With the launch of the new E-Class, Mercedes-Benz is continuing a success story which is without parallel in the luxury-class car segment: Since 1947, when the Model 170 V was introduced as the direct forerunner of the E-Class, the Stuttgart-based automaker has produced more than ten million saloons in this vehicle category. In 2002 alone, some 1.3 million drivers chose the E-Class, whose market share of up to 40 percent makes it the top seller in this market segment in Germany and many other countries in Western Europe.
But as well as being by far the best-established and most successful business
saloon, the E-Class is the "heart" of the Mercedes brand - it is the typical Mercedes-Benz. No other model reflects the core values of the brand as precisely as the E-Class: safety, comfort, environmental compatibility, design, quality and individuality.
The new E-Class represents another major advance by Mercedes-Benz in all these fields as the saloon marks the series-production debut of a series of innovative technical features which cannot be found in any other car in this vehicle category - from the drowsiness detection system to automatic emergency braking when an accident is imminent, from Adaptive Highbeam Assist to the Active Bonnet with its reversible actuation mechanism, from the air suspension with electronically controlled damping to the trend-setting BlueTEC exhaust aftertreatment system.
Mercedes-Benz is also offering the saloon as a specially protected E-Guard model. This is mainly distinguishable from the standard model by a network of intelligently conceived protective features of special steel, which are invisibly integrated beneath the otherwise identical body. This protective cocoon also includes all-round polycarbonate glazing. Accordingly the new E-Guard Saloon offers its occupants effective protection against the increasing worldwide risk of criminal attack in the street. With this new Guard model, Mercedes-Benz is continuing its eight decades of expertise in the design and production of special protection vehicles.
Along with innovation, individuality has always been one of the outstanding characteristics of the E-Class. And the new saloon is no exception: For example, the model range comprises ten engines, two drive concepts and three suspension variants. Further scope for individual configuration exists in the choice of two design and equipment lines, twelve wheel/tyre combinations in 16, 17, 18 or 19-inch size, twelve exterior paint finishes and six different seat upholstery materials in up to five colour combinations . The choice of interior trim has been doubled versus the preceding series, with the range now including high-gloss exotic wood, open-pored wood and aluminium.
The standard-equipment version is complemented by two design and equipment lines which form the basis for the individualisation of the E-Class. These lines emphasise the outstanding characteristics of the new Mercedes model and offer drivers scope for adjusting the car’s appearance and equipment in line with their personal tastes and lifestyle.
Standard equipment: Safety and comfort features expanded significantly
As well as incorporating the perennial core values of the E-Class, such as comfort, safety and style, the standard-equipment version includes the following items as standard:
- Adaptive airbags for driver and front passenger
- Adaptive brake lights, flashing
- Active Bonnet with reversible actuation mechanism
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
- Connector for external audio device
- Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors
- Selector lever for automatic transmission on steering wheel (V6 and V8 models)
- Audio 20 CD radio with twin tuner, CD player and eight loudspeakers
- Brake Assist
- ADAPTIVE BRAKE system with Hold function and Hill Start Assist
- Direct-Steer system (V6 and V8 models)
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) with acceleration skid control (ASR)
- DIRECT CONTROL suspension with adaptive damping control
- Colour display in dashboard
- Five-speed automatic transmission (E 250 CDIand E 250 CGI)
- Belt tensioners and belt force limiters for outer rear seats
- Belt tensioners and belt force limiters for driver and front passenger
- Ventilated glove compartment
- Remote boot lid unlocking
- LED rear lights
- ISOFIX child-seat attachment points
- THERMATIC automatic climate control with combined activated charcoal filter
- THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control (E 500 and E 500 4MATIC)
- Kneebag for driver
- NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints
- Light-alloy wheels
- AIRMATIC air suspension (E 500 and E 500 4MATIC)
- ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system
- Multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather with chrome inserts
- PRE-SAFE®anticipatory occupant protection
- Tyrepressure loss warning system
- Shift/selector lever in nappa leather
- Windscreen wipers with intermittent setting and rain sensor
- Six-speed manual transmission
- Sidebags for driver and front passenger
- 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission (V6 and V8 models)
- Daytime driving lights
- Bluetooth hands free system for telephone
- Cruise control
- Front seats electrically adjustable for height, inclination and backrest angle
- Green-tinted windows all round
- Central locking with crash sensor
- High-gloss eucalyptus wood trim elements
AVANTGARDE: A contemporary character with its own front design
In AVANTGARDE guise, the E-Class has a distinctly contemporary and innovative look as a result of additional appointments and equipment, such as...
- 17-inch five-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels
- Ambient lighting
- Bi-xenon headlamps with Intelligent Light System
- Waistline trim strip in polished stainless steel
- 245/45 R 17 wide-base tyres
- Chrome trim strips on sides and rear bumper
- Sporty front bumper
- Automatically dimming interior mirror
- Special interior colours: chestnut brown and natural beige with black roof lining
- Instrument cluster in bright silver with sporty tubular design
- LED daytime driving lights
- Combined fabric/ARTICO man-made leather upholstery
- Headlamp cleaning system
- Seats with padded horizontal piping
- Sporty, lowered suspension set-up
- Chromed radiator grille with three louvres painted in high-gloss black
- All-LED tail lights
- Trim elements in black high-gloss ash wood (optional: brushed aluminium)
ELEGANCE: A stylish presence with extensive use of chrome
The ELEGANCE line (standard for E 500 and E 500 4MATIC) lives up to its name by emphasising the elegant, classic character of the E-Class — with the following additions to the standard equipment, for example:
- 16-inch ten-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels
- Ambient lighting
- Wide-base tyres: 225/55 R 16 or 245/R 17 (for V8 models)
- Chrome trim strips on front bumper, sides and rear bumper
- Front bumper with black air intake and chrome trim strips
- Automatically dimming interior mirror
- Chromed radiator grille with four louvres painted in silver
- Seats with longitudinal piping pattern
- Trim elements in brown high-gloss burr walnut wood
AMG sports package: Exclusivity on 18-inch wheels
In addition to the design and equipment lines, the AMGsports package offers customers further scope for equipping the new E-Class in line with their personal tastes while adding emphasis to the dynamic character of the saloon. The package contains high-quality features, most of which are not available separately. For example:
- 18-inch five-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels
- Wide-base tyres: 245/40 R 18 (front) and 265/35 R 18 (rear)
- Larger brake discs
- Nappa leather three-spoke sports steering wheel with shift paddles
- Floor mats with AMGlettering
- Perforated brake discs and brake callipers featuring the Mercedes logo
- Shift paddles on steering wheel (if automatic transmission is fitted)
- Black fabric roof lining
- 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with M programme
- Lowered sports suspension
- Brushed stainless steel sports pedals with black rubber studs
- Front sports seats in DINAMICA microfibre and ARTICO man-made leather
- AMG front and rear aprons and side skirts
Exclusive package: Sheer indulgence for drivers
For particularly discerning drivers, Mercedes-Benz has put together the Exclusive package which includes:
- Velour floor mats in appointments colour with nubuck border
- Wood steering wheel
- Roof lining, sun visors and pillar trim in Alcantara
- High-quality dashboard finish with decorative stitching
- Seat upholstery, armrests and door panels in nappa leather
Equipment packages: Combinations of safety and comfort technology
No other car offers such a comprehensive and intelligently matched array of advanced driver assistance systems as the new E-Class. To allow drivers to enjoy the benefits of these technologies to the full, Mercedes-Benz offers certain inno-vative features as optional packages. This approach ensures that the systems
operate perfectly together and complement each other’s functionality:
- The Lane Tracking package contains newly developed features which support the driver by helping to prevent accidental lane departure and aiding safe lane changing: Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
- The principal systems which Mercedes-Benz offers in the Driving Assistance package are designed to make an active contribution to avoiding head-to-tail collisions: the radar-based DISTRONIC PLUSproximity control system, Brake Assist PLUS and the PRE-SAFE® Brake automatic braking system. This package also includes Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
- Mercedes-Benz has put together the Light package for drivers who are often on the road at night. Along with bi-xenon headlamps, the Intelligent Light System and LED daytime driving lights this package includes the new Adaptive Highbeam Assist function.
- The new E-Class offers comfort-conscious customers the Active Multicontour Seat package, containing the newly developed multicontour seats with massage and dynamic function. Mercedes-Benz offers the multicontour seats with adjustable seat cushion length and side bolster support in the Multicontour Seat package.
- The Rear Comfort package includes leather-upholstered luxury individual rear seats for the rear passengers, luxury head restraints, roller sunblinds integrated in the rear doors and an electrically operated roller blind on the interior of the rear window.
- The Memory package offers electrically adjustable seats with 4-way lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger as well as a memory function for the seats, exterior mirrors and steering column.
- The Mirror package consists of automatically dimming interior and exterior mirrors as well as electrically folding exterior mirrors.
- The Sun Protection package contains an electrically operated roller sunblind for the rear window, manually operated roller sunblinds in the rear doors and luxury, two-part folding sun visors for the driver and front passenger.
- The KEYLESS-GO package consists of the KEYLESS-GO automatic vehicle unlocking functionality and remote boot closing.
- The Anti-Theft Protection package contains the anti-theft alarm system with interior monitoring and tow-away protection.
The new E-Class points the way ahead. An executive saloon whose design positively exudes status. New lines make the car appear even more effortlessly superior and imposing than before, lending it added masculinity. A strong yet familiar character that clearly originates from good stock. The identity features are unequivocal: the louvre structure of the radiator grille is classic Mercedes, while the twin-headlamp face has been a characteristic E-Class hallmark for 14 years now.
Nevertheless, even with these familiar styling elements, the design idiom remains vibrant and fits in perfectly with the Saloon’s more striking appearance: housed in a three-dimensionally shaped chrome frame, the radiator grille radiates presence by virtue of its dynamic V-shape and is also far more steeply raked than previously, allowing the new E-Class to emphasise its status without being brash; understatement is and will remain the style of this model series.
Once again the E-Class is seen "with new eyes": the headlamps – previously always oval in shape - have been given a more progressive slant by the Mercedes designers, drawing inspiration from cubism and its beguiling geometric forms. As a consequence, they look like gemstones that have been cut from the car’s wings with unerring precision. The result is an all-new look – surprising yet unmistakable. Classic E-Class.
Like the headlamps, the bumper blends perfectly into the car’s body, completing the harmonious overall impression of the front section – as if the design were cast from a single mould. The dynamic lines that flow outwards, the distinctively shaped spoiler edges in the lower area and the bumper’s broad air intake emphasise the Saloon’s effortlessly superior aura, making it appear even wider and more athletic than before.
As always, these and other styling elements also enhance the profile of each of the individual lines, helping to accentuate their unique character. Hence the AVANTGARDE line features a front bumper with a sporty design, which looks wider and more athletic than that of the ELEGANCE line on account of the large lower air intake boasting a black painted grille with diamond-shaped perforations typical of a sports car. This impression is reinforced by the LED daytime driving lights, which are integrated in an attractively styled crossmember; these lights are standard equipment for the AVANTGARDE model, as is the Intelligent Light System with bi-xenon headlamps.
Another feature which makes for clear demarcation between each of the lines is the chromed radiator grille: the grille at the front of the AVANTGARDE model sports a unique look on account of its three high-gloss black louvres, while the design used for the ELEGANCE line stands out by virtue of its four louvres painted in metallic silver. The standard model as a radiator grille with three louvres in stone grey.
Design philosophy: effortless superiority, forwards thrust and sensuality
The slick interplay between lines and surfaces is a key trademark of contemporary Mercedes design. Large, concave or convex surfaces are given structure by taut, clearly defined lines. These lines emerge from the surfaces organically before flowing back into them equally seamlessly. They play with light and shade effectively, creating a range of contrasts whilst also making the body appear longer.
Perhaps the most alluring aspect of this design is its clarity and tranquillity. The focus is on the essentials: the pureness of the forms. There are no needless flourishes, no over-exaggerated trims, no formal over-indulgences. Instead, there is an overriding feeling of serenity, suggesting inner strength and effortless superiority.
The Mercedes designers have perfected this design concept right down to the last detail for the new E-Class. The lines of the side section become linking elements which influence the entire body design. In other words, the front and rear as well as the flanks. By way of example, the character line emerges from the muscular form of the front bumper and, from here, rises continuously rearwards to emphasise the dynamic wedge shape of the body. Above this on each side runs the shoulder line, formed by the bonnet’s joint, which lends the headlamp structure and spans the entire flank, culminating at the luggage compartment, where it gives the appearance of supporting the C-pillar.
Sitting proudly atop the tranquil surfaces and dynamic lines of the side sections, the roof emerges from the A-pillars – which themselves sweep majestically into the wings – and rises smoothly rearwards to lend the Saloon an even greater sense of forwards thrust. The message is unambiguous: this Saloon was designed to forge ahead.
Rear wings: a long-standing tradition still very much alive
The captivating lines of the side section culminate in a new styling element at the rear end, symbolising a further attribute of Mercedes design: a blend of tradition and innovation, of continuity and progress.
The E-Class model tradition stretching back more than six decades is mirrored in the design of the rear wings: the powerful line which spans the rear wheel arch and gives the physical, muscular form of the rear wing a distinctive contour harks back to the famous "Ponton" (three-box-body) Mercedes. This precursor to the E‑Class from 1953 boasted a similarly expressive anatomy, lending it a robust character – a symbolic feature and hallmark of the E-Class. And living proof of how this model series draws together the past and the future in perfect harmony. Keeping a long-standing tradition very much alive.
Like the shoulder line and character line, the striking line contour of the rear wing performs an integrating function, bringing together the side section and the rear end, since the line running above the rear wheel arch abuts the tail light which, for its part, is drawn deeply into the car’s flank and continues the flow of the line seamlessly at the rear end. The result is a harmonious overall picture – a composition of high aesthetic quality.
Rear end: power and passion
Like the front end, the rear section of the new E-Class emphasises the breadth of the body, thus lending it powerful shape. The taut, well-defined edge of the boot lid, the chromed handle and the bumper covering integrated perfectly into the body are the key elements that create this stylistic impression of width.
The tail lights with their classic Mercedes horizontal look really catch the eye –especially in the case of the light clusters specified as standard for the AVANTGARDE model, featuring LEDs for all the tail-light and indicator functions. A special technique is used make the LED units, which are activated in darkness, stand out from the hazily illuminated background so that they appear to be hovering in the reflector. The tail lights therefore produce a classic night design which makes the new E-Class unmistakable when viewed from the rear in darkness.
Interior: hallmark Mercedes luxury
Displaying the attention to detail for which Mercedes is renowned, the designers have made each individual element of the interior a beautiful piece in its own right. A piece whose form, colour and material arouse the senses and, moreover, a piece that does its job perfectly. This stylish symbiosis of technology and aesthetics never ceases to captivate, ensuring that the emotions experienced during the first encounter are just as vivid as those felt during the second, third, fourth…
The designers have gone to great lengths to mirror the design idiom of the exterior in the interior and, in so doing, create holistic harmony. By way of example, the wide look of the body design is reflected in the horizontally oriented lines of the dashboard, emphasising the pleasant feeling of spaciousness on board the E-Class.
This overriding impression of width is predominantly down to the distinctive fine-wood or refined aluminium trim and the precisely integrated ventilation outlets. Thanks to the seamless continuation of form and material between the dashboard and the door panels, the trim elements cocoon the driver and front passenger, giving them a feeling of reassurance. There is no doubt that that interior of the E‑Class is a space designed to promote wellbeing - an exclusively appointed home in which two aspects matter above all: comfort and relaxation.
As well as being based on an elaborate composition of beguiling forms, fine materials and attractive colours, the high-quality interior of the E-Class is characterised by a further key design element: light. The interior of the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models features discreet yet effective lighting: thin optical fibres located behind the trim elements on the dashboard and above the door centre panels create a harmonious band of light running around the inside of the car, ensuring that the feeling of high quality and interior space can be experienced at night as well as during the day.
In this sense, the new E-Class fulfils a desire expressed by many people – for security, enjoyment and aesthetics – that has lead to the development of a new lifestyle in recent years: a new living and motoring culture. The aim is to achieve tranquillity and wellbeing. And to delight in the finer things in life which offer both exceptional comfort and outstanding practicality.
Materials: nature in its purest form
This "welcome-home" feeling is achieved primarily thanks to the use of materials of natural origin - wood and leather. There are a total of four handcrafted wood trims to choose from for the new Mercedes Saloon:
- Standard appointments High-sheen eucalyptus
- ELEGANCE High-sheen burr walnut in brown or optional open-pore ash in brown
- AVANTGARDE High-sheen ash in black
The new, open-pore finish makes the wood trim appear extremely authentic, bringing a piece of practically unaltered nature into the interior of the E-Class.
Those who attach greater importance to sportiness and modernity can opt for high-quality aluminium in place of fine wood. In the standard model, Mercedes‑Benz offers the metal with an embossed surface, while the AVANTGARDE line features the option of aluminium trim elements with a brushed surface.
The wood or aluminium appointments in the E-Class Saloon are made all the more lavish, since the large trim elements on the dashboard and the door linings are accompanied by a second trim level which further enhances the front section of the centre console and the armrests in the doors. In addition to this, the controls for the automatic climate control system fitted as standard in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models are embedded in fine wood.
Leather is the second natural material used to enhance the feeling of wellbeing on board. Even the standard version of the new E-Class features a multifunction steering wheel and a shift/selector lever trimmed in fine nappa leather. Leather seats are available as optional extras and, if the Exclusive package is ordered, the seats, armrests and door centre panels are trimmed in fine nappa leather.
Centre console: large stowage compartments and soft handrest
If the E-Class is ordered with the seven-speed automatic transmission and DIRECT SELECT gearshift on the steering column, the shift/selector lever usually found on the centre console is replaced by a closable stowage compartment with a wood-trimmed sliding cover or a double cup holder suitable for various cups, cans or bottles with a diameter of up to 82 millimetres. The control panel incur-porating the controller and further buttons is located behind this. The soft handrest, featuring indirect lighting in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models, makes the controller extremely easy to operate and also serves as an opener for the spacious stowage compartment between the front seats, which has a capacity of around five litres and, as an option, can house the mobile-phone cradle.
Models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic transmission feature an asymmetrically split armrest which protrudes further forwards on the driver’s side, serving as a practical handrest for operating the controller. Behind this is the large stowage compartment, while a further compartment, which can optionally be used as a double cup holder, is concealed beneath the retractable cover on the right-hand side of the centre console.
Colour concept: feel-good factor as standard
Inside the new E-Class, the welcoming interior appointments are finished in pleasant colours. The Mercedes designers have compiled a wide range of colours and colour combinations for the various lines and materials:
- Standard appointments black or black/alpaca grey
- ELEGANCE black or reef grey/alpaca grey
- AVANTGARDE black or black/alpaca grey
- AMG Sports package black
If leather appointments are specified, the range of colours and colour combinations available for personalising the interior is even wider:
- Standard appointments black or reef grey/alpaca grey
- ELEGANCE mocha brown/almond beige or reef grey/alpaca grey or black
- AVANTGARDE black/almond beige or black/chestnut brown or black/natural beige or black/alpaca grey or black
Mercedes-Benz offers a choice of twelve different paint colours for the body of the new E-Class.
Cockpit: sporty or elegant
Likewise, the instrument cluster reflects the different characters of the lines: the standard model and the ELEGANCE line have circular instruments with chrome surrounds, white illumination and a black background. In the AVANTGARDE cockpit, meanwhile, the instruments feature a matt-silver painted background and deep, slanting tubes, giving them a sporty, elegant aura. Fine chrome rings on the faces underline the high-quality impression of both cockpit variants.
Control concept: a perfect blend of form and function
Fewer switches but more functions. A simple way of expressing the basic principle behind the controls in modern-day cars. The controller on the centre tunnel in the new E-Class puts a whole range of functions at the driver’s fingertips. It is linked to the large colour display on the dashboard and allows operation of the navigation system, car radio, telephone, DVD player and other components of the infotainment system. For other functions, Mercedes-Benz has developed hotkeys which are located alongside the controller, on the centre console and in the door panels. The twelve-button multifunction steering wheel is another main protagonist of the sophisticated control and display concept (also see page 79).
Controllers, buttons, dials and displays are key interfaces between the driver and the car. As well as being simple, precise and intuitive, they need to be a pleasure to use and stir the emotions. This is why both looks and feel were top priorities when the Mercedes designers came to design the controls for the new E-Class. The exquisite integration of the switches and buttons into the interior design concept was just as important as the pleasant feeling of touching the control surfaces or the soft "click" heard when pressing the buttons.
Having achieved major advances in the field of occupant protection, Mercedes‑Benz is focussing more than ever on preventing traffic accidents and reducing accident severity as part of its commitment to road safety. To this end, the E-Class is equipped with tried-and-trusted technology in the shape of ABS, ESP® and Brake Assist as well as around a dozen new or modified driver assistance systems which are specially configured to help prevent frequent causes of accidents such as being too close to the vehicle in front, dangerous lane changes, excessive speed, drowsiness, darkness and lane departure.
This combination of safety technologies, which is unique in the world, make the E‑Class part of the "thinking" process – a car that is capable of seeing clearly, reacting instinctively and acting autonomously thanks to radar, cameras and
ATTENTION ASSIST, fitted as standard, even enables the new Mercedes Saloon to "feel": the system’s highly sensitive sensors monitor the driver’s behaviour and, based primarily on the steering wheel movements, detect when the driver is becoming drowsy. With this system, Mercedes-Benz is making a further contribution towards preventing accidents as, according to studies, around a quarter of all serious road accidents are caused by drowsy drivers – making drowsiness an even bigger cause of accidents than drink-driving.
The ATTENTION ASSIST system newly developed by Mercedes-Benz records over 70 parameters which are then assessed for the purpose of drowsiness detection. This continuous monitoring is crucial for detecting the floating transition from awakeness to drowsiness and for giving the driver plenty of warning.
Based on this wealth of data, ATTENTION ASSIST calculates an individual driver profile during the first few minutes of every trip. This profile is then compared with the current sensor data and the prevailing driving situation by the car’s electronic control unit. In addition to the vehicle speed, lateral acceleration and longitudinal acceleration, the Mercedes system also detects use of the turn indicators and pedals as well as certain control inputs and external influences such as side winds or road unevenness, for example.
Steering behaviour a key indicator of drowsiness
Four years of development and testing work on the ATTENTION ASSIST system revealed steering behaviour to be an extremely meaningful indicator of drowsiness. In the tests involving over 670 drivers, the Mercedes scientists determined that drowsy drivers have trouble steering a precise course in their lane, making minor steering errors that are often corrected quickly and abruptly. This effect occurs at an early stage when drowsiness kicks in – often before the dangerous situation in which the driver falls asleep momentarily.
If the system detects drowsiness, it emits an audible warning signal and flashes up an unequivocal message on the display in the instrument cluster: "ATTENTION ASSIST. Break!"
ATTENTION ASSIST is fitted as standard in the new E-Class; it is active at speeds of between 80 and 180 km/h.
Light package: optimum light distribution in every driving situation
Driving a car at night will be even safer in future. Mercedes-Benz is unveiling an innovative system which adjusts the range of the headlamps automatically based on the distance to oncoming vehicles or moving vehicles in front of the car with their lights on. The system, called Adaptive Highbeam Assist, always selects the optimum headlamp range, allowing the driver to see the course of the road, pedestrians or danger spots at an earlier stage than would otherwise be possible.
Mercedes-Benz offers this new development as part of an optional package which also includes bi-xenon headlamps, the Intelligent Light System and LED daytime driving lights. In contrast to conventional systems, which merely switch between low beam and high beam, Adaptive Highbeam Assist controls the light distribution as the driving situation allows. The low-beam range can therefore be increased from around 65 to up to 300 metres – without dazzling other motorists. If the system detects oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, it adapts the headlamp range continuously, based on the distance to these vehicles, so that the cone of light emitted by the headlamps ends before it reaches these vehicles. In addition, Adaptive Highbeam Assist takes into account the steering angle in order to dim the headlamps on tight bends. If the road ahead is clear, the system switches to high beam with a minimum of fuss.
Realistic tests confirm that motorists who use Adaptive Highbeam Assist are safer on the road in the dark: dummies placed at the side of the road to simulate pedestrians were detected from a distance of around 260 metres – around 150 metres earlier than is the case when conventional low beam is used – despite the presence of oncoming traffic. The new Mercedes assistance system therefore offers more than double the safety at night. What’s more, it relieves driver stress as there is no longer any need to repeatedly flick the stalk on the steering wheel. So the driver can concentrate more on actually driving the car.
This innovative Mercedes technology is based on a camera, located on the inside of the windscreen, which monitors the traffic situation in front of the car. Thanks to an intelligent image-processing algorithm, the camera is able to detect other vehicles and the distance to them. The range of the variable-control bi-xenon headlamps is set based on these findings and adapted continuously depending on the distance to the vehicle in front or the oncoming traffic. The system operates at lightning speed, sending new data to the headlamps every 40 milliseconds.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist is ready to act at speeds above 55 km/h and operates autonomously once the driver has moved the rotary light switch to the "Auto" position and selected high beam using the multifunction stalk on the steering wheel.
Intelligent Light System with five light functions
As well as Adaptive Highbeam Assist, the Light package for the new E-Class includes the Intelligent Light System, whose five light functions are designed specifically for typical driving situations or weather conditions:
- Country mode
- Motorway mode
- Enhanced fog lamps
- Active light function
- Cornering light function
Low beam is replaced by country mode, which illuminates the driver’s-side edge of the road more brightly and widely than before. In the dark, this enables the driver to appraise the situation more effectively and respond more rapidly when other road users cross their path.
At speeds above 90 km/h, motorway mode is activated automatically, increasing the driver’s range of vision by up to 60 percent. This lighting function is activated in two stages: the Intelligent Light System first increases the output of the bi‑xenon bulbs from 35 to 38 watts, thereby increasing the light intensity and providing noticeably better illumination of the road ahead and the side verges. The second stage is triggered at 110 km/h, when the beam of the bi-xenon module on the driver’s side is elevated slightly. Motorway mode has a range of around 120 metres, and the driver is able to see about 50 metres further at the centre of this cone of light than is the case with conventional low-beam headlamps.
With the enhanced fog lamps, Mercedes-Benz improves driver orientation when visibility is poor. The new lighting function is activated at speeds below 70 km/h, as soon as the rear fog lamp is switched on. The variable headlamp technology incorporated in the Intelligent Light System makes it possible to pivot the bi‑xenon headlamp on the driver’s side outwards by eight degrees, while lowering the beam of light at the same time. This adjustment illuminates the inner half of the road more brightly and reduces the degree of glare from light reflected back by the fog.
The Intelligent Light System, part of the Light package, also includes the active light and cornering light functions. These are switched on automatically: depending on the steering angle, yaw rate and vehicle speed, the active light function pivots the headlamps sideways by up to 15 degrees almost instantaneously, thereby greatly enhancing illumination of the road. On an extended bend with a radius of 190 metres, this system enables the driver to see 25 metres further than is possible with conventional low-beam headlamps. This function operates in both low-beam and high-beam mode.
The cornering light function improves safety at crossroads, at T-junctions and on tight bends. It is activated automatically when the driver turns the steering wheel at a speed below 70 km/h. The headlamps then illuminate the area diagonally in front of the vehicle for a distance of around 30 metres, with a coverage angle of up to 65 degrees.
Standard features on the distinctive twin-headlamp face of the new E-Class include halogen headlamps. For low beam, the Mercedes engineers have developed a sophisticated projection system, which is housed in the two larger lamps. The inner headlamps, based on reflection technology, provide the high beam and serve as sidelights. Headlamp Assist, which switches on the headlamps automatically when it is raining, at dusk/dawn, in the dark and when entering a tunnel, is likewise specified as standard for the new E-Class.
Daytime driving lights: with LEDs as standard for the AVANTGARDE model
When it comes to road safety, being seen is as just as important as seeing – and not just at night. This is why the standard equipment package for the new E-Class includes daytime driving lights which switch on automatically when the engine is started. They are deactivated when the driver switches on low beam. E-Class AVANTGARDE models and models equipped with the Light package or Night View Assist PLUS feature daytime driving lights based on a total of 14 elegantly arranged LEDs which boast a very high light output but have a very low energy consumption of just ten watts. These are dimmed when low beam is switched on.
Mercedes-Benz also specifies LEDs as standard for the tail, brake and rear fog lights. One of the advantages of LEDs is their quick response, meaning that
drivers behind can be warned earlier when the brakes are applied in the event of danger. Like many modern Mercedes passenger cars, the new E-Class is fitted with adaptive brake lights, which flash four times as fast as the hazard warning lights during an emergency stop and, therefore, provide an extremely effective warning for drivers behind if a head-to-tail collision is imminent.
The combination of directly and indirectly emitting LEDs used for the tail lights ensures that the red sections of the tail lights, which are drawn deeply into the car’s flanks, are illuminated homogeneously, while the indirectly emitting LEDs serve as background lighting and lend this light design its characteristic appearance. LEDs are also used for the indicators on the AVANTGARDE model or on models featuring the optional Light package or the Night View Assist PLUSsystem. The new E-Class can feature a total of up to 354 LEDs, depending on the level of equipment specified.
Night View Assist PLUS with new function for highlighting pedestrians on the display
Mercedes-Benz has modified the familiar Night View Assist system from the S‑Class to include a special pedestrian-detection function. Hence the new name Night View Assist PLUS. As soon as the system detects pedestrians up to 90 metres ahead of the E-Class, they are highlighted by means of a frame with easily visible corners.
Night View Assist PLUSuses infrared technology to improve the driver’s range of vision in the dark and when there is oncoming traffic: two separate headlamps illuminate the road with invisible and, therefore, non-reflective infrared light. A windscreen-mounted camera designed to pick up precisely this type of light records what happens in front of the car and sends the image to a display on the dashboard. The clear, needle-sharp greyscale image that appears here shows the scene in front of the car, allowing the driver to see pedestrians, cyclists or obstacles on the road at an early stage.
Lane Tracking package: a steering wheel that vibrates when the car leaves its lane unintentionally
The Lane Tracking package newly developed for the E-Class (available as an optional extra) incorporates two assistance systems which help the driver stay in lane and change lanes safely: Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
The new Lane Keeping Assist system is based on a camera on the inside of the windscreen, which can detect road markings by evaluating the difference in contrast between the road surface and the markings. Based on this information, an electronic control unit determines the position of the E-Class and detects when the Saloon leaves its lane on the left or right.
Unlike conventional systems of this type, the Mercedes assistance system also assesses the driver’s actions and, in so doing, can reliably ascertain whether the car has left its lane intentionally or unintentionally.
There is therefore no warning if, for example, the driver accelerates before overtaking or joining a motorway, brakes heavily, or steers into a bend.
If Lane Keeping Assist detects that the E-Class is leaving its lane unintentionally, however, it activates an electric motor in the steering wheel, causing the steering wheel to vibrate briefly three times – a discreet yet highly effective way of prompting the driver to countersteer. The timing of the warning depends on the width of the road and the type of lane markings. If the car crosses over a continuous white line on the road, as opposed to a broken white line, the system emits its warning earlier. Lane Keeping Assist operates at speeds of between 60 and 250 km/h – as soon as the system has detected a lane marking.
Warning symbol in the exterior mirror if a dangerous lane change is attempted
The second Mercedes system in the Lane Tracking package, Blind Spot Assist, helps drivers to change lanes safely. It uses short-range radar sensors housed on both sides of the rear bumper to monitor the areas directly to the side of and behind the car. This process enables them to see if there is another vehicle in the adjacent lane – in the blind spot. In such situations at speeds above 30 km/h, the system informs the driver by illuminating a red warning triangle in the glass of the exterior mirror. If the driver fails to see this warning and indicates to change lanes, the warning triangle starts to flash and a warning signal sounds.
Speed Limit Assist: speed limit displayed in the instrument cluster
The newly developed Speed Limit Assist system (optional extra) reminds drivers of the speed limit currently in force by displaying it in the instrument cluster – a further contribution towards preventing accidents.
The image recorded by the windscreen-mounted camera, which monitors the area in front of the car on a permanent basis, is scanned for round surfaces only by an electronic control unit. These surfaces are then highlighted. In the next step, an algorithm filters out all objects that are round but do not resemble traffic signs. Finally, a comparison with stored patterns eliminates all but those objects which the system is programmed to detect: round traffic signs indicating the speed limit. The symbols are sent to the cockpit display, where they remain visible until the speed restriction is lifted or changed. The driver therefore remains fully aware of the current speed limit, enabling them to adjust the car’s speed accordingly.
Thanks to the huge strides forward made in computer-based image-processing technology, Speed Limit Assist is able to work in real time, analysing the images within a fraction of a second so as to provide the driver with the required information practically instantaneously. Plus it makes no difference whether the speed-limit sign is at the side of the road or on a gantry above the road. The system is therefore able to react to variable speed limits (often indicated on gantries) as well as temporarily erected speed-limit signs, for example at road works.
Some of the speed-limit signs in Europe – for example those seen when entering or leaving towns in certain countries – are rectangular. In such cases, the assistance system also scans the data stored on the navigation system’s digital map to check the plausibility of the camera image. The last speed limit detected disappears from the display in the instrument cluster when the car enters a built-up area, for example.
Driver Assistance package: radar systems to help prevent head-to-tail collisions
DISTRONIC PLUS and Brake Assist PLUS (optional extras) – Mercedes assistance systems based on sophisticated radar technology – are highly effective at helping to prevent accidents. This is one of the findings of an analysis carried out by Mercedes-Benz based on representative accident-research data. This technology can prevent a fifth of all head-to-tail crashes in Germany alone. On motorways, the accident rate can be reduced by as much as around 36 percent.Mercedes-Benz has further enhanced the radar technology for the new E-Class. The systems are part of the optionally available Driver Assistance package, which also includes the Lane Tracking package.
DISTRONIC PLUSproximity control operates at speeds of between 0 and 200 km/h: it keeps the car a set distance behind the vehicle in front, applies the brakes as required and can even bring the car to a complete halt, depending on the traffic situation. If the gap to the vehicle in front narrows too quickly, the system gives the driver an audible warning and, as soon as this first warning signal sounds, automatically calculates the brake pressure required to prevent a collision in this situation. This technology helps the driver to gauge the level of risk and, in combination with Brake Assist PLUS, makes the calculated brake boosting force available instantly, even if the driver does not press the brake pedal forcefully enough. Brake Assist PLUSallows controlled, targeted braking and, if necessary, increases the braking force right up to the point at which an emergency stop is performed, depending on the road speed and the distance to the vehicle in front.
Long-range radar with increased range and medium-range detection capability
When a potential accident situation is recognised, assistance is provided courtesy of two short-range radar sensors behind the front bumper and a long-range radar in the radiator grille. Mercedes-Benz has further enhanced the performance capability of these sensors: the new E-Class features a new long-range radar sensor with a range of 200 metres instead of 150 metres as previously. In addition, the sensor now also boasts medium-range detection capability, allowing monitoring of the area up to around 60 metres ahead of the car with a 60-degree beam width. This new technology enables even more accurate monitoring of the traffic situation and even better detection of dynamic events such as a car in front swerving suddenly. The two wide-beam short-range radar sensors with an 80‑degree beam width and a range of around 30 metres are still employed.
Automatic emergency braking provides an "electronic crumple zone"
Accident research shows that drivers do not always react as quickly as is necessary at critical moments – for example because they are distracted and therefore do not recognise the immediate threat of a head-to-tail crash, or because they fail to heed the warning signals given by an assistance system. The PRE‑SAFE® Brake, available as part of the optional Driver Assistance package, intervenes in situations such as these by braking the car automatically.
It does so in two stages: around 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact point – after three audible warning signals – the system initiates partial braking autonomously and decelerates the car with around 40 percent of the maximum braking power (approx four m/s²) as well as activating the reversible PRE-SAFE® occupant protection systems as a precaution.
Designed to supplement the visual and audible warnings, autonomous partial braking gives the driver a further, perceptible signal to act. If the driver then brakes immediately, the maximum braking force is made available or, if the driver swerves, the accident can be avoided at the last moment, depending on the driving situation. If the driver fails to react, however, even after automatic partial braking, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision. This emergency braking can reduce the severity of the impact by a substantial margin.
Impact speed reduced by an average of 16 km/h
Realistic tests carried out by the Mercedes engineers have revealed that autonomous PRE-SAFE® braking reduces the impact speed by 16 km/h on average. The system therefore acts like an "electronic crumple zone", offering the car occupants even greater protection. The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 30 and 200 km/h when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 70 km/h.
Parking aid: ultrasonic measurement of parking spaces
A newly developed system that can help drivers to park safely works on the basis of ultrasonic technology: sideways inclined sensors on the front bumper record the length of a parking space as the car drives past it (at a speed of up to 35 km/h), and indicate on the display whether the space is large enough to park in. After reverse gear has been engaged, instructions for safe parking appear on the display in the instrument cluster.
The tried-and-trusted Mercedes PARKTRONIC system (optional extra), which uses LEDs and audible signals to indicate the distance between the E-Class and an obstacle or another vehicle when parking, is also activated during this parking guidance to assist the driver. Mercedes‑Benz offers a further parking and manoeuvring aid in the shape of a reversing camera which films the area behind the Saloon and sends the image to the display in the instrument cluster.
Aerodynamics: drag coefficient of 0.25 a new record in this vehicle category
Aerodynamics is becoming increasingly important as a development discipline as, in addition to being crucial with respect to safety, an ideal airflow around the vehicle has a major influence on fuel consumption (also see page 87) and noise levels. Mercedes-Benz therefore made aerodynamics a top priority when developing the new E-Class, employing state-of-the-art development and testing processes to further reduce aerodynamic drag, enhance active and perceptual safety, and improve aeroacoustics.
And the result is impressive to say the least: with a drag coefficient (cd figure) of 0.25, the new E-Class is the world’s most aerodynamic standard-production saloon in this market segment, undercutting the already excellent figure achieved by the outgoing model (0.26) by four percent. The effect of the larger front end has been compensated for almost entirely, meaning that the cd x A figure for aerodynamic drag (drag coefficient multiplied by drag area) has only risen very slightly.
As in the case of safety developments, computer simulations are playing an increasingly key role when it comes to aerodynamics. Using a digital prototype, which provides a virtual simulation of the car right down to the last detail, the Mercedes engineers calculated the airflow around the Saloon very early on in the development phase – long before the first real prototypes of the new E-Class had been produced. This approach enabled them to use flow simulations to detect the potential for improvements at an early stage, meaning that the Saloon already displayed excellent aerodynamic characteristics when the subsequent "real" wind tunnel tests began.
Aerodynamic calculations of this kind require computers with exceptional processing power: in the case of the flow analyses performed on the digital prototype of the new E-Class, the computers had to crack differential equations comprising some 30 million fluid elements. Around 36 hours of calculation time on 64 processors are required until, finally, a realistic speed and pressure field appears on the computer monitor.
Hundreds of hours of wind tunnel work to optimise the details
Aerodynamic development involves a great deal of painstaking work and patience. The Mercedes engineers spent hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel, aerodynamically optimising detail after detail whilst at the same time striking an ideal compromise between form and function. Although each of the many individual measures often only resulted in an improvement of a few thousandths, their combined effects produced a highly impressive overall result, namely a drag coefficient of 0.25.
The rear of a car affects the drag coefficient even more than the front section, since the air swirl that can occur here acts like an invisible brake and increases fuel consumption unnecessarily. One of the ways in which the Mercedes experts prevent such air swirl is by incorporating a discreet, barely visible spoiler lip in the central area of the boot lid. In addition to this, they equip the tail-light lenses with special spoiler lips, which direct the airstream flowing along the car’s flanks a long way rearwards; were these small spoiler lips not included, the air would flow inwards at the rear of the E-Class and create a vacuum, which would have a negative impact on both aerodynamic drag and lift.
Further aerodynamically effective details displayed by the new E-Class include:
- Controllable fan shutter: allows the amount of cooling air to be limited as required, depending on the driving situation. Otherwise heavy pressure losses would occur as the air made its way into the engine compartment (also see page 87).
- Aerodynamically optimised light-alloy wheels: reduce airflow separation and flow losses in the area of the wheels.
- Sealed joints between the bonnet and headlamps: ensure an even better airflow around the front section.
- Wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheels: improve the airflow around the tyres and reduce lift.
- Cladding of the engine compartment and the underbody: optimises the flow of cooling air from the engine compartment and prevents flow losses caused by air blockage und swirl on the underbody.
Newly developed exterior mirror housing with triple benefits
The exterior mirrors on the new E-Class are yet another masterstroke on the part of the aerodynamics engineers. Right from the start, their aim was to develop a housing geometry that met specific requirements in three key areas: aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and safety. And they succeeded in this aim. Aerodynamically speaking, the shape of the mirror housings developed in the wind tunnel is so effective that the mirrors only account for around three percent of the body’s total aerodynamic drag. This result can also be heard – or rather not heard – as the exterior mirrors have no effect on the body wind noise. During tests carried out in the aeroacoustics wind tunnel, the Mercedes engineers recorded the same levels on a test car without exterior mirrors as on the car fitted with the newly developed exterior mirrors.
Finally, the exterior mirrors also play a crucial role in terms of perceptual safety as they improve the driver’s visibility when driving in the rain. The mirror housings are designed so that any rainwater hitting them flows outwards in a narrow groove running around the outside so that it can drip off at a precisely defined point. As a consequence, the side windows remain largely clean, affording the driver an unimpeded view of the exterior mirror and the outside. The A-pillars likewise help to keep dirt away from the side windows as they feature special water guides where the rainwater hitting the windscreen is collected before being blown downwards and across the roof by the airflow.
The pioneering work carried out by Béla Barényi enabled Mercedes-Benz to develop the basic principles of passenger-car safety in the 1940s and 1950s. And these principles still apply to this day. Barényi’s ideas first came to fruition in the "Ponton" (three-box body) Mercedes (model series W 120) around 56 years ago in autumn 1953. This precursor to the E-Class was the world’s first car to feature a crash-stable floor assembly, which enhanced occupant safety in the event of a frontal or side impact.
Model series W 111/112 with the distinctive tail fins provided the next milestone in the field of safety technology. From 1959 onwards, these Saloons were the first models into which Mercedes-Benz incorporated front and rear crumple zones. In the event of an accident, these zones absorb energy in a predetermined manner and distribute the impact forces, thus greatly reducing the forces exerted on the occupants. The precursor to the E-Class from the 1960s, the "tail fin" Mercedes (W 110), likewise featured this safety body.
Béla Barényi’s successors at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen have continued to further develop the concepts devised by their mentor based on the latest development and calculation methods and the use of state-of-the-art bodyshell materials. Their level of dedication has reached a new pinnacle with the new E-Class. During the course of its many years of development to date, the Saloon has come through over 150 crash tests and, if the complex pedestrian protection calculations are included, a total of more than 17,000 realistic crash test simulations. The test programme included around 30 different crash tests, which the Saloon had to pass in order to achieve the prescribed ratings and gain world-wide approval, not to mention nine exceptionally demanding, in-house impact tests, some of which go well beyond the statutory requirements. Only cars that pass these tests receive the highest accolade in automotive safety: the Mercedes star.
PRE-SAFE®: anticipatory system incorporating additional protective measures
In the new E-Class, occupant protection actually begins in the phase leading up to a possible accident. The Mercedes PRE-SAFE® invention activates protective measures if there is a risk of an accident, allowing the seat belts and airbags to deploy with maximum effect in the event of a collision. This multi-award-winning technology is fitted as standard in the E-Class, where it offers even more functions than previously.
The Mercedes PRE-SAFE® system takes its lead from nature in that it activates protective measures as a precaution to protect the occupants and the car from an imminent collision, just as living things react instinctively and search for cover when they are in danger. PRE-SAFE® is able to recognise an impending accident because it offers an intelligent synergy of active and passive safety features. It is networked to Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program (ESPÒ), whose sensors recognise potentially dangerous driving situations and then transmit this information to the electronic control units within milliseconds. PRE-SAFE® also uses these sensor data for anticipatory occupant protection.
What’s more, the PRE-SAFE® protective measures are reversible: if the accident is averted, the advance tensioning of the seat belts is halted automatically, and the occupants are able to reset the positions of the seats and the sunroof. The anticipatory occupant protection system is then ready for action again straightaway.
The new E-Class features even more measures aimed at preventing an imminent accident than its predecessor:
Whereas PRE - SAFE ® previously responded to emergency or panic braking – in other words when the driver hit the brake pedal reflexively – the system
- in the new E-Class can also be activated if the optionally available DISTRONIC PLUSsystem’s short- and long-range radars have detected an impending head-to-tail collision and a certain level of deceleration is exceeded when braking. The occupants are prepared for the collision by tensioning of the seat belts and repositioning of the optionally available, fully electrically adjustable front-passenger seat, enabling the seat belts and airbags to be activated and deployed with maximum effect.
- The newly developed active multicontour seat (optional, also see page 67) ensures that the driver and front passenger are seated even more securely, thereby limiting dangerous whiplash movements of the upper body in the event of an accident. If the PRE-SAFE® control unit detects a critical driving situation, it activates the air chambers in the seat cushions and backrests instantaneously. These then envelope the seat occupants and lend them extra support. Tests at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre have shown that this PRE-SAFE® function and preventive belt tensioning increase the distance between the shoulder and the inner door lining by up to 40 millimetres at a lateral acceleration of 0.6 g, enabling the sidebag to fulfil its protective function even more effectively.
When installed in combination with the Driver Assistance package, which includes DISTRONIC PLUS and Brake Assist PLUS, PRE-SAFE® also uses the information provided by the short-range radar sensors in the front bumper to tension the front seat belts at the very last moment before an unavoidable collision, thus reducing the forces exerted on the driver and front passenger during the crash.
This PRE-SAFE® function is literally the "ultima ratio" of anticipatory occupant protection, since the accident occurs around 200 milliseconds later.
Analyses performed during crash tests show just how important and effective anticipatory occupant protection can be. In the case of belt tensioning, for example, the precautionary measures mean that the driver and front passenger are held in their seats in the best possible position and so do not move forwards as much before the impact, thus reducing the load exerted on the head and neck area. These tests showed that the head was subjected to around 30 per cent less stress, while the Mercedes engineers recorded a reduction of around 40 per cent in the neck area.
When installed in combination with the Driver Assistance package, which includes DISTRONIC PLUS and Brake Assist PLUS, PRE-SAFE® also uses the information provided by the short-range radar sensors in the front bumper to tension the front seat belts at the very last moment before an unavoidable collision, thus reducing the forces exerted on the driver and front passenger during the crash.
This PRE-SAFE® function is literally the "ultima ratio" of anticipatory occupant protection, since the accident occurs around 200 milliseconds later.
Analyses performed during crash tests show just how important and effective anticipatory occupant protection can be. In the case of belt tensioning, for example, the precautionary measures mean that the driver and front passenger are held in their seats in the best possible position and so do not move forwards as much before the impact, thus reducing the load exerted on the head and neck area. These tests showed that the head was subjected to around 30 per cent less stress, while the Mercedes engineers recorded a reduction of around 40 per cent in the neck area.
Front-end structure: crumple zone on four levels
Compared to the previous model series, the Mercedes engineers have enlarged the deformation zones substantially in the front and rear sections as well as improving the energy flows. The front crumple zone has four independently- acting impact levels, meaning that the forces can be distributed over a wide area while bypassing the passenger cell.
- 1) Sectional panels above the wheel arches form the upper side-member level. From here, the impact forces are channelled into the A-pillars and, subsequently, into the roof frame.
- 2) An aluminium crossmember connects the forward-extended side members and ensures that the forces are transferred to the side facing away from the impact. The crossmember and the forward-extended side members form the central impact level.
- 3) The subframe to which the engine, steering and front axle are attached also serves as an impact level in the event of a frontal collision. It is made of high-strength steel and, depending on the engine variant, has been connected to the newly developed floor side members by means of special supporting tubes. As a consequence, the subframe can deform in a predetermined manner and absorb energy in the event of a crash on the one hand and channel high impact forces straight into the vehicle floor on the other.
- 4) The side skirts have been extended forwards to support the wheel and prevent it from entering the footwell in the event of an offset frontal collision. In order to provide specifically targeted front-wheel support and location, Mercedes-Benz has also developed special struts and additional energy-absorbing elements for the wheel arches. The struts are arranged diagonally and prevent the passenger cell from sinking in the event of an impact.
The firewall is a four-part construction. This design enables Mercedes engineers to vary the material thickness according to the level of vulnerability in an accident. As the load acting on the firewall during a frontal crash is greatest in the lower section, the sheet steel used here is almost twice as thick.
Materials: around 72 percent of all body parts made from high-strength steel Key aspects of the safety concept at the heart of the new E-Class include intelligent design and meticulous material selection. More so than ever before, Mercedes-Benz has given preference to ultra-high-strength steel alloys because they offer maximum strength whilst minimising weight and, therefore, are essential for meeting the strict safety and durability requirements.
Around 72 percent of all the bodyshell panels for the new E-Class are made from these grades of steel – a new record in passenger-car development. These ultra-high-strength, high-tech alloys, which boast three to four times the tensile strength of conventional high-strength steel grades, account for around eight percent of the weight. They are used at points where the material can be exposed to exceptionally high stresses during an accident – as a material for the B-pillars and the side roof frames to provide side impact protection, for example, or at the rear to produce a robust crossmember.
If these sophisticated alloys were not used, far more material would be required in order to meet the stringent safety requirements. The B-pillar is a perfect case in point: the body components which have to absorb high forces and transfer these into the body structure in the event of a side impact consist of sheet-metal shells and an extensive reinforcement which reaches as far as the upper edge of the belt deflector. One of the shells and the reinforcement are made from ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steel. Were they made using conventional sheet steel, however, the B-pillars would be more than a third heavier. In other words, the ultra-high-strength, high-tech alloy enhances safety whilst also reducing weight.
Doors: sophisticated design for a high level of crash safety
The doors also predominantly consist of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel and, therefore, likewise enable the new E-Class to provide a even higher level of crash safety than the outgoing model – by some considerable margin. The inner door shells comprise steel blanks reinforced by additional sections in the area of the frame and the waistline as well as at bumper height. Additional members made from ultra-high-strength cold-formed steel, located in the lower area between the doors’ inner and outer shells, complement the design measures implemented to enhance side-impact protection. Each of the rear doors houses two of these diagonally arranged sectional panels.
On top of all this, the Mercedes engineers have devoted special attention to the hinges by developing mounting areas with a high load-bearing capacity to create a robust side-structure assembly that provides the occupants with effective protection in the event of a collision.
Aluminium bonnet, wings and boot lid
Finally, the intelligent material concept involved the specifically targeted use of aluminium and plastic, both of which help to save weight above all. Aluminium is used for the bonnet, front wings, boot lid, parcel shelf and various load-bearing sections, for example, while the front end is a hybrid construction made from sheet aluminium and fibreglass-reinforced plastic. The front single-section aluminium crash boxes are inserted into the side members and bolted to them at the side. The other front-end components are likewise bolted together and can therefore be replaced cost-effectively following an accident. Glass fibre matting-reinforced plastic has been used to produce the spare-wheel well.
Body torsional stiffness increased by over 30 percent
As well as being a major reason behind the high level of impact resistance, this intelligently designed bodyshell enhances ride comfort or, to be more precise, reduces noise and vibration. The Sindelfingen engineers paid particular attention to the connecting points between the chassis and body, which have to withstand extremely high loads. These were specifically reinforced to prevent road-induced vibrations from being transferred to the body and so as not to spoil the driving experience.
A reliable indicator of the excellent cumulative effect of these measures is the body’s static torsional stiffness, which has been increased by over 30 percent compared to the outgoing model.
Passenger cell: custom-designed panels and robust load-bearing sections
The passenger cell of the new E-Class is a robust structure which is virtually immune to deformation and keeps the passengers’ survival space intact, even at high impact speeds, regardless of whether the collision is head-on, from the rear or from the side, or whether the vehicle rolls over. The use of high-strength steel and thicker panels plays as important a role here as the installation of additional load-bearing members.
The main floor assembly consists of custom-designed sheet-metal plates that either undergo flexible rolling or are welded together by laser beam and subsequently shaped. Flexible in this sense means that the high-strength steel can be processed in such a way that areas with different steel thicknesses can be produced within a single component. The middle blank forms the tunnel – the actual backbone of the passenger cell. Here the thickness of the custom-designed panels varies between 0.7 and 1.1 millimetres, or between 1.55 and 2.0 millimetres in the case of the additionally fitted tunnel reinforcements, depending on the stresses and loads to which they are exposed.
Other new features which are equally crucial for both occupant protection and the rigidity of the bodyshell include the continuous floor side members, the insides of which are further reinforced with additional sections. Their front sections connect to the side members, thereby lengthening the load-bearing paths along which forces can be distributed in the event of an impact. At the rear, the floor side members extend as far as the crossmember beneath the rear seat unit to stabilise the entire floor structure.
The Mercedes engineers have also incorporated sturdy aluminium transverse sections – known as transmission tunnel braces – into the floor assembly. One is located beneath the transmission, and is designed to direct forces to the side of the vehicle facing away from the impact in the event of a side-on collision. The second forms a connection between the two side members. It likewise braces the floor assembly and is able to channel impact forces into the floor structure at an early stage following a side-on collision.
Rear-end structure that has come through the toughest of crash tests
Multi-piece side members and a robust, flexible crossmember made from ultra-high-strength steel form the key components of the rear-end structure. The rear side members are continuous, closed box sections with carefully graduated material thicknesses. These are able to absorb high forces, thereby making a decisive contribution to occupant safety in the event of a rear impact. The bolt-on flexible crossmember is manufactured using a flexible rolling process which likewise
allows the material thickness to be varied as required. Accordingly, the material thickness on the outside of the crossmember – where impact loads are highest – is greater than on the inside. The new E-Class therefore also meets the world’s most stringent crash regulations where rear impact protection is concerned, for example the 80-km/h test in the US.
As is usual at Mercedes-Benz, the fuel tank is located in a protected position beneath the rear seats, in other words in front of the rear axle and, therefore, outside of the impact zone.
Restraint systems: seven airbags as standard
With seven airbags fitted as standard, not to mention four seat-belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger, the new E-Class offers an even more extensive package of safety equipment than its predecessor. The airbags, which can deploy in a matter of milliseconds in the event of an accident, include two adaptive airbags (for the driver and front passenger), a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front-seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A-pillar to the C‑pillar during a side impact.
In addition, rear sidebags can be ordered as optional extras, giving the new E‑Class at total of up to nine airbags for occupant protection.
Three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt tensioners and belt-force limiters are fitted as standard for the driver, the front passenger and the occupants of the outer rear seats.
NECK-PRO is the name Mercedes-Benz has given to a crash-responsive head restraint whose development, like that of PRE-SAFE® and other Mercedes innovations, is based on analyses of real accidents. NECK-PRO is an effective means of reducing the risk of whiplash injuries during a rear-end collision. If the sensor system detects a rear-end collision with a defined impact severity, it releases pre-tensioned springs inside the head restraints, causing the head restraints to move forward by about 40 millimetres and upwards by 30 millimetres within a matter of milliseconds. This setup ensures that the heads of the driver and front passenger are protected at an early stage.
Pedestrian protection: extensive raft of measures including Active Bonnet
The protection of those road users who are most at risk has always been a top priority during the development of Mercedes passenger cars. Smooth-surfaced bodies, energy-absorbing bumpers, flush-mounted door handles, laminated-glass windscreens, folding exterior mirrors and recessed windscreen wipers are pedestrian-protection measures that have been features of Mercedes models for many years. But, as ever, another top priority for the safety engineers is accident prevention. So systems such as Brake Assist, the cornering light function and Night View Assist PLUS play crucial roles.
Fitting Brake Assist as standard alone has reduced the rate of serious accidents involving collisions between pedestrians and Mercedes passenger cars by 13 percent. The additional protective measures Mercedes-Benz has introduced for the new E‑Class are based on these high standards. Top of the bill is a newly developed Active Bonnet, which enlarges the deformation area, reducing the risk of injury to pedestrians. This system, fitted as standard, includes three impact sensors in the front section as well as special bonnet hinges pretensioned and arrested by powerful springs. Upon impact with a pedestrian, the sensors send information to the electronic control unit which, in turn, activates two solenoids in the hinges instantaneously. These solenoids release the arresters so that the rear section of the bonnet is pushed upwards by 50 millimetres by means of spring force. It all takes just a fraction of a second.
As well as being extremely fast, the newly developed Active Bonnet technology has a further crucial benefit in that it is reversible. If the bonnet is released in another type of collision, for example, Mercedes customers can reset it to its original position and, therefore, reactivate the system themselves, allowing them to continue driving. In addition to this, the Mercedes engineers have increased the deformation space between the bonnet and the assemblies beneath it by raising the Saloon’s exterior contours and lowering the engine, shock absorber towers, reservoirs and control units. Like all the latest Mercedes models, the front bumper on the new E‑Class incorporates a flush spoiler lip with a bracing function, which provides a pedestrian with uniform cushioning at an early stage in a collision.
Welcome home. The slogan for the new E-Class can be taken literally. Just by getting in and closing the door, you find yourself in a totally different world. Noise, stress and the rush of everyday life remain locked outside, replaced by an overriding feeling of comfort and relaxation. Elegant forms, fine materials, attractive colours, comfortable seats and exquisitely designed details create an atmosphere in which you immediately feel at home.
One of the key aspects the Mercedes engineers focussed on to create this exceptional level of comfort was the new dimensional concept for the body and the interior, which differs from that of the outgoing model in many respects and thus allowed a new form of "spatial planning". More space equals more comfort was the principle the product planners applied to design a body that is 16 millimetres longer, 10 millimetres lower and 32 millimetres wider than previously. Measured against the outgoing E-Class model, the wheelbase length has been increased by 20 millimetres to 2874 millimetres, which is a major factor behind the enhanced ride comfort and interior spaciousness. This is highlighted for example by the seat reference point, effectively the distance between the front and rear seats, which is crucial in determining the space in which the occupants are able to move: it measures 848 millimetres (outgoing model: 838 millimetres) and is therefore on a par with the level which, not so many years ago, was the standard for top-end luxury cars.
The occupants also benefit from the new dimensions of the E-Class when it comes to shoulder room and elbow width. Here the new Saloon impresses by offering up to 51 millimetres more (rear elbow width) than its predecessor, largely down to the wider body (+ 32 millimetres) and the wider track (front + 23 millimetres, rear + 49 millimetres). The effective headroom for the driver and front passenger has been increased by ten millimetres compared to the previous E-Class and now stands at 1048 millimetres; rear headroom is now 972 millimetres – an increase of eleven millimetres.
When it came to "spatial planning" of the boot, the Mercedes experts focussed on the everyday qualities drivers expect from an executive saloon. Hence the key criteria for the boot design were sufficient space for safely stowing four people’s luggage, practical variability when using the luggage compartment and excellent functionality for stowing large and small items. As well as being evident in the bare figures, the impressive end result can above all be seen when it comes to everyday practicality. Compared to the predecessor model, the length of the luggage compartment has been increased by 33 millimetres to 1177 millimetres, while the height has risen by 14 millimetres to 468 millimetres. The smallest luggage compartment width between the wheel arches has been extended by 24 millimetres and now measures 1000 millimetres.
Furthermore, the boot opening, important for loading, has also been widened – by eleven millimetres to 500 millimetres.
In practice, these dimensions mean that there is now space for two jumbo suitcases side by side on the flat load-compartment floor or for four golf bags (including clubs). The overall boot capacity of 540 litres (as per the VDA measuring method) has been maintained despite the far more extensive basic equipment package for the new E-Class.
There are 78 litres of stowage space available in the compartment beneath the luggage-compartment floor. And the optionally available folding rear-seat backrests allow Mercedes customers to increase the load-carrying capacity depending on the transport task in hand as well as producing a practically flat load bay. Standard-fit load-securing rings enable items of luggage to be secured in place.
For fast and easy stowage of smaller items, Mercedes-Benz equips the load compartment of the new E-Class with a robust bag hook and stowage nets on the load compartment side panelling. One new addition is the optional EASY-PACK load-compartment box, which attaches below the parcel shelf. From here, the box measuring around 530 millimetres in width can be pulled forwards and loaded with ease as it unfurls downwards and has variable settings. The box has a maximum capacity of 55 litres and can carry up to ten kilograms.
Wide choice of seats for business-class travel and wellbeing
Many aspects of the multicontour seat for the new E-Class have been further enhanced, prompting "Aktion Gesunder Rücken" (a German organisation that promotes back health) to award the seat its coveted seal of approval. Multicontour means that the occupants are able to adapt the contours of the seat to suit their anatomy or personal preferences. This is made possible by inflatable air chambers beneath the seat padding. A new method for adjusting the side bolsters allows the backrest width to be adjusted continuously variably by up to 45 millimetres on each side – in other words by a total of up to 90 millimetres.In the outgoing model, the maximum adjustment range was just 50 millimetres.
Another plus point of the new multicontour seat is the function for pneumatically adjusting the seat cushion length. The front air cushion increases the seat cushion length by up to 50 millimetres at the push of a button, allowing occupants to relax their legs and ensuring good blood circulation.
The likewise new active multicontour seat offers the same comfort functions and more than lives up to its name: fast piezo valves at the air chambers vary the inflation pressure and volume of the air chambers in the backrest side bolsters depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and road speed so as to offer the driver and the front passenger even better support.This active function relieves strain on the musculature and enhances well-being. Plus it improves safety as the fast piezo valves allow the active multicontour seats to be integrated into the PRE-SAFE®anticipatory occupant protection system (also see page 54): if the PRE-SAFE®control unit detects a critical driving situation, it activates the air chambers in the backrests almost instantaneously. These then envelope the seat occupants and provide them with support, limiting the dangerous whiplash movements of the upper body in the event of accident.
To ensure a relaxed and fatigue-free ride, the Mercedes engineers have developed another special feature, available in conjunction with the active multicontour seat, in the shape of a massage cushion in the backrest. It consists of seven air chambers that are inflated and deflated cyclically so that the passengers feel a pleasant rolling movement across their entire back area. This movement stimulates the musculature, boosts circulation and counteracts premature fatigue. The massage mat operates independently of the contour and lumbar settings.
Further features of the active multicontour seat include a luxury head restraint with moving side bolsters, which also incorporates crash-responsive NECK-PRO technology (see page 61).
Filled seat piping for a new comfort experience right from the off
For the E-Class, the Mercedes experts have further enhanced the quality of a tried-and-trusted Mercedes concept: filled seat piping. This is a special form of upholstery in which an additional layer of foam is inserted under the fabric or leather cover. The soft upholstery makes the occupants feel comfortable and relaxed as soon as they take their seats in the car. The experts attach great importance to first impressions, in this case the impression a person has when sitting in a car seat for the first time. All in keeping with the "welcome home" motto.
The design of the filled seat piping depends on the design and equipment line: the base model and the AVANTGARDE line have seat covers with horizontal contours, while the ELEGANCE line features vertical contours, evoking memories of the equally famous and well-proven Mercedes seat design from the 1960s and 1970s. In each case, the manufacture of the filled seat piping is a complex process in terms of both the craftsmanship and the upholstery technology required. Only Mercedes-Benz uses this process
A newly developed moulded foam cushion effectively forms the seat’s lower comfort zone. In the centre area, the Mercedes engineers have increased the foam thickness by around twelve percent compared to the outgoing model. Coupled with the overall softer feel of the material in the seat centre, this design provides noticeably more comfort. In the area of the side bolsters, on the other hand, the foam is harder so as to enhance lateral support. In this way, the experts achieve an excellent pressure distribution, which helps relieve the strain on the spinal column and provides specifically targeted support for the pelvic area.
Mercedes seat developers have always attached great importance to the optimum distribution of the seat pressure as they view this as a key requirement for a high level of long-distance comfort. Seat pressure distribution is adjusted in eight different zones of the backrest and seat cushion, based on carefully acquired empirical values. The backrests of the front seats, for example, are divided into several pressure zones: whereas the foam is soft in the area of the cervical and lumbar curve, it is hard in the pelvic and shoulder areas, where optimum support is required. On the seat cushion, the pressure gets progressively lower between the hip and thigh areas – a key requirement for comfortable, fatigue-free car travel.
The foam upholstery used for the front seat cushions is housed in seat squabs with integral springing. Here a frame made partially from high-strength steel forms a solid base. Special tubular sections and energy-absorbing elements in the seat lining ensure that, in the event of a side impact, the seats are able to absorb high forces and transfer these to the side facing away from the impact.
Lumbar support as standard for healthy sitting
Because the human body is not designed to sit still for long periods, it needs support at specific points. One example is the lumbar lordosis – the area of the lower part of the spinal column where the backbone curves forwards. This inevitably leads to a hunched sitting posture – meaning that stress is exerted on one side of the intervertebral discs. The lumbar lordosis therefore requires support when sitting. Standard equipment for the driver’s seat in the E-Class includes a lumbar support which provides ergonomic support for the spinal column in the lumbar region. If the Memory function is specified by the Mercedes customer, the two front seats are equipped with electropneumatically adjustable four-way lumbar supports including side-to-side adjustment as well as height and shape adjustment.
The front-seat backrests consist of steel frames with springing and foam elements whose contours, like the seat surfaces, provide even better lateral support. The backrest height has been increased by around 30 percent in the area at the top of the backrest to provide even better support for the shoulders.
Natural materials and active ventilation for a comfortable seat climate
When developing seats, the Mercedes experts do not merely think about classic comfort features such as springing and damping. Moreover, they look at the all-round wellbeing of the car occupants, including what is referred to as seat climate. The materials and structure of a Mercedes seat are designed to ensure wellbeing whatever the weather and temperature outside. In the case of the E‑Class seats, this is achieved thanks to the breathable material mix and the high-quality fabric or leather covers. The fabric covers contain 25 to 30 percent wool – a natural material which, unlike synthetic fibres, displays excellent electrostatic properties and, moreover, outstanding moisture absorption, which has a positive effect on the seat climate in high temperatures.
Even greater climate comfort is provided by the optionally available actively ventilated front seats: four ventilators in the seat cushion and in the backrest extract cool air from the floor area of the interior and distribute it evenly through a ventilation tissue beneath the seat surface. The mild airflow can prevent the car’s occupants from sweating, even when it is extremely hot outside.
Multiple adjustment options for the ideal sitting position
As before, the front seat height, cushion angle and backrest inclination can be adjusted electrically, while adjustment of the fore/aft position of the seat cushion is performed manually. Plus the seats in the new E-Class have the largest fore/aft adjustment range in this market segment: 277 millimetres. The individual seat position can be adjusted in very small 4.5-millimetre stages and is therefore almost continuously variable, whereas the backrest inclination is fully continuously variable. This means that very tall and very short drivers can adjust the seat so that all of the Saloon’s functions are within easy reach.
Adjustment ranges of the standard-specification front seats:
- Fore/aft adjustment277 millimetres
- Seat height59 millimetres
- Seat cushion angle4.5 degrees
- Head restraint height 85 millimetres; head restraint depth 45 millimetres
- Backrest angle110 degrees
The fully electrically adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger, which Mercedes-Benz supplies as optional extras, are even easier to use. In this case, the fore/aft position, seat cushion angle, head restraint, steering column and
exterior mirrors can be adjusted by electric motors in addition to the seat height and backrest angle. Three individual seat positions can be stored if the Memory function is specified. In this case, a touch of a button on the inner door lining is all it takes to move the seats, steering wheel and exterior mirrors to their programmed positions automatically.
Once the driver has removed the electronic ignition key from the new E-Class, the steering wheel can be moved upwards to make it even easier to get out of the car. The steering wheel then remains in this position until the ignition key is re-inserted, providing the driver with more legroom when getting back into the car as well.
Individual seats for the rear passengers
For the rear passengers in the new E-Class, Mercedes-Benz has developed a system comprising two individual seats offering an all-new comfort experience (optional). The soft foam upholstery used for the seat cushion and backrest features distinctive contours and makes travel on board the Saloon even more of a pleasure. These luxury rear seats feature leather upholstery, a heating function and their own head restraints as well as a centre console between them and a through-loading feature allowing longer items to be carried in the boot. The head restraints, adjustable for height and angle, have side bolsters which improve lateral support for the head, allowing the occupants to fully relax in any reclined position.
A spacious stowage compartment with two cup holders for various cup, can or bottle sizes is located beneath the leather-trimmed armrest. And the through-loading module can be equipped with an optional ski bag.
Climate control: THERMOTRONIC with three individual climate modes
Comfort is all about highly individual preferences. Which is why it is important for cars to offer their occupants a wide range of personalisation options. The new E-Class meets this requirement, not only in terms of suspension tuning and seat adjustability, but also when it comes to climate comfort.
The new E-Class marks the debut of a Mercedes-Benz-developed automatic climate control system which, as well as being able to set individual temperatures in three zones (for the driver, the front passenger and the rear passengers), additionally offers what are referred to as climate modes. This means that, if the optionally available THERMOTRONIC system is fitted, the car occupants can choose from "Diffuse", "Medium" and "Focus" at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.
In "Diffuse" mode, for example, the THERMOTRONIC system operates with a low air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. This is the purpose of the automatically controlled, upwards inclined diffuse nozzle in the centre of the dashboard. In "Focus" mode, meanwhile, the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air.
Sophisticated sensors are another reason why the three-zone luxury automatic climate control system does full justice to its name. These ensure that the desired temperatures set by the occupants remain constant: even the standard-fit THERMATIC system features two sensors for the interior temperature, four sensors for measuring the temperature of the air flowing out of the air outlets and one sensor for recording the intensity and direction of the sun’s rays, while the THERMOTRONIC system for the new E-Class additionally includes a dew-point/moisture sensor and a pollutant sensor.
The dew-point sensor enables specifically targeted cooling and, if required, reheating of the inflowing air, meaning that the air conditioning operates even more economically. The pollutant sensor senses when the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide concentrations in the outside air are too high and, if the level of these pollutants increases suddenly, closes the air recirculation flap automatically.
Finally, the THERMOTRONIC system is equipped with a separate control panel at the rear of the centre console, allowing the rear passengers to select their ideal temperature and – if required – adjust the air quantity manually. This means they control the special booster in the centre console, which offers five speed settings and, therefore, ensures highly effective climate control in the rear of the car.
Another highlight of the THERMOTRONIC system is the residual heat function: pressing the "Rest" button heats or ventilates the interior for around 30 minutes when the engine is switched off.
The standard equipment package for the new E-Class includes THERMATIC two-zone automatic climate control. With this system on board, the driver and front passenger can set the desired temperature using the rocker switches on the elegant control panel in the lower section of the centre console. The OLED (organic light emitting diode) display indicates the programmed levels. If automatic mode is deactivated, the blower speed and air distribution can also be adjusted by rocker switch. The "ZONE" function is new: at the push of a button, the temperature settings are synchronised, and the level selected by the driver is transferred to the front-passenger side.
Heating output of a modern family house
The THERMATIC and THERMOTRONIC systems have received a boost in both heating and cooling output. The heating output has been increased by around ten percent to eleven kilowatts, equivalent to the power of the central heating system in a modern family house. In the diesel models and the four-cylinder models with direct petrol injection, a heat exchanger with six integral PTC heating elements (PTC = Positive Temperature Coefficient) is also activated when the outside temperature falls below a certain level in order to supplement the heater heat exchanger with an electrical output of around 1200 watts. The PTC heating element is required because, due to their high thermal efficiency, the sophisticated CDI and CGIengines are very economical on fuel and, therefore, give off much less heat to warm up the coolant than conventional engines when running under partial load.
An air-conditioning unit with an output of around 8.4 kilowatts – some five percent more than the unit used in the predecessor model – ensures rapid cooling of the interior. The air-conditioning compressor is continuously variable, allowing on-demand, i.e. economical, operation of the air conditioning. The control is provided by a solenoid valve which varies the swept volume of the air-conditioning compressor. In the E 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model, Mercedes‑Benz uses an air-conditioning compressor which is disconnected from the engine’s belt drive automatically when no cooling power is required.
Fine-dust particulate filter fitted as standard
A large, hermetically sealed fine-dust combination filter, fitted as standard for the new E-Class, ensures that the air entering the interior is clean. It is 96 to 98 percent efficient at filtering out particles between five and ten micrometres in size and 100-percent efficient when it comes to removing ten-micrometre particles. Thanks to its activated-charcoal coating, the fine-dust combination filter can also filter out gaseous substances which are the cause of unpleasant odours. The filter is active on a permanent basis – even in air recirculation mode.
Up to ten electric motors and 18 air outlets for excellent climate comfort
The cleaned air flows to the centrally arranged evaporator, which cools and, therefore, also dries the air, depending on the temperature set by the car’s occupants. The temperature is then controlled with the help of the heater heat exchanger, which sets the desired outlet air temperatures. There are up to ten electric motors in total, whose job it is to control the cold and warm air flaps in the mixing zones as well as the air outlets, meaning that practically every air outlet can be regulated precisely as required. THERMATIC features 18 air outlets for effective and uniform ventilation of the interior, while THERMOTRONIC includes two additional rear outlets in the B-pillars.
As well as being more effective, the climate control systems for the new E-Class are also audibly quieter than before. Newly calculated cross-sectional areas for the air intake, the air ducts and the air-conditioning unit reduce the noise level at maximum cooling output by around three decibels (dB (A)), for example. In addition, the air ducting has been lined with acoustic absorption elements and/or sound-insulating foam.
Dashboard: technology and aesthetics in harmony
Attractive design, a pleasant feel and perfect ergonomics are the three main attributes of the dashboard and the centre console in the new E-Class – a harmonious blend that is one of the main factors behind the feeling of comfort and wellbeing experienced when riding on board the Mercedes Saloon.
As an option, the dashboard can be ordered with a two-tone design: while the upper section and the centre console are finished in a darker shade, the lighter contrasting colour used for the knee bolster, glove compartment lid and tunnel makes these areas really stand out. The surface of the dashboard is made from a polyurethane foam skin with additional padding. This sophisticated production process allows both small radii and precise edges, plus it ensures a pleasant feel. For particularly discerning motorists, Mercedes-Benz offers a dashboard trimmed in high-quality sheeting with fine topstitching for a perfect finishing touch. This item is part of the Exclusive package (optional extra), which also includes a fine Alcantara trim for the roof lining, sun visors and pillar mouldings.
The dashboard incorporates an illuminated glove compartment with a capacity of around 6.8 litres, which can be cooled by the automatic climate control system. A twelve-volt outlet and a socket for connecting an external audio device are also integrated. This is likewise the location of the optional media interface for connecting an MP3 player.
One of the main aims of the Mercedes engineers – to fuse elegant design with a pleasant feel – is reflected in the door panelling. They achieve this aim by combining high-quality materials such as fabric or leather and wood or aluminium with scratch-resistant plastic boasting a new grain-effect finish. The wide armrests on the door panelling are pleasingly soft to the touch and, therefore, exceptionally comfortable. Here the designers have integrated the control panel for the power windows, the locking/unlocking switch for the doors and the exterior mirrors so that it looks elegant and is also easy to reach and use. In addition to the expansive wood or aluminium trim strips at waistline height and the optical fibres for the ambient lighting in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models, the door panelling incorporates a second trim level, adding a further elegant touch beneath the armrests.
Centre console as command centre for the infotainment and automatic climate control systems
The centre console blends in harmoniously with the dashboard form and colour concept. This is where the controls for the infotainment system and the optionally available car phone are located, just below the air outlets. Beneath these, the buttons for the seat heating, seat ventilation, rear window blind, rear head restraints and other optional extras are demarcated by a discreet chrome strip. The lower section of the centre console houses the controls for the standard-fit automatic climate control system.
A special paint has been used to treat the visible areas of the buttons and controls, giving them a satiny shine and a soft finish. The experts call this "soft-touch paint". Together with the sophisticated short-stroke buttons, which are easy to press and have very little travel, this paint helps ensure a pleasant yet precise feel. They buttons only need to be pressed once to activate or deactivate the function in question, and they always make a soft "clicking" sound to confirm that the desired function has been activated.
Every last detail designed for everyday practicality
A wealth of intelligently conceived details in the interior of the new E-Class highlight the fact that the Saloon has been developed with the customer and, therefore, everyday practicality in mind:
- The front-passenger footwell incorporates a practical storage net suitable for holding an atlas or map. Directly above this is an adjustable plastic bottle holder.
- In the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models, two stowage boxes, each with a capacity of around 2.6 litres and suitable for carrying smaller items, are housed beneath the driver’s seat and front-passenger seat.
- Additional coat hooks are built into the B-pillar trims.
- As part of the Sun Protection package (optional extra), Mercedes-Benz supplies two-piece luxury sun visors for the driver and front passenger, an electrically operated rear window blind, guided on the C-pillars as in the S‑Class, and manually operated roller blinds for the insides of the rear side windows. They cover over 80 percent of the window area and, therefore, provide highly effective protection from the sun.
Proven concept for intuitive and reliable control
The aluminium controller on the centre console is one of the core elements of the tried-and-tested control and display concept which Mercedes-Benz first unveiled in the S-Class some years ago. It is based on the conviction that technology is only perfect if people can understand and master its use intuitively. To achieve this aim, the Mercedes experts have defined four basic principles that underpin their work:
1. Easy identification of the key control functions
2. Fast availability of the key spontaneous functions
3. Simple and intuitive control of the key functions
4. All the controls in the right place
Key features of the Mercedes control concept include special hotkey-type buttons which provide fast access to frequently used functions. This is why all the control and display elements that are necessary or important during a journey are located in the cockpit, i.e. in immediate proximity to the driver. These include the switches and stalks for the lights, windscreen wipers, indicators and cruise control (standard in models with automatic transmission).
Furthermore, in keeping with the "everything in the right place" logic, the switches and buttons for the power windows, central locking and exterior mirrors are where one would intuitively look for them: on the doors. In other words, the driver does not need to learn anything new and, when it comes to the controls too, feels at home immediately on board the new E-Class.
Multifunction steering wheel with twelve buttons
Alongside the controller on the centre console, the multifunction steering wheel is one of the main protagonists of the sophisticated control and display concept. Its buttons are linked to the central display in the instrument cluster and merely need to be tapped with a thumb to gain fast access to a wide range of information displayed right in front of the driver’s eyes. The driver uses the left-hand button in horizontal direction to mark one of the main menus on the central display and in vertical direction to select the desired submenu. Each selection or setting is accepted by pressing the "OK" button, while the "Return" button is used to return quickly to the next-highest menu level.
The buttons on the right-hand side of the multifunction steering wheel are used for adjusting the volume (vertical), activating the mute function (middle) and using the car phone (horizontal). Beneath these is an additional button for activating the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
Cockpit with five circular instruments featuring a high-quality chronometer-style design
There are five instruments in the cockpit to provide the driver with all the necessary information: speedometer (middle), rev counter (right), clock (right), coolant temperature gauge (far right) and fuel gauge (far left). Thanks to black-panel technology, the indicator and warning lights assigned to the various circular instruments are not visible during normal driving; the driver only sees these when the ignition is switched on or if a fault occurs.
In the centre of the speedometer is a two-section central display
The lower section of the central display is used for displaying icons that provide information about the status of the driver assistance systems as well as digital readouts of the outside temperature, transmission gear and transmission mode
(if an automatic transmission is fitted). One of the new features is the fuel consumption and gearshift indicator (if the six-speed transmission is specified), which informs the driver of the current fuel consumption and at what point the next-highest gear should be selected in order to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions (also see page 89).
Large colour display for the infotainment functions
In the centre of the dashboard – where it can be easily seen by the driver and the front passenger – a large colour display in 16:9 format provides information about all the infotainment system functions. There are two versions of this sophisticated AM-TFT(Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor) display available, depending on the equipment specified for the E-Class: a 5.8-inch version for the Audio 20 and Audio 50 APSdevices or a high-resolution 7.0-inch version for COMAND APS (also see page 82).
The controller on the centre console incorporates the main controls for the infotainment systems and allows fast and easy access to the devices’ clearly structured menus. This turn/push control can be moved in eight directions: turning the controller selects the main menu and submenus on the display, while pressing it activates or accepts the displayed function or setting. The "R" and "C" buttons in front of the controller are used to exit submenus quickly or delete entries.
As the infotainment control system has been designed redundantly, the car radio, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system can be operated either using the controller or at the push of a button. This is the purpose of the function buttons on the centre console, which are positioned ergonomically so that the driver can reach them easily without having to take their eyes off the road.
Car radio, CD player and Bluetooth interface as standard
Information, communication, navigation, entertainment – these four aspects are now just as important a part of motoring as agile handling, outstanding comfort or powerful engines, for example. Motorists can no longer do without news, the telephone, navigation and music whilst driving. This is why Mercedes-Benz equips the new E-Class with sophisticated infotainment devices that deliver outstanding performance and, above all, are easy to use. These are called Audio 20 CD (standard equipment), Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS (optional extras).
All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard and a Bluetooth interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly. Eight loudspeakers fitted as standard in the doors deliver superlative sound.
Features of the Audio 20 CDsystem, fitted as standard in the new E-Class, include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (for FM reception) and a 4 x 20-watt amplifier.
The AUDIO 50 APS infotainment system is an all-in-one device featuring a combination of car radio, DVD player and Europe-wide DVD navigation system. The radio functions and the options for linking with other systems are the same as for the Audio 20 system. Mercedes customers who opt for the version with integral six-disc DVD changer also receive the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
COMAND APSwith even more functions
The Mercedes-Benz-developed COMAND APS multimedia system includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing extremely fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 7.0-inch colour display in the centre of the dashboard and provides useful additional information. By way of example, the map shows the outlines of prominent buildings along the road to aid orientation.
In addition, COMAND APS includes a Music Register for around 1000 compressed music tracks in MP3, WMA or AAC format, which can be downloaded from PC memory cards. The system has a saved database ("Gracenote"), enabling it to recognise music tracks played from a CD, DVD or the Music Register and then display the title of the track and the artist on the display. Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND APS with LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control and a text-to-speech function as standard, allowing the driver to listen to route-specific traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or station names. New traffic reports relevant to the current route are read out automatically by the system.
Voice-operated control with whole-word voice input for navigation, telephone and radio
Mercedes-Benz, one of the inventors of modern voice-operated control systems, has continued to further develop the LINGUATRONIC system in recent years, meaning that the navigation system in the new E-Class can now be controlled based on the principle of whole-word voice input: the driver no longer needs to spell out the names of countries, towns or streets, but is able to speak them as whole words. It is just as easy to use the voice-operated control to select a radio station or an entry in the phone/address book: all available or stored names can be called up without the need for prior voice-input training.
Additional systems for the ultimate in music enjoyment and entertainment
As an option, Mercedes customers can combine the infotainment devices that feature in the E-Class with further systems offering even more information and entertainment:
- The "Logic7" surround sound system developed by Mercedes-Benz in partnership with the audio specialist harman/kardon® provides three-dimensional audio enjoyment noticeable above all by a natural 360-degree music experience in all seats. It makes no difference if the music is played from a CD or a DVD or if the disc contains 5.1 surround or normal stereo recordings. The music signals are distributed by a 610-watt amplifier that controls 14 high-performance loudspeakers.
- A media interface in the glove compartment can be used to connect an iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices to the infotainment system in the new E-Class. All that is required for this is a suitable cable from the Mercedes accessories range. The interface includes a control unit that links the external music memory to the Saloon’s on-board electronic and control systems. The advantage of this is that the titles of the tracks stored on the iPod can be shown on the colour display in the dashboard and in the instrument cluster, allowing them to be selected almost effortlessly using the controller and the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The battery in the audio device is charged for as long as the portable music memory is connected to the car via the media interface.
- A separate DAB tuner (DAB= Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials (optional) allow passengers on board the new E-Class to receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak.
- A newly developed Rear Seat Entertainment System with a DVD player and two large colour displays (8.0-inch) in the rear of the front head restraints makes the ride even more entertaining for the rear passengers in the new E‑Class. The system also includes connection options for external audio or video devices and for the integration of a TV tuner. If COMAND APS is fitted, the DVD films and TV programmes (if the TV tuner is specified) played by the COMAND device can also be viewed by those passengers sitting in the rear seats.
"Less is more". This slogan certainly proves true when looking under the bonnet of the E‑Class. That’s because the newly developed and modified four-cylinder powerplants have a higher output than the previous six-cylinder units, despite the reduction in displacement. Plus they return impressive fuel-consumption figures that were previously only achievable in the compact-car class. The Mercedes strategy is to use turbocharged engines with lower displacement in place of high-displacement, non-turbocharged engines. Key benefits of the concept include lighter weight, reduced internal friction and a more economical fuel-consumption map.
The new four-cylinder diesel engine in the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model, for example, is proof that the plans have worked out successfully: with an output of 150 kW/204 hp, a peak torque of 500 Nm and a displacement of 2.1 litres, it develops around seven percent more power and delivers 25 percent more torque than the previous V6 diesel engine with a displacement of three litres whilst consuming around 23 percent less fuel: just 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined figure), making it far more fuel-efficient than comparable saloons in this performance class. The CO2 emissions figure for the new four-cylinder diesel models is 139 grams per kilometre – up to 24 percent lower than the figures achieved by the previous CDI models.
In the case of the petrol models too, "more power and more driving pleasure with even lower fuel consumption" proves to be the perfect formula: the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCYmodel with direct petrol injection has a displacement of 1.8 litres and an output of 135 kW/184 hp yet consumes a mere 6.8 litres of premium unleaded petrol per 100 kilometres (provisional NEDC combined figure). Plus the CO2 emissions figures for the four-cylinder petrol models are more than a fifth lower than those for the outgoing models.
As with carbon dioxide emissions, the engines for the new E-Class have also taken a further major step towards the future when it comes to exhaust gas emissions: all of the powerplants meet the requirements of the EU 5 standard, whose limits are up to 80 percent more stringent than those in previous standards. And with the new E 350 BlueTEC, Mercedes-Benz offers the world’s cleanest diesel, undercutting the limits of the EU 6 standard, which is not even due to come into force until 2014.
Diesel engines: newly developed four-cylinder model with a choice of three power outputs
The newly developed diesel engine extends the range of four-cylinder CDI units for the E-Class to three. These engines span the power output range from 100 kW/136 hp to 150 kW/204 hp; fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in all the new four-cylinder diesel engines have been reduced to just 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres and 139 grams per kilometre respectively (NEDC combined fuel consumption).
The technical advances made by the Mercedes-Benz engine designers responsible for this new four-cylinder diesel unit can also be seen in the performance figures: the most powerful variant, with an output of 150 kW/204 hp, outperforms its predecessor by 20 percent yet has the same displacement. Plus the peak torque has been increased by 25 percent from 400 to 500 Nm. When it comes to specific output too, the powerplant posts a new record: 70 kW/95 hp and 233 Nm per litre of displacement.
The new engines are characterised by high output, agile response and exceptional pulling power. Plus they are exceptionally refined for four-cylinder units. Then there is the highly impressive agility, reflected in the performance figures, for example: the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.2 seconds, while the sprint from 80 to 120 km/h takes the Saloon a mere 9.7 seconds. The E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY developing 125 kW/170 PS takes 9.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standing start and accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in 11.3 seconds, while the E 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY completes the burst from zero to 100 km/h in 10.7 seconds and from 80 to 120 km/h in 13.2 seconds.
A wealth of innovative technologies has been implemented to enable the four-cylinder diesel engines to achieve their exceptional power and torque characteristics, economy, emissions performance and refinement, including new developments that do not currently feature in any other standard-production diesel engine for passenger cars.
Fourth-generation common-rail technology with piezo injectors
This series of four-cylinder engines sees Mercedes-Benz introducing fourth-generation common-rail direct injection into series production. One of its hallmarks is a 400-bar increase in the maximum rail pressure, which now stands at 2000 bar for the E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and the E 250 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY models. This increased pressure potential was a key factor in raising the engine output to up to 150 kW/204 hp and the peak torque to 500 Nm whilst also achieving a significant cut in untreated emissions.
Newly developed piezo injectors are key components in the latest CDIgeneration. They use their piezoceramic properties to change their crystal structure – and therefore their thickness – in a matter of nanoseconds when electrical voltage is applied. The injectors are equipped with a stack of thin piezoceramic layers (called the "piezo stack") to enable them to achieve a sufficient overall lift from the very small lift per layer. In contrast to the systems commonly used to date, this lift activates the nozzle needle directly, so that the fuel injection can be adjusted more precisely in line with the current load and engine-speed situation – for example by means of precise multiple injections, which have a favourable effect on emissions, fuel consumption and combustion noise. What’s more, the engine is far quieter when idling than its predecessor.
Another key factor behind the impressive output and fuel consumption at full load with respect to emissions is the maximum ignition pressure. And, with 200 bar, the new four-cylinder diesel unit from Mercedes-Benz is among the leading contenders in the field of passenger-car diesel engines.
Impressive torque yield thanks to two-stage turbocharging
The new diesel engine in the E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY models marks the debut of two-stage turbocharging in a standard-production diesel engine for passenger cars at Mercedes-Benz. The aim is to achieve further advantages compared to a single-stage turbocharger, for example a further improvement in start-up performance and peak output. A single-stage turbocharger with variable nozzle turbines is used in the E 200 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY model. The lower engine power allows a smaller turbocharger to be used and, therefore, ensures likewise excellent start-up performance.
The compact module for the new two-stage turbocharger consists of a small high-pressure (HP) turbocharger and a large low-pressure (LP) turbocharger.
These are connected in series, and each has a turbine and a compressor driven by this turbine. The HP turbine is located directly at the exhaust manifold and initially allows exhaust gas to flow through it; it then rotates at up to 215,000 revolutions per minute. The HP turbine housing features an integral bypass duct, which can be opened or closed by means of a charge-pressure control flap triggered by a vacuum cell. If the flap is closed, the whole exhaust stream flows through the HP turbine, meaning that the exhaust-gas energy is available solely for the HP turbine drive. This means that the optimum charge pressure can be built up at low engine revs.
As the engine speed increases, the charge-pressure control flap opens, primarily to prevent the HP turbocharger from becoming overloaded. A portion of the exhaust stream then flows through the bypass duct to relieve the HP section. Downstream of the HP turbine, the two exhaust gas streams join up again, and any remaining exhaust gas energy drives the HP turbine at a maximum speed of up to 185,000 revolutions per minute.To protect against overloading, the LP turbine is also equipped with a bypass, which is opened or closed by means of a wastegate. Once the engine reaches medium revs, the HP turbine’s charge-pressure control flap is opened so wide that the HP turbine ceases to perform any appreciable work.
This allows the full exhaust gas energy to be directed with low losses into the LP turbine, which then does all of the turbine work.
The two compressors are likewise connected in series and are in addition connected to a bypass duct. The combustion air from the air cleaner first flows through the low-pressure compressor, where it is compressed as a function of the LP turbine’s operating energy input. This pre-compressed air then passes into the high-pressure compressor, which is coupled to the HP turbine, where it undergoes further compression – the result is a genuine two-stage turbocharging process.
The key benefit of this sophisticated, on-demand control of the combustion air supply by means of two turbochargers is the improved cylinder charging and, consequently, a high torque even at low revs. What’s more, fuel consumption is reduced. During normal operation, the advantages of this concept can be seen in the harmonious driving characteristics without turbo lag, a good torque curve across the entire engine speed range, spontaneous throttle response and noticeably improved performance.
As a logical addition to the turbocharger system, Mercedes-Benz installs a larger intercooler than the one seen in the previous models, which reduces the temperature of the compressed and heated air by around 140 degrees Celsius so that a larger volume of air can enter the combustion chambers.
Lower NOx emissions thanks to cooled exhaust gas recirculation
The newly developed EGRvalve works like a rotary disc valve and ensures precise control of the fresh air and recirculated exhaust gas. So as to optimise the quantity of exhaust gas recirculated and thereby achieve high recirculation rates, the exhaust gases are cooled down as required in a highly efficient heat exchanger with a large cross-sectional area. Together with the HFM (hot-film air-mass sensor) module integrated in the fresh-air ducting, which provides the engine control unit with precise information about the current fresh-air mass, this setup brings about a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions.
The combustion air subsequently flows into the charge-air distributor module, which supplies air to each cylinder in a uniform manner. Built into the distributor module is an electrically controlled intake port shutoff, which allows the cross-sectional area of each cylinder’s intake port to be smoothly reduced in size. This alters the swirl of the combustion air in such a way as to ensure that the charge movement in the cylinders is set for optimum combustion and exhaust emissions across the full range of engine loads and speeds.
The advantages of a rear-mounted camshaft drive
Another of the highlights of the new four-cylinder diesel engine is the rear-mounted camshaft drive, which allows statutory pedestrian protection requirements to be met when the engine is installed longitudinally and the bonnet rises from front to rear. The valve timing mechanism is another new development and reduces friction at the 16 intake and exhaust valves, which are controlled by one overhead intake camshaft and one overhead exhaust camshaft acting via cam followers featuring hydraulic valve clearance compensation. The camshaft, Lanchester balancer and the ancillary assemblies are driven by a combination of gearwheels and just a short drive chain.
The switchable water pump, another highlight of the new Mercedes diesel engine, helps to quickly heat up the combustion chambers and the friction partners as well as reducing fuel consumption and untreated emissions. The pistons are cooled by an oil pump with a central control valve for all four piston-cooling sprayer units with large oil-spray nozzles. It creates identical, thermal boundary conditions for all cylinders. The generous dimensions ensure optimum piston cooling, even at full load, and make for a long service life. What’s more, the controlled oil pump reduces the oil flow rate and, therefore, consumption.
Six-cylinder CDI engine: higher output and torque but lower fuel consumption
In a similar vein, the V6 diesel engine for the new E-Class is one of the most sophisticated compression-ignition units on the world market. It offers substantially greater output, comfort and driving enjoyment than other engines thanks to the immense torque of 540 Nm alone, which is available between 1600 and 2400 rpm, ensuring outstanding agility when accelerating from rest and exemplary flexibility when accelerating in any gear. To put this into figures, the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model (170 kW/231 hp) accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and from 80 to 120 km/h in 5.1 seconds.
Despite the higher output and torque, fuel consumption has been reduced by 0.5 litres to 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined figure), equivalent to 179 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission is specified as standard for the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model.
The Mercedes engineers have gone to great lengths to optimise the technology at the heart of the V6 diesel engine, reducing the compression from 17.7 to 15.5, enhancing the turbocharger with a more efficient EGR cooling zone, switchable bypass duct, ceramic glow system, modified injection nozzles and optimised air ducting.
E 350 BlueTEC meets the requirements of the EU6 emission standard
BlueTEC is a key concept for the future of the diesel engine. Thanks to the highly efficient emission control system developed by Mercedes-Benz, the compression-ignition models meet the strictest of emission requirements, making them the world’s cleanest diesel cars. This technology will be available for the E-Class in the new E 350 BlueTEC model with V6 diesel engine from autumn 2009 onwards. In this model variant, the powerplant has an output of 155 kW/211 hp and provides its maximum torque of 540 Nm from 1600 rpm. Fuel consumption in the E 350 BlueTEC model with seven-speed automatic transmission is 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres (provisional NEDC combined figure), while the CO2 emissions figure is 183 grams per kilometre.
For its installation in the BlueTEC model, the V6 engine has been modified in detail, among other things to further reduce in-engine untreated emissions and to meet the statutory requirements with respect to on-board diagnostics (OBD). The emission control system features a close-coupled oxidation catalytic converter and a diesel particulate filter which is located in the firewall area. Regeneration times are reduced as a result.
At the heart of the BlueTEC system are two SCR catalytic converters (SCR= Selective Catalytic Reduction) and an upstream "AdBlue®" injector. "AdBlue®" is an aqueous urea solution which converts the nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the SCRcatalytic converters into harmless nitrogen through a process of reduction. The complex exhaust gas aftertreatment process is monitored and diagnosed by several sensors, including a differential pressure sensor and an oxygen sensor as well as NOX and temperature sensors.
For the "AdBlue®" additive, the E 350 BlueTEC is installed with an additional 25‑litre tank equipped with a diaphragm pump, valve, pressure and temperature sensor, and an electric heater. The latter prevents the 33-percent urea solution from freezing at low temperatures. The tank is refilled as part of the scheduled maintenance programme.
Petrol engines: new four-cylinder units with direct injection
CGI appears at the end of the model designation of the four- and six-cylinder engines for the new E-Class, signifying that Mercedes-Benz uses direct petrol injection for these powerplants - a technology which allows further advances when it comes to reducing petrol consumption.
Compared to conventional port injection, direct fuel injection allows higher compression and, therefore, improved thermodynamic efficiency, saving motorists money at the pump: the new four-cylinder direct-injection powerplants for the E‑Class consume up to 21 percent less fuel than the comparable engines installed in the outgoing model. In the E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY model (150 kW/ 204 hp), Mercedes-Benz has replaced the previous V6 2.5-litre engine with a four-cylinder 1.8-litre unit yet still manages to increase torque by over 26 percent. This result reveals a further Mercedes strategy for the future: the use of turbochargers in small-displacement engines.
Mercedes-Benz equips the E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY model with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY model features a six-speed manual transmission and the ECO start/stop function (also see page 90), which shuts off the engine automatically when it is idling, thus making a significant contribution towards saving fuel.
Variable camshaft adjustment and intelligent thermal management
The four-cylinder engines are made almost entirely of aluminium: the crankcase is made of cast aluminium, while a special, high-strength aluminium alloy is used for the cylinder head. Two forged overhead camshafts with variable adjustment are used to control the 16 valves. A vane-type adjuster with integrated control valve allows fast and smooth adjustment of the timing, ensuring that it is always at the optimum setting. This setup has two advantages: firstly, the variable camshaft adjustment enables a high torque yield even at low revs; secondly, this technology allows high specific outputs. The valves are controlled by means of cam followers and feature maintenance-free, hydraulic valve clearance compensation.
The Mercedes engineers have paid special attention to the engine’s warm-up governor because it affects fuel consumption. This is why the new direct-injection petrol model features an electronically controlled thermostat to ensure that circulation of the coolant is stopped when the engine is cold. This setup allows the engine oil to heat up quickly and, therefore, minimises in-engine friction. This intelligent thermal management system is logic-controlled. In other words, it is based on driving style, ambient temperatures and other parameters.
The turbocharger module is welded to the exhaust manifold on the engine’s exhaust side and features a wastegate valve and a deceleration air function for controlling the pressure characteristics. There were very good reasons for using a turbocharger in place of the previously installed mechanical supercharger – not least the higher efficiency as the engine does not need to provide the extra drive power required for the mechanical supercharger. What’s more, the turbocharger takes up far less space than the supercharger, weighs around four kilograms lighter and, in addition, also offers better noise and vibration characteristics. The Mercedes engineers brought about a noticeable improvement in the turbocharger’s bottom-end response by incorporating newly developed turbine geometry and a cylinder-flushing process.
Injection pressure of up to 140 bar and new multi-hole injectors
Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition in the field of direct petrol injection. As early as the mid-1950s, the Stuttgartmanufacturer unveiled this technology in the 300 SL, the legendary "Gullwing" model. This classic sports car was the first series-produced automobile to feature a four-stroke engine with direct injection - a sensational development that boosted the six-cylinder powerpack’s output significantly.
In the direct-injection system, the air and fuel are not mixed until they reach the combustion chambers. With the help of an injector, the fuel is injected into the cylinders at an angle of 30 degrees and, depending on the engine operating characteristics, at a pressure of up to 140 bar. Here the fuel droplets and the air particles form a mixture which is guided to the spark plugs via specially shaped recesses in the pistons. By way of comparison, the fuel pressure in a four-cylinder engine incorporating conventional injection technology is approximately 3.8 bar.
In order to ensure optimum swirl in the mixture, thus making combustion fast and as complete as possible, the CGI engines have intake ports with specially calculated flow characteristics. An adjustable swirl flap is also used so as to produce high turbulence in certain operating ranges and thus improve the combustion process. The high-pressure fuel pump is driven by the intake camshaft, while a quantity control valve integrated in the pump module ensures on-demand metering of the fuel supply. A pressure regulator with its own sensor, monitored by the engine control unit, controls the pressure in the fuel line (rail), which is directly connected to the multi-hole solenoid injectors. The four-cylinder direct-injection units operate in the homogeneous range, in other words with a stoichiometric air-to-fuel ratio of 14.6 : 1 (Lambda = 1), which is important for emission control by means of three-way catalytic converter. The new four-cylinder direct-injection engines meet the requirements of the EU5 emission standard.
Balancer in the crankcase and controlled oil pump
In addition to exemplary power delivery, low fuel consumption and low exhaust emissions, the new Mercedes four-cylinder engines have a further advantage, namely outstanding refinement thanks in no small part to the newly developed Lanchester balancer: two forged shafts supported in three bearings, which are arranged below the crank mechanism and counter-rotate at twice the crankshaft speed. In so doing, they compensate for the inertia forces which are caused by the motion of the pistons, for example, and can lead to irritating vibrations. The aluminium housing that contains the bearing-mounted balancer shafts is located in the oil sump, where it is bolted to the crankcase from below. The crankcase also contains the controlled engine oil pump, which is driven by one of the two shafts by means of a gear pair.
CGI six-cylinder engine with spray-guided direct petrol injection
The E 350 CGIBlueEFFICIENCY model is equipped with the world’s first petrol engine to feature spray-guided direct injection. The six-cylinder powerplant develops 215 kW/292 hp and provides a peak torque of 365 Nm from 3000 rpm. Thanks to the state-of-the-art engine technology, which Mercedes-Benz has modified right down to the last detail, fuel consumption is reduced to between 8.5 and 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined figure), which is 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres less than the figure achieved by the outgoing model. These exemplary performance and fuel-consumption figures are achieved using cost-efficient premium unleaded petrol (RON 95).
What’s more, the highly economical and environmentally compatible CGIpowerplant provides a unique driving experience: it takes the E 350 CGIBlueEFFICIENCY model just 6.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and a mere 4.2 seconds to complete the sprint from 80 to 120 km/h (in third gear).
Stratified-charge mode, even at higher engine speeds, thanks to multiple injection
Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to introduce spray-guided direct petrol injection into series production in 2006. Thanks to higher thermodynamic efficiency, this technology allows better use of the fuel and, therefore, lower fuel consumption and lower exhaust gas emissions. The key benefit of the six-cylinder engine is delivered in stratified-charge mode, when the powerplant operates with a high degree of excess air and, therefore, extremely fuel-efficiently. This advantageous "lean-burn operation" is now also possible when the Mercedes direct-injection unit is running in higher engine speed and load ranges because the combustion chambers are supplied with fuel several times in succession within a fraction of a second in every combustion cycle, thus improving mixture formation, combustion and consumption.
Fast and precise piezo injectors are among the key components of the second-generation direct petrol injection system. They open their nozzle points outwards, forming an annular gap that is mere micrometres in size, shaping the jet of fuel and ensuring its even, hollow-cone-shaped dispersion. Thanks to their ability to switch within milliseconds, the piezo injectors also allow the multiple injection that is also of benefit for lean-burn operation, thus playing a crucial role in achieving the engine’s exemplary consumption figures. A high-pressure pump with downstream distributor and pressure valve supplies the fuel and ensures on-demand flow control. With a level of up to 200 bar, the system’s fuel pressure is several times higher than that in a conventional port injection system.
The combustion process with several injections in succession per combustion cycle developed by Mercedes engineers also enhances the refinement and emission characteristics of the V6 engine. Tests show that untreated emissions (hydrocarbons) are reduced by more than half in the warm-up phase. Plus the specifically targeted injection and combustion control allows higher temperatures in the exhaust manifold, ensuring faster heating of the catalytic converters.
Emissions are controlled by two close-coupled three-way catalytic converters
with linear lambda control, which are activated immediately after a cold start. Mercedes-Benz reduces nitrogen-oxide emissions by means of two-pipe electrically controlled exhaust gas recirculation, which directs up to 40 percent of the exhaust gases back into the cylinders, depending on the engine’s operation, and by means of two NOx storage catalytic converters on the underbody. During lean-burn operation, these catalytic converters absorb the nitrogen oxides and re-release them in short regeneration phases so that they react chemically to form harmless nitrogen.
Four valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust camshaft adjustment, a two-stage intake manifold, a balancer shaft and intelligent thermal management are further highlights of the V6 engine with direct injection. The crankcase and cylinder head are made of aluminium; the cylinders are equipped with liners that have a low-friction aluminium-silicon coating.
Precision-modified eight-cylinder engine
The eight-cylinder unit in the E 500 model – the flagship powerplant in the new generation of Mercedes-Benz V engines – incorporates an extensive technology package to create a blend of high output and torque yield with exemplary refinement and effortlessly superior agility. The extent of the powerplant’s capability is highlighted by the performance figures for the new top-of-the-range E-Class model, which is equipped with the 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission as standard:
- 0 to 100 km/h: 5.3 seconds
- 80 to 120 km/h: 3.6 seconds (in 3rd gear)
By incorporating an intelligent valve-timing concept, the Mercedes engineers achieve advances that are a major factor behind the excellent torque and output characteristics. An optimum supply of fresh gas for the cylinders is assured thanks to four-valve technology and, above all, continuously variable and continuous intake and exhaust camshaft adjustment. The valves always open at the just the right time, in line with the current driving situation, thus substantially improving the gas cycle in the combustion chambers and reducing the amount of lost energy.
The "quadruple" continuously variable camshaft adjustment process is further enhanced by shifting camshafts, which are used to enable opening of the exhaust valves and, therefore, further improve the engine’s gas cycle. The exhaust cams are designed so that the valves open at different times during the exhaust process, depending on the firing order. As a consequence, the pressure fluctuations inherent in a V8 engine’s exhaust train are reduced. Thanks to a more constant residual-gas content, a higher knock limit and improved bottom-end and mid-range cylinder charging, the shifting camshafts increase the V8 engine’s torque and refinement. The effective mean pressure at 2000 rpm, for example, is around six percent (10.3 : 11.0 bar) higher than in a comparable engine not fitted with shifting camshafts.
Modified manual transmission and consumption-optimised automatic
The Mercedes engineers have adapted the tried-and-tested six-speed manual transmission to suit the high torques of the four-cylinder engines. For instance, they equip the new E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model with a modified transmission which, thanks to more effective gearing, a dual-mass flywheel and a larger clutch, is capable of transmitting the peak torque of 500 Nm. On account of the larger gears, the transmission is around 78 millimetres longer than its counterpart for the other four-cylinder models.
The five-speed automatic transmission, available as an option for the petrol models and four-cylinder diesel models (standard for the E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY) has likewise been precision-modified and features a newly developed converter that reduces the hydraulic losses and, therefore, operates even more fuel-efficiently than previously.
Standard equipment for the new V6 and V8 E-Class models includes a seven-speed automatic transmission. In "C" mode, the 7G-TRONIC offers a consumption-optimised transmission mode that is always active after the engine is started. Earlier upshifts mean the powerplant operates at a lower engine speed level and, therefore, consumes less fuel. A further new development is the standstill decoupling function: if the car is stopped at traffic lights or stuck in traffic, for example, the transmission shifts to "N" position and thus reduces the engine load.
4MATIC: new all-wheel-drive technology saves up to 0.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres
For the E-Class, Mercedes-Benz offers a new generation of the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, which is even more efficient, even lighter and even more compact than the previously installed all-wheel-drive technology. These advantages over the outgoing model are evident in the improved traction and lower fuel consumption.
Three of the models are available with all-wheel drive: the E 350 4MATIC with a six-cylinder engine developing 200 kW/272 hp consumes 9.7 litres of premium unleaded petrol per 100 kilometres (provisional NEDC combined figure), making it 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres more economical than before.
In the case of the E 350 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY model (170 kW/231 hp), the fuel saving compared to the comparable predecessor model amounts to 0.6 litres per 100 kilometres. The V6 direct-injection diesel engine posts a fuel consumption figure of 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres (provisional NEDC combined figures). With the E 500 4MATIC model, meanwhile, the Mercedes engineers have succeeded in reducing the fuel consumption by 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres compared to the outgoing model.
The latest-generation 4MATIC is a Mercedes development that only adds 50 to 70 kilograms of extra weight (depending on model) and boasts a compact design that takes up very little space in the transfer case area. It can therefore be installed without any modifications to the body and without impeding the front-passenger footwell. What’s more, the compact design makes for lower noise and vibration levels.
The permanent all-wheel-drive system, which works in tandem with the standard-fit Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), really comes into its own in poor weather conditions such as rain, snow or black ice as well as when starting off, accelerating, cornering at speed or driving on poor road surfaces. In these situations, the electronically controlled 4MATIC system greatly enhances traction, directional stability and road adhesion.
These exemplary handling qualities go hand in hand with hallmark Mercedes comfort thanks on the one hand to the selected damper control and on the other hand to the meticulous spring and damper tuning for the all-wheel-drive models, which largely replicates that for the rear-wheel-drive models. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension system is fitted as standard for the E 500 4MATIC model or as an optional extra for the two other all-wheel-drive Saloons. A further comfort-related aspect of the 4MATIC is the omission of conventional differential locks which, as other all-wheel-drive passenger cars show, affect steerability and handling.
Transfer case integrated in 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission
Unlike before, the transfer case is now integrated directly in the 7G-TRONIC transmission. The transfer case consists of a planetary centre differential and two bevel gears, which form the side output to the front axle. The centre differential produces the newly defined torque distribution between the front and rear axles – 45 to 55 percent (previously 40 to 60 percent) – which is noticeable above all in the improved directional stability, road adhesion and traction compared to the outgoing models.
A further highlight of the new powertrain concept is the compact side output to the front axle gear, which is based on a one-stage concept, meaning that a complete gear stage can be omitted compared to the previous 4MATIC drive system. Furthermore, the rear universal joint on the propshaft is integrated in the power take-off output gear. This space-saving design allows the propshaft to the front axle to be routed very close to the transmission without having to make modifications to the bodyshell.
The significantly higher efficiency of the 4MATIC drive system and the resulting lower fuel consumption compared to the predecessor models is largely down to the omission of the gear stage for the transfer case power take-off and an improved oil supply, since the integral design means that the transmission and the transfer case share the same oil circuit.
Multiple-disc clutch with lock between the front and rear axles
The new double-disc clutch located on the centre differential produces a basic locking torque of around 50 Nm between the front and rear axles. In this system, a cup spring preloads the clutch pack with a permanent force. If the wheels on one of the two axles start to spin, the relative movement of the discs causes a friction torque to be transmitted from the faster-turning axle to its slower-turning counterpart.
This principle of variable torque displacement between the front and rear axles improves the traction, directional stability and road adhesion of the 4MATIC models. The traction assistance provided by the double-disc clutch is especially noticeable when the friction ratio between the tyres and the road is low, since the clutch locks the powertrain mechanically during moderate starting if the friction coefficient between the tyres and the road is less than µ = 0.3 (more or less equivalent to snow). The wheels are prevented from spinning in such a way as to avoid what is known as the "polishing effect", which leads to a reduction in the friction coefficient. Another advantage of the double-disc clutch is the improved load-change characteristics of the 4MATIC models.
Electronic traction system in place of differential locks
4MATIC uses the Electronic Traction System (4ETS), an additional component of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), in place of conventional differential locks. It has been modified and now provides a even higher level of comfort and even better traction. 4ETS is activated automatically when one or more wheels lose grip on the road. In this event, 4ETS brakes these wheels automatically and individually, thus increasing the drive torque at the wheels offering sufficient traction at the same time. These millisecond-fast braking pulses achieve the same effect as three differential locks. In addition, the 4ETS automatic braking pulses are based on the speed of the car.
The newly developed DIRECT CONTROL suspension with standard-fit amplitude-dependent damping system is one of the major factors behind the high degree of long-distance comfort provided by the E-Class. The shock absorbers adapt to the current driving situation, reducing the damping forces automatically when driving normally with low shock-absorber impulses and increasing the forces up to the maximum as required when cornering at speed or performing evasive manoeuvres. In this way, the chassis and suspension meet driver requirements in terms of road roar, tyre vibration and agility – without ever compromising on active safety.
The shock absorber system works by purely hydromechanical means without the need for sensors or electronics. Its core components are a bypass duct in the shock absorber’s piston pin and a control piston which moves in a separate oil chamber. When the shock-absorber bounce is low, the control piston moves oil through the bypass duct so that a lower damping force is produced at the actual shock-absorber valve. The result is "softer" shock-absorber characteristics and, consequently, a high level of ride comfort. If the excitation of the shock absorber is greater, the control piston moves to its limit position so that oil ceases flowing through the bypass duct, meaning that the full damping force is available.
Mercedes-Benz has modified several aspects of the three-link front suspension with McPherson struts and, as a result, has achieved excellent results in terms of ride comfort. In the interests of optimal axle kinematics, more favourable vibration characteristics and enhanced safety, the lower link level consists of two individual elements that serve as torque and cross struts. As well as offering more precise wheel location, the main benefit of these struts is that they allow better compensation for vibrations caused by tyre imbalance and fluctuations in braking forces than rigid wishbones. In addition, more crumple space is available in the event of a frontal crash. The third front-axle link is the track rod which connects the transversely installed steering gear to the wheels.
The spring struts consist of cylindrical, transverse force-compensating coil springs, double-tube shock absorbers and newly developed three-phase head bearings. In order to further optimise ride comfort, the Mercedes experts have chosen a starkly upright position for the spring strut so as to reduce the forces acting on the torque strut bearing. As a consequence, it was possible to reduce the bearing rigidity, which has a positive effect on the chassis’ tyre/road contact characteristics and rolling characteristics – for example when driving over expansion joints running across the road. The front anti-roll bar is connected to the spring strut, which is likewise actively involved in locating the front wheels.
Intelligent use of aluminium and steel reduces the weight of the front axle by twelve percent compared to the outgoing model. The forwards-slanting torque struts and the cross struts are made of aluminium.
High-strength subframes for axle, steering, engine and transmission
The front-axle components, steering gear, engine and transmission are pre-mounted on a high-strength-steel subframe which is bolted securely to the body’s side members, making it a key component in the front crash structure of the new E-Class: in the event of a frontal impact, the subframe forms a separate load-bearing path along which the impact energy is absorbed at specific points (see page 56). The stiffness at the connecting points between the subframe and the body where load is transferred as a result of the forces and vibrations produced by the chassis and suspension has been increased substantially, all of which translates into more agile and more precise handling.
Steering: variable ratio for exceptional safety and agile handling
As well as modifying the chassis and suspension, the Mercedes experts have newly developed the steering for the new E-Class, thus further enhancing steering precision, response and steering comfort. Standard equipment for the new E‑Class includes rack-and-pinion power steering with a variable ratio, which is more indirect in the central position compared to the outgoing model and, therefore, helps to improve directional stability and road adhesion at high speed. When the steering wheel angle exceeds around 100 degrees, the ratio becomes more direct to reduce the number of steering wheel turns required to park or manoeuvre.
Mercedes-Benz offers the Direct-Steer system that has proven such a resounding success in the SL-Class as an optional extra (standard for the V6 and V8 models). It fully lives up to its name by providing the driver with more direct response when cornering and, therefore, even more agile handling. In short, it delivers even more driving enjoyment. Hence the Direct-Steer system offers all the benefits of the previously installed speed-sensitive power steering system – less steering effort is required at low speed, when manoeuvring or parking, for example – whilst also enhancing handling dynamics.
The variable rack ratio, which adjusts in line with the steering angle, increases sharply as soon as the angle reaches five degrees, meaning that the driver does not have to move the steering wheel a great deal when cornering. The E-Class responds more spontaneously, and the driver has even more control over the car when greater manoeuvrability and agility are required, such as when driving on twisting country roads, i.e. at medium speed and with medium steering angles.
In other driving situations, meanwhile, the system offers the same advantages as the proven speed-sensitive power steering system and even goes one step further in some cases. For instance, the new Mercedes steering can be even more indirectly configured in the central position than previous steering systems, giving the driver an exceptionally assured steering feel when driving at high speed as well as improving straight-ahead driving and directional stability. When driving slowly or parking, the new technology combines with the speed-sensitive power steering to provide even more comfort than before because the direct ratio further reduces the steering effort required.
A further highlight is the power steering pump featuring an electrically controlled solenoid valve which controls a bypass opening and, as a result, allows metering of the oil quantity in line with requirements. This setup reduces the pressure and oil quantity when driving straight ahead – the power steering pump operates with a substantially reduced output and, consequently, helps to save fuel.
As previously, the E-Class is equipped with an individually adjustable steering column with a height adjustment range of +/- 25 millimetres and a reach adjustment range of 25 millimetres – meaning that, in this regard, the new E‑Class offers far more adjustability than other saloons in this market segment. A fully electrically adjustable steering wheel is included if the optional Memory package is ordered. To greatly enhance occupant safety, the steering column has been designed to collapse telescopically when hit by the driver with a certain degree of force in the event of a frontal collision. The extended deformation path, which is up to 100 millimetres longer, reduces the forces exerted on the driver’s upper body if a collision occurs.
Rear axle: multi-link independent suspension modified in several key areas
Mercedes’ multi-link independent suspension, which has proven itself time and again over a period spanning more than 25 years, has been further modified for use in the new E-Class in order to meet more stringent requirements in terms of comfort and agility. Modifications include the axle carrier’s front cross-bar, which now has a larger support base at the connecting points with the car’s body. As a consequence, the forces that can be transferred into the passenger cell are reduced: a comfort benefit that is particularly noticeable when driving over expansion joints running across the road, for example.
In keeping with the lightweight-design concept at the heart of the new E-Class, wheel location components such as struts, hub carriers and the metal sections of the elastomer bearings are largely made of aluminium. The rear-axle subframe is made of high-strength steel.
AVANTGARDE chassis with lowered body
As well as the standard-fit DIRECT CONTROL suspension with steel springs and amplitude-dependent damping system, Mercedes-Benz offers sports-tuned suspension with reinforced anti-roll bars and 17-inch light-alloy wheels for the AVANTGARDE line. If this suspension system, also available as an optional extra for the other model variants, is specified, the body is lowered by 15 millimetres.
If the AMG Sports package is ordered, the AVANTGARDE chassis is also equipped with 18-inch wheels, larger brakes and perforated front brake discs.
Air suspension: available in combination with continuously adaptive damping system for the first time The new E-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature a combination of AIRMATIC air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system that adapts the damper characteristics with continuously variable control – individually for each wheel. This air suspension setup is available as an option for the V6‑powered E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY models and for the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC and E 350 4MATIC models; it is fitted as standard for the E 500/E 500 4MATIC models.
A total of seven sensors monitor the driving situation and the position of the body, sending their information to an electronic control unit, which also processes information concerning road speed, steering wheel angle, braking torque and engine torque, using this data to calculate the optimum shock-absorber characteristics. The system adjusts the damping force for each wheel individually, depending on the current road conditions and driving situation. When driving normally, soft damping settings are also selected if the road surface is poor. This mode offers the E-Class occupants maximum comfort without impairing the outstanding directional stability, road adhesion or handling safety. As the driving style becomes more dynamic, the shock-absorber settings are adapted continuously and therefore meet the driver’s need for enhanced agility.
The driver can pre-program the principal vehicle characteristics at the push of a button on the dashboard. There are two modes to choose from: "Comfort" or "Sport". In Sport mode, the hydraulic forces of the shock absorbers are increased so as to allow even better directional stability and road adhesion at high speeds as well as reduce understeer at speeds of up to 120 km/h.
Newly developed McPherson struts
The Mercedes engineers have newly developed or modified many key aspects of the air suspension system. One particular highlight is the wheel-locating McPherson air suspension strut on the front axle, which combines the shock absorber, air bellows and air reservoir. The air bellows is much larger than on the outgoing model and has been further optimised using a new material. The special shape of the air bellows made it possible to use a McPherson air suspension strut in a luxury saloon for the first time.
Likewise, the experts paid special attention to the head bearings for the new air suspension struts, which have to transfer all the forces and, therefore, need to be capable of withstanding extremely high loads in both the compression and rebound stages. These requirements are fulfilled by an extremely rigid, diecast-aluminium flange that supports the bearing. It is the result of painstaking computer simulations and calculations of the complex interplay between the spring strut and the body. Its special design ensures ten times greater stiffness at the point where forces are applied in the air suspension strut area compared to the outgoing model. As a consequence, the newly developed spring strut bearings are one of the main reasons behind the exemplary vibration characteristics at the front of the car. Incidentally, the same benefits are achieved even if steel suspension is fitted.
Brakes: with Hill-Start assist and brake drying function
With the ADAPTIVE BRAKE, the new E-Class offers an innovative braking system incorporating additional assistance functions for even greater comfort and safety. One example of this is the practical HOLD function: after the E-Class has been braked to a standstill, briefly pressing the brake pedal a little further is all that is required to activate this function. The car is then held by the brakes, even if the driver’s foot comes off the brake pedal. In this way, the ADAPTIVE BRAKE prevents the car from rolling forwards when stopped at traffic lights or stuck in stop‑and-go traffic and from rolling backwards when facing up a slope. The HOLD function is deactivated automatically when the car moves off.
If the driver’s foot moves abruptly from the accelerator to the brake pedal before an emergency stop, the brake system increases the pressure in the brake lines and brings the pads into contact with the brake discs so that maximum braking power is available as soon as the driver hits the brake pedal. This priming of the brakes allows the system to assist the standard-fit Brake Assist system.
The ADAPTIVE BRAKE enhances safety in the wet by sending brief braking pulses at regular intervals to remove the film of moisture from the brake discs, allowing the brakes to work to full effect. This automatic brake drying function is always activated when the windscreen wipers on the E-Class have been operating for a certain time; the driver never even notices these precisely metered brake pulses.
Finally, the ADAPTIVE BRAKE assists the driver with hill starts. If the sensors detect that the Saloon is stopped on an uphill slope, a hill-start-assist function is activated automatically, maintaining a constant brake pressure for a brief period to prevent the E-Class from rolling backwards. The driver therefore has enough time to move their foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator without having to use the foot-operated parking brake.
Even more effective brake discs and brake booster
Large front and rear brake discsprovide an ideal technical basis for ensuring safe and reliable deceleration in any driving situation. The front and rear discs measure up to 344 millimetres and 320 millimetres in diameter respectively, depending on the engine version.
For brake cooling, the Mercedes engineers have developed two-section aluminium cover plates which have been tested in the wind tunnel and ensure that, whilst driving, the cool air flows from the underbody into the wheel arches and, ultimately, to the brake discs.
Further technical highlights in the new E-Class include the pedals. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz has used a steel and plastic hybrid design for the pedal support, which reduces weight and takes up less space than the previously used technology. The brake pedal, made from two shells that are welded together, is attached in this support. The shell design likewise helps to reduce weight and also ensures high torsional stiffness and bending strength.
Control systems: electronics for safe motorin
When it comes to active safety systems too, the E-Class features an array of state-of-the-art technology as standard, including anti-lock brakes, acceleration skid control, Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program. For ESP®, Mercedes‑Benz has developed control logicthat offers the driver even more effective assistance in critical cornering situations: precisely measured brake pulses sent to up to three wheels cause a moderate reduction in the car’s speed and help it to turn into the bend.
ESP® vehicle/trailer stabilisation, which is activated if the E-Class is equipped with a trailer coupling, detects dangerous oscillating movements of the trailer and restabilises it automatically by sending precisely measured brake pulses to the front wheels of the towing vehicle. If the danger is even more acute, the system applies the brakes to reduce the car’s speed automatically as well as reducing the engine torque before the precisely measured brake pulses are sent to the wheels to stabilise the trailer.
As an option, Mercedes-Benz can equip the new E-Class with a swivelling trailer coupling featuring a ball head that does not need to be fitted and removed every time it is used. Together with the socket, it swivels forwards underneath the body and cannot be seen when not in use. The E-Class has a maximum towing capacity of up to 2100 kilograms (braked) – a new record in this vehicle category.
The Electronic Stability Program also monitors the tyre inflation pressure and, if one of the tyres loses pressure suddenly, warns the driver. To do this, the system continuously compares the wheel speeds, which are dependent on the road speed, the vehicle load and the tyre inflation pressure. In addition, the control unit also analyses other dynamic handling-related ESP®sensor signals such as lateral acceleration, yaw rate and wheel torques in order to diagnose pressure loss in a tyre. Hence the system can detect discrepancies and indicate the information on a central display for the driver.
In order to ensure continued mobility in the event of a flat tyre, Mercedes-Benz offers the option of run-flat tyres. These are available in 245/45 R 17 format and feature self-supporting sidewalls, enabling Mercedes customers to continue driving for up to 50 kilometres at 80 km/h, depending on the vehicle load.
Wheels and tyres: 16-inch light-alloy wheels as standard
The range of wheels and tyres for the new E-Class offers a wealth of personalisation options for the Saloon. Mercedes customers have a choice of twelve wheel and tyre combinations in 16-, 17- or 18-inch format. The four-cylinder E 200 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY, E 220 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY and E 200 CGIBlueEFFICIENCY models are equipped with 16-inch nine-spoke light-alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance 205/60 R 16 tyres as standard. Thanks to a special forging technique, the weight of the wheels has been reduced by a total of 9.6 kilograms.
For the E 250 CDI, E 350 CDI, E 350 BlueTEC, E 250 CGIand E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY models, Mercedes fits 225/55 R 16 tyres and 7.5 J x 16 light-alloy wheels as standard. The top-of-the-range E 500 model is shod with 18-inch light-alloy wheels and 245/45 R 17 tyres ex factory.