2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class detailed

15 January 2016
 by 
, CarsGuide

Top-end tech trickles through the ranks at ever-increasing speed.

Do not adjust your eyes. This is the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, not its smaller C-Class sibling.

It is part of Mercedes' plan to give its range of sedans a corporate look, rather than the individual designs of the past.

While the fifth-generation E-Class might look rather conventional in these photos, it is in fact the most advanced sedan in the world.

It's loaded with more autonomous driving technology than any mass-production car before it,, including the ability to overtake another car on the open road automatically at the press of a button.

Despite the striking similarities between the new E-Class and its C-Class stablemate, Mercedes is confident buyers will want to upgrade, and not just because of the extra gadgets or rear legroom.

The new E-Class adopts most of its luxury equipment from the flagship $200,000 S-Class sedan, notably the superwide display screen that stretches half way across the dashboard.

The new E-Class also has more technology than the pride of the Mercedes fleet, even though its $80,000 starting price is less than half that of the Benz limousine.

The luxury market is now so competitive, car companies can no longer reserve their latest and greatest technology for the most expensive model in the range.

"We cannot wait any more," said the head of Mercedes-Benz research and development, Thomas Weber.

"When we get the technology we put it in the next model coming along, and then update the others as fast as possible."

The new E-Class goes on sale in Australia in June

The E-Class is the first Mercedes sedan with new "multibeam" LED headlights; 84 individually controlled LEDs give the driver high beam coverage without dazzling the drivers of oncoming cars. The lights still illuminate the area before and after oncoming vehicles as they drive by.

A camera in the windscreen tracks the movement of the oncoming car and blanks out the LEDs that point directly towards it.

It's similar lighting technology to what will appear on top end versions of the new Holden Astra at the end of 2016.

Despite its sleek and compact appearance, the body of the new E-Class has grown in every dimension compared with the previous model. There is a greater distance between the front and rear wheels (for more legroom) and it has a bigger boot than before, although Mercedes is keeping exact details under wraps for now.

Despite the growth spurt, Mercedes claims the new E-Class is 100kg lighter than before. The company says it will slip through the air with a new level of aerodynamic efficiency (for the tech heads, a coefficient of drag of 0.23cd on the eco model) thanks to the use of "shutters" behind the grille that close in certain situations, to better deflect air.

Under the bonnet there will initially be a choice of three engines when the new E-Class goes on sale in Australia in June.

There will be a turbo petrol four-cylinder, a turbo diesel four-cylinder and a turbo diesel V6, although the range will eventually be expanded to include five other engine variants including an inline six-cylinder turbo petrol and inline six-cylinder turbo diesel.

By the middle of 2017 the new E-Class range will be joined by a plug-in hybrid and a high performance E63 AMG sedan, said to be all-wheel-drive for Australia for the first time, to tame the awesome power and differentiate it from the C63 AMG sedan.

The new E-Class will also have as an option Mercedes' latest "multi chamber" air suspension which, unlike earlier air suspension arrangements, doesn't clang over bumps and is much closer to delivering the promise of a magic carpet ride.

But there is one piece of magic that may not initially make it to Mercedes E-Class models sold in Australia.

In Europe the new E-Class is available with optional Remote Parking Pilot.

It's designed to enable drivers to get out of the vehicle and then reverse it remotely into a tight parking space, or get it out of a tight spot.

BMW has a similar system on the new 7 Series but uses a bespoke key, whereas Mercedes uses a smartphone app.

But neither brand has these functions activated on cars in Australia as yet.

At the moment, Australian Design Rules don't allow the remote parking technology but it is under review and may be introduced at a later date.

Which piece of E-Class tech are you most looking forward to trickling down to other cars? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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