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 should see the next generation of the car sometime in 2016, with it arriving in showrooms by the fall of that year or by early 2017. We now have photos of what’s likely to be one of the first test mules for the new E-Class.
The photos show a C-Class sedan with substantially wider wheel arches at both ends and a stretched hood. Our photographer tells us that the overall length of the car is a few centimeters longer than even the long-wheelbase C-Class L
introduced for the Chinese market, which suggests that hidden underneath are mechanicals for the new E-Class.
It also makes sense as the new E-Class will ride on Mercedes’ modular MRA platform that debuted in the 2015 C-Class
, which means the new E-Class should be lighter and more rigid than the current model. The MRA platform makes extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and can also accept alternative powertrains.
The new E-Class will also benefit from a nine-speed automatic transmission
, which has already been made available on the 2015 CLS-Class
and versions of the E-Class sold overseas. 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.
Though yet to be confirmed, though it’s looking likely given the length of this test mule, 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, wagon, coupe and convertible.
With the 2015 C-Class slated to spawn new coupe and convertible models, designers are said to be making the two-door E-Classes more premium. They should be larger than the current versions and fitted with better materials too. The styling of the new E-Class is said to be sportier and more aerodynamic than what you see on the current model, though the dual-lens headlight theme is expected to remain. A third generation of the CLS-Class is also planned; like the previous two, the new CLS will essentially be a four-door coupe version of the new E-Class.
Stay tuned for updates as development progresses._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.