Tenth generation comes with autonomous driving tech
Mercedes-Benz revealed the 2017 E-Class sedan at the 2016 Detroit auto show, and 10th-generation E-Class comes with many new features. Compared to the outgoing E-Class, the 2017 model is slightly larger, growing 1.7 inches in length thanks to a wheelbase extended by 2.6 inches. The new car features a cab rearward design with a long hood, short overhangs, and a coupelike roofline that flows into a broad rear with a short decklid, giving it a family resemblance to the S-Class and C-Class sedans. Up front, sport models are distinguished by a large three-pointed star embedded in the radiator grille, while luxury variants feature the classic radiator grille and a three-pointed star hood ornament. In the rear, the taillights have a two bar design that’s also reminiscent of its sedan siblings. The 2017 E-Class’ new exterior design is also aerodynamic, giving it a drag coefficient of 0.23.
Step inside and you’ll find a cabin inspired by the full-size S-Class, with a large 12.3-inch screen as the centerpiece of the dash. An analog gauge cluster behind the steering wheel is bundled together with the large screen. A dual screen layout, like the one found in the flagship S-Class, is also available. Touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel make their first appearance in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and respond to horizontal and vertical swiping motions. Mercedes’ new COMAND infotainment system, on the other hand, can now be controlled with a touchpad that recognizes handwriting. The COMAND system has also been improved with higher-resolution graphics and animation.
New interior color combinations, including multiple shades of brown, have been added to allow owners to customize the cabin’s appearance. Trims such as Natural Grain Ash wood are also available along with wood inlays with what Mercedes calls “flowing lines” embedded in them. For an added level of personalization, the new E-Class also features ambient LED interior mood lighting that comes with a choice of 64 colors. Owners can add touches of ambient lighting on areas including the center console, door pockets, footwells, and the tweeters of the available Burmester 3D surround sound system.
The seats in the 2017 E-Class have also been redesigned for improved comfort. A Warmth and Comfort package is optional and adds heated door armrests and center console, a heated steering wheel, and quick-heating front seats. Second-row seats now split 40/20/40 for added versatility.
New Powertrain and Improved Suspension
Under the hood, the 2017 E-Class come standard with a 2.0-liter turbo-four rated at 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. If this sounds familiar, this four-banger is the same one found in the new GLC300 crossover, the SLC300 convertible and the C300 sedan while the nine-speed has seen duty in the GLC-Class, SL-Class, and CLS-Class. Expect the E-Class to also gain a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine on higher trim levels and a fire-breathing twin-turbo V-8 on high-performance AMG variants.
A steel-spring suspension is standard on the 2017 E-Class. Optionally, you can choose the Direct Control suspension with selective damping in either Comfort or Sport configurations. Mercedes’ Air Body Control air suspension is also available so that you can control the firmness of the suspension in relation to the road. A self-leveling function ensures that the car’s ride remains comfortable even when it’s fully loaded with people or gear. When traveling at high speeds on the freeway, Air Body Control lowers the car for improved fuel efficiency. On rough roads, on the other hand, the suspension is raised for improved ground clearance. Dynamic Select enables the driver to choose between four preset modes on cars equipped with Air Body Control: Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Sport+. An Individual mode is also available to enable drivers to tailor the car to their liking.
Improved Safety Aids, Telematics, and Autonomous Driving Tech
Among the most notable features of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class are the dizzying amount driving and safety aids. Pre-Safe Sound is a new standard feature that’s based on protective human reflexes and emits a sound through the car’s audio system to alert the driver if an impending collision is detected. Active Brake Assist, also standard, can detect pedestrians, warn the driver of an impending crash, provide the ideal amount brake support needed for a full stop, or automatically apply the brakes.
Another noteworthy driver assistance feature on the 2017 E-Class is Drive Pilot, which is essentially an enhanced adaptive cruise control system that can automatically maintain a selected distance from the car in front of you. It can follow traffic at speeds of up to 130 mph (209 km/h). When combined with Steering Pilot—a system that automatically turns the car when adaptive cruise control is active at up to 81 mph (130 km/h)—the 2017 E-Class can nearly drive itself. Active Lane Change Assist is also part of the Drive Pilot suite and helps the driver steer the car into a chosen lane using a combination of radar and cameras.
When it comes to safety, the usual assistance features such as automatic emergency braking and cross-traffic alert are all available in the 2017 E-Class. According to Mercedes, a new feature called Evasive Steering Assist complements the pedestrian detection system and adds the ideal amount of steering torque input to help the driver evade obstacles. Pre-Safe Impulse Side moves the driver or front passenger away from the danger zone by inflating an air chamber on the side bolster nearest the side of impact if the car detects an imminent lateral collision.
As a world first, the 2017 E-Class also have a Car-to-X communication system, enabling the vehicle to link with traffic infrastructure with the aim of improved safety. The driver can receive reports of accidents, broken-down vehicles, and dangerous weather conditions.
The 2017 E-Class will go on sale in the U.S. in summer 2016. At launch, the only model available will be the E300, which uses the new 2.0-liter turbo-four and nine-speed automatic.