It sounds like a contradiction when we’re talking about car measuring over 5 meters long, but a ‘mini Maybach’ is probably the best description one can give to Mercedes-Benz’s new long-wheelbase E-Class L.
Purpose-developed exclusively for China and built by Beijing Benz Automotive Co. (BBAC), Mercedes’ joint venture with BAIC, the E-Class L was introduced today ahead of a world premiere tomorrow at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.
It stretches the regular 2017 E-Class sedan’s wheelbase by 140mm or 5.5 inches to 3,079mm or 121.2 inches, for an overall length of 5,063mm (199.3 inches), which means it has a longer wheelbase than the standard S-Class (3,035mm / 119.5 in), while being a tad shorter (5,116mm / 201.4 in).
Instead of just extending the rear doors and roofline, leaving everything else intact, Mercedes-Benz took a page from their Maybach S-Class models integrating a triangular window into the C-pillar, giving the E-Class L more harmonious proportions, and at the same time, a more unique appearance.
The elongated wheelbase provides rear passengers with an additional 134mm of legroom. Also, because the rear seat was pushed back, there’s a larger clearance for entry and exit with the doors open. The E-Class L has a five seat configuration, but it gets a folding center armrest that includes illuminated stowage compartment and a USB port as standard, with an integral touchscreen, wireless charger, and a heated pad being offered as an option.
Elsewhere, the ‘L’ model gets the same comfort and safety amenities as the regular wheelbase E-Class, including the fully digital instrument cluster.
The only powertrain confirmed at this point for the Chinese market in Mercedes’ literature is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four gasoline engine for the E200 L, but in the pictures, we see that there’s also an E300 L and a E320 L.