The Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213 and S213) series represent the upcoming fifth-generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range of executive cars, including sedan (W213) and station wagon (S213) configurations. Set to be sold from 2016 (as a 2017 model), it is the successor to the W212/S212 E-Class models. A high-performance E63 AMG version of the W213 and S213 will be available as well from 2016 (as a 2017 model).
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class, since the mid 1990s, had been equipped with quad headlights and a differentiated design. With the 2017 model, Mercedes decided to take a more streamlined direction, first seen with the 2014 E-Class redesign and then going in an entirely new direction with the all-new 2017 model.
Set to be launched in spring 2016 following a world debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January, the 2017 E-Class models will become the most technologically advanced cars Mercedes has ever produced at the time.
Mercedes-Benz claimed the whole development process stretched over 48 months. In that time, it produced 1, 200 prototypes and driven a combined 12 million kilometres in some of the world's toughest conditions, from sub-zero temperatures in the snow through to the world's hottest deserts. In testing the car, Mercedes-Benz also had its prototypes conduct over 10, 000 autonomous braking procedures and 5, 000 automated lane changes as part of the Distronic suite of semi-autonomous driving features. Moreover, it took 1, 200 engineers to make the 2017 E-Class.
After Mercedes-Benz invested close to €1 billion into the development of the extensive refresh to the 2014 mid-life facelift of W212 E-Class, most likely the most expensive mid-life facelift in the history of the automobile, the next generation E-Class was unveiled at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. The 2017 E-Class has a design similar to that of the larger W222 S-Class and the smaller W205 C-Class. While the W212 E-Class has tighter surface and harder edges, the new model is curvier and more flowing. An official design sketch was released in late December 2015, which confirmed that the new E-Class mirrors the styling of the C-Class and S-Class. Official photos of the W213 were leaked on the internet on 4 January 2016 ahead of its unveiling.
Stylistically, the 2017 E-Class follows the latest C-Class, the GLA, and the S-Class coupé. Its front end features Mercedes’ familiar bullet-shaped headlights and an upright grille, while its rear end gets a pair of LED tail lamps that extend into the quarter panels. Those taillights also bear similarities to the 2014 E-Class models. As on other recent models, the 2017 E-Class features two distinct front-end treatments: a traditional chrome grille and a more sporting blade grille. The aerodynamic efficiency have been refined so that the drag coefficient has improved from 0.25 in the previous model to a class-leading 0.23.
The inside of the 2017 E-Class was unveiled of a video released by Mercedes-Benz in December 2015. The interior mounts two 12.3-inch full HD screens housed within a single unit. Most E-Class models will receive the widescreen set-up as standard. However, base Avantgarde versions will feature traditional analogue dials with a seven-inch multi-information display, along with an 8.4-inch central infotainment screen. Mercedes-Benz claimed a first for the automotive industry, adding a pair of touch-sensitive control buttons on the steering wheel, which respond to finger swipes to control the car's infotainment system. The more traditional Comand controller is also retained on the centre console. The interior was previewed on the Concept IAA (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) that Mercedes showed in September 2015 at the Frankfurt auto show.
Engine options for the W213 E-Class will see a major update, thanks to the switch to inline-6 engines from the current V6 engines, along a new generation of four-cylinder diesel engines (OM654) and existing four-cylinder petrol engines (M274). All engines, save for the AMG V8, will come with Mercedes’ 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Alongside standard rear-wheel drive, selected engines will be offered with optional four-wheel drive.
The fifth-generation model will be first released in the saloon configuration, which will go on sale in the summer 2016, while an Estate, offering a similar 695-litre luggage capacity to its predecessor, is due to go on sale towards the end of 2016. A two-door Coupe will arrive in 2017, before the Convertible completes the line-up towards the end of 2017.
W212 facelift comparison
The fifth-generation model, codenamed W213, adopts Mercedes’ modular MRA platform, as used by the latest C-Class and S-Class models. The W213 E-Class grow in size to 4923mm in length (grown by 43mm). The wheelbase also extends by 65mm in standard form to 2939mm in wheelbase, resulting in shorter overhangs. This E-Class is also 2mm narrower and 6mm lower than the car it replaced. The increased use of high-strength steel and aluminium is claimed to make the car up to 100 kg lighter than the W212 E-Class.
The W213 E-Class features the Sensual Purity design philosophy, a design philosophy previously used on the larger W222 S-Class (2013) and the smaller W205 C-Class (2014). However, the W213 E-Class is also an evolution of the facelifted version of W212 (2013), as the two vehicles share several design traits.The mid-cycle refresh of W212 with the AMG Sports Package.
The new W213 E-Class' front bumper is reminiscent of the facelifted W212's optional sport kit (dubbed the AMG Sports Package), as its governed by two air intakes united by a mesh grille. Compared to the standard front bumper of the W212, which is similar to the one used on the W205 C-Class, the new E-Class' proposal is more aggressive, composed and simple. The classic iconic grille, has simpler, flowing lines, with a more imposing presence on W213, while the sport variant (with the big logo in the middle) isn't so different from the W212. The S-Class inspired, sweptback and rather compact headlights are the styling feature of the new model.
On both cars the doors sit pretty high, squeezing the windows, but the W212 masks this "trait" with a subtle slope towards the headlights. In fact, on the profile of the facelifted W212, it still retains the edgy lines that came out in 2009. At the back, the W213 adopted a fresh design for the lights similar to the S-Class. However, the tailpipes finishers are similar to the ones found on the W212, with the rear bumper keeping its overall shape.
The W213's technology was previewed at a technical presentation in July 2015. The launch of the 2017 E-Class will see Mercedes move a step closer to autonomous driving, with nine all-new or comprehensively updated driver assistance systems to feature. The car will take many of the features seen in the latest S-Class and take them on to a new level.
A number of sensors, cameras and radars has allow semi-automated driving. There may be fewer sensors and cameras than before (12 and four respectively over the W212 model), but they all feature increased functionality which reduces cost and complexity.