Only Mercedes fanatics will notice the subtle exterior revisions to the 2007 E-class. The big news is under the skin. Conventional hydraulic brakes return to the E-class after a four-year hiatus (the 2003-06 E-class used troublesome and reviled electrohydraulic brakes), and the S-class’s 382-hp V-8 appears in the E550. Its official debut will come at the New York auto show in April.
Up front, the only noticeable change in appearance is the reshaped front air dam which now features three distinct openings instead of the narrow slits on the current model. In back, the changes are equally subtle. The taillights have the same shape, but the reflector mix is different. The chrome strip above the license plate now runs wider across the back and the exhaust pipes are no longer integrated into the rear fascia.
The real news for the Mercedes E-Class will be the addition of the 5.5-liter V8 engine first introduced in the S550 sedan. With 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, the new eight-cylinder should be more than enough to keep the E550 competitive with BMW’s 550i and the Audi A6. The base E350 will remain and both models will use Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic transmission. The Bluetec diesel introduced at the Detroit auto show in January will also be part of the lineup, but it has yet to be determined whether it will attain the 50-state status Mercedes is hoping for.