Mercedes-Benz is in the final stages of developing its next-generation E-Class, with the new mid-size sedan most likely debuting at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show next January. Sales, meanwhile, should start in the fall of next year, making it a 2017 model.
We’ve been spying prototypes for more than a year but now we have our first look at a long-wheelbase variant thought to be grouped under the newly established Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. Mercedes-Maybach has been tasked with building ultra-luxurious versions of regular Mercedes models, and so far we’ve seen a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class Pullman.
Next in line is likely to be a Mercedes-Maybach E-Class, as hinted at previously by the automaker’s local chief Steve Cannon.
2017 Mercedes-Maybach E-Class spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
Mercedes has offered stretched E-Class sedans in the past, the most recent being the E-Class L offered exclusively in China. However, these have simply been fitted with stretched rear doors and interiors virtually identical to those of the regular E-Class models.
What makes us think this latest prototype is for a Mercedes-Maybach E-Class is a hidden window located behind the rear door. This section is covered in camouflage gear but the expanse of metal will almost certainly be broken up by a window, just like on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. And those blacked-out rear windows are likely hiding a pair of individual, executive-style seats.
2016 Mercedes-Maybach S-ClassEnlarge Photo
Like the outgoing E-Class L, the Mercedes-Maybach E-Class will be targeted at the Chinese market where the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has proven a hit. This time around, however, other markets will likely be offered the chance to purchase the car.
Look for range-topping trim levels only, meaning an E550 (E500 in other markets) at launch and possibly a plug-in hybrid at some point.
A debut will likely take place at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show next April.