We already know the car will ride on Mercedes’ modular MRA platform debuting in the 2015 C-Class, which means the 2017 E-Class should be lighter and more rigid than the current model. The platform makes extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and can also accept alternative powertrains.
The 2017 E-Class will also benefit from a nine-speed automatic transmission, which has already been introduced on the current E-Class overseas and will be offered here for the 2015 model year. 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.
Recently, Autobild (via World Car Fans) managed to dig up a few more details on the 2017 E-Class. The German magazine is reporting that the new E-Class will have a longer wheelbase than the current one and will 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 and fitted with better materials than the current versions. 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.
The first test mules should appear later this year or early next.