A prototype of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213) has been photographed while undergoing preliminary testing abroad. The car, which is due in 2016, was seen in its production body kit. The car is also expected to debut a brand new range of ultra-efficient engines with a high voltage electrical system.
Amid the swirls of camouflage one can make out the styling heritage quite distinctly. It becomes clear that the new E-Class borrows design traits from the flagship sedan S-Class. The new E-Class will be underpinned by the MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform. This means, the car will grow in length and size and the rear legroom will be present with the extended wheelbase. The E-Class will arrive in the now traditional forms: sedan, station wagon, coupe and convertible.
The car is one to watch out for as the company is toying with a new engine technology. In terms of figures, if one were to explain the mills, then we may expect the new engines to have displacements ranging from 2.2 to 3.5-litres. We might also see a 2.9-litre turbodiesel rated at 308.4bhp and 394.2bhp, as well as hybrid and/or plug-in hybrid setups mixing up 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines with an electric motor rumoured to develop about 120bhp.
The engine line-up will once again be topped by an AMG variant that will likely be equipped with the recently introduced V8 4.0-litre twin-turbo found in the AMG GT and C63 AMG. Some of the engines will probably be offered with a nine-speed automatic gearbox already available on the current generation E350 BlueTEC.
The development on the engine front was confirmed by Mercedes-Benz's board member for research and development, Thomas Weber, to Drive magazine on the sidelines of the Paris Motor Show. He said that the brand is in the final stages of development for a high-tech, modular engine family – potentially consisting of three, four and six-cylinder in-line motors – that will feature variable compression ratio technology which offers a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption yet conversely produces more power than today's conventional combustion engines. "It could be that it is linked to that," Weber said in response to whether the E-Class will be the first to debut the technology.
"We have launched the (A-Class) compact family, the S-Class is in the market, the C-Class is in the market so it could be likely that some announcements on this will take place with this (E-Class).
"It is clearly on our road map," he added. "What we are talking about is an engine that has an in-line four displacement with a power output comparable to a six cylinder. This really highly efficient, powerful engine... really supports our drive to reduce fuel consumption down."
The E-Class has been a pillar of sales for the Mercedes-Benz stable even in India. With this new generation E-Class, the company aims to outdo itself. While the appearance is expected to be much sportier, there will also be a series of firsts with the car, especially in terms of technology. These are early days to comment much on the car as only sketchy details are available, but rest assured the E-Class has plans to stun competition.