After various reports and some leaked images, M-B took the wraps off the the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class at a private event in Detroit. While the new E won't make its public debut until March at the Geneva Motor Show, we were on hand in Motown to get the details straight from the company that Karl Benz built.
We've said plenty about the E's new conservative sheetmetal and exterior elements, including the ConceptFASCINATION-inspired front-end and sedate, uninspired rump. Depending on spec, the new E-class will feature either twin foglamps or angular LEDs, trapezoidal or oval exhaust tips and a host of wheel options. The overall length has been stretched by half an inch to just under 16 feet, while the width has grown by 1.26 inches, the wheelbase is up 0.8-inches and height is half-an-inch taller than the outgoing model. Torsional rigidity is up by 30% and the new E is more aerodynamic, along with packing 11 standard airbags.
The 2010 model shows considerable promise inside, with an interior that evolves the C-class and GLK's angular aesthetic and attempts to bring more of that bomb-proof feel that Benz was known for in the past. The transmission selector can be had on either the console or the steering column, ala S-class, with the COMAND controller placed on the center divider and some of the seat controls moving to the sides, next to the transmission tunnel.
The new E features enough gadgetry to sooth even the most weary CES attendee, beginning with a new standard system called Attention Assist that keeps track of steering angle and alerts the driver if they're getting drowsy with an audible alert and a coffee-cup icon on the dash. Lane departure warning is optional, along with adaptive high-beam headlights that dim when oncoming traffic is approaching, radar-based cruised control, blind-spot monitoring and infrared night vision.
When the 2010 E-class goes on sale this summer, buyers can choose from either a direct-injected, 292-hp 3.5-liter V6 (E350) or a 388-hp 5.5-liter V8 (E500), both mated to a standard seven-speed automatic gearbox. 4MATIC models will arrive later, along with the E63 variant, and the 211 hp, 3.0-liter Bluetech diesel variant with urea injection is slated to go on sale at the end of the year.