatment with the star integrated in the grille.
In profile, the 2014 E-Class replaces the pontoon-style rear side panels with a new feature line that runs from the rear door to the elongated, LED taillights and, according to the company, emphasizes the side trim that has been shifted downwards and gives the car a more elongated shape.
In the cabin, the main highlights are the redesigned center console, the new instrument cluster, a two-part wood or aluminum trim that runs across the entire dashboard and a new analogue clock between the central air vents.
All versions of the E-Class will be equipped with an electromechanical Direct-Steer steering that combines speed-sensitive power assistance and a variable ratio of the steering gear.
The 2014 model will be available with four suspension set-ups. The base and Elegance trim levels will get the DIRECT CONTROL adjustable suspension tuned for comfort, the Avantgarde trim will have the same suspension lowered by 15 mm, the Exterior Sports and AMG sports packages will get a lowered sports suspension and the V8 models will be fitted with the electronically controlled AIRMATIC air suspension.
In Europe, Mercedes-Benz will offer the new E-Class with either a six-speed manual or the 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto transmission and no less than 18 engines, all of them fitted with an auto stop/start system.
Ten of them are gasoline units and range from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in 181HP (184PS) and 207HP (211PS) versions for the E 200 and E 250 respectively to a 4.6-liter V8 with 402HP (408PS) and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque for the E 500.
There are also six diesels and two diesel-electric hybrids: the 2.2-liter E 300 in 201 HP (204 PS) rear-wheel drive and the 248HP (252 PS) 3.0-liter all-wheel drive E 350 4MATIC.
Both saloon and estate variants will be equipped with the radar-based Collision Prevent Assist warning system that features adaptive braking and the Attention Assist system, which can detect the driver’s level of fatigue and issue a warning in case he is too tired or drowsy.
Of course, there’s also an armada of safety systems. These include the semi-auto Distronic Plus with Steering Assist cruise control, the BAS Plus brake assist that, thanks to the Junction Assist system can detect crossing traffic or pedestrians and increase braking power, the Pre-Safe system that optimizes the car’s safety systems and the automated Active Parking Assist that uses a 360-degree camera to provide a bird’s eye view of the surroundings.
By Andrew Tsaousis