Typically known for their stoic pressers, Mercedes Benz juiced up the 2007 E-Class conference with a bit of the 'shock and awe' approach so popular with their American counterparts at Dodge and Chrysler. Given that the new model looks remarkably similar to the outgoing edition, that may have been a worthwhile tactic. In addition to the standard speeches, Benz lowered a man from the ceiling in a chainmail suit with a large staff. Along with three identically-dressed dancers, a large bolt of electricity was generated and sent from the dancers (and the heavy metal hangman) and on through to the E-Class. The sight and the attendant 'zapping' sound was enough to gain everyone's attention, and DCX was thoughtful enough to request that those with pacemakers and aversions to electrical storms step back a bit before the conference started.

The new E's external differences include a new "more aggressive" front bumper and air dam, along with a revamped grille, revised head-and-tail lights, and new side mirrors, but the real action is underneath.

Click through to the jump for more details and live shots, including select high-res images!

Beneath the familiar skin, however, the new E packs a raft of new technological features, including the now standard-issue Pre-Safe proactive safety measures package found in the S-Class. The new E girds itself for crimped sheetmetal by closing any windows and the sunroof, reeling in the slack on the seatbelts, and optimizing seat positions. Additionally, certain models will benefit from active taillamps that flash when panic braking is sensed. The next generation of intelligent headlamps that automatically sense the type of roadway the vehicle is traveling on, and maximizes the available candlepower for that situation (e.g. longer cast for highway running, more peripheral vision during city driving, etc.).

Standard equipment now includes a large glass sunroof, a Harman/Kardon Logic 7 stereo with six-disc changer, and the wagon model now includes a power liftgate feature. The interior also features a new steering wheel and shift lever, revamped automatic climate control buttonry, and four new interior colors.

Under the hood, the E350 continues to use the four-valve-per cylinder V6 (good for 268 hp/258 lb.-ft.), but the E500 is now known as the E550, to reflect its new 5.5-liter 32-valve V8 (382 hp/391 lb.-ft.). Also broomed is the top-gun E55 AMG, replaced with the E63, now displacing  6.3-liters (503 hp/465 lb.-ft.). The latter includes cylinder bores employing a twin-wire-arc -sprayed coating (TWAS), which results in a surface twice as hard as standard cast-iron cylinders.

Of course, DCX has been big on their Bluetec diesel initiative, and the E320CDI will henceforth be known as the E320 Bluetec, incorporating a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel . Power figures were not yet released.

The E550 and and E63 AMG are pictured.


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