Mercedes-Benz’s current E-Class has been on sale since the 2010 model year, and for 2014 it was given a major update. In Mercedes tradition, we’ll see the next generation of the popular luxury sedan introduced for the 2017 model year, meaning it will be unveiled in the next six to 12 months or so. We now have new spy shots of a prototype for the next-gen E-Class, which at present appears very much like the latest C-Class and S-Class it will sit between.
Our earliest shots showed the new E-Class as a test mule, with the mechanicals hidden beneath the body of a makeshift C-Class. This makes sense as the new E-Class will ride on Mercedes’ modular MRA platform, which debuted in the latest C-Class and has since made its way into the GLK-replacing GLC. This means the new E-Class will be lighter, more rigid and more efficient than the current one; the MRA platform makes extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and can also accept alternative powertrains. Autonomous driving technology is also a key element of the MRA platform. Autonomous systems more advanced than anything we've seen yet on a production car will feature in the new E-Class.
The new E-Class will also benefit from a nine-speed automatic transmission, which has already been made available on the 2015 CLS and versions of the current E-Class. We’ve also heard that a straight-six engine will be offered on the new E-Class. This will be a modular design, allowing it to share components and production lines with smaller four- and three-cylinder units also in the works. A similar strategy has already been employed by BMW. There will also be a high-performance E63 AMG variant, which has also been spied. It will adopt AMG’s new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and have an output close to 600 horsepower.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class spy shotsEnlarge Photo
This single shot offering a glimpse at the interior reveals an upmarket design very similar to the one in the latest S-Class, with a digital screen sitting at the top of the center stack and four round air vents below it. Like in the S-Class, the digital screen probably flows into the car's main instrument cluster.
Though yet to be confirmed, though it’s looking likely given the length of this prototype, the new E-Class will have a longer wheelbase than the current one. The car is also expected to once again come in five different bodystyles: sedan, long-wheelbase sedan (for China only), wagon, coupe and convertible.
With the latest C-Class slated to spawn new coupe and convertible models, designers are said to be making two-door E-Class variants much more premium than the current offerings. They should be larger and fitted with better materials, too. A third generation of the CLS is also planned; like the previous two, the new CLS will essentially be a four-door coupe version of the new E-Class.
A world debut for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class could take place at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show in January. Stay tuned for updates as development continues.