The E-Class has long been a staple in Mercedes ’ lineup, but even if its stature is firmly entrenched, the current model has struggled to keep up with more popular Mercedes models. It doesn’t help that the current E-Class has been described as undersized and worse, overpriced. But through its misgivings, Mercedes is promising to make amends with the next-generation E-Class coupe and cabriolet models, which appear to be getting that all-encompassing upgrade that the model has needed in quite some time.
Set to be launched in 2017, the new E-Class coupe and cabriolet models will be markedly different from the current model. According to CAR, the two sporty models of the E Class family will receive all-new hardware from its saloon big brother, while also getting a new technologically forward interior and a fresh lineup of straight-six engines.
With rivals like the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series feting their well-deserved time in the spotlight, it’s become increasingly important for Mercedes to catch up with a model that can compete with its rivals. For now, the E-Class remains a viable option, but not necessarily a top-of-the-line choice.
But once the new E-Class coupe and cabriolet models arrive in 2017, the expectation is that Mercedes will have a model that can finally stare down its rivals and not even flinch for a second.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Mercedes E-Class.
June 26, 2014 - First Mercedes E-Class Mule Caught Testing
The new E-Class will get a new "MRA" rear-wheel-drive architecture that’s beind touted as one of the most versatile Mercedes has developed in recent years, allowing for track and wheelbase alterations that can be used on an entire lineup of models. In turn, this will create a visual design that’s far more dynamic than the current model.
The only caveat, according to CAR, is that the new MRA chassis isn’t as light as Mercedes would’ve hoped. This puts the company in a little bit of a bind because the weight of the chassis will likely compel the Mercedes to consider using lighter, more expensive materials to make up for the chassis’ weight. Mercedes has yet to give a thumbs up on that regard, so for now, so that’s a development that we’re all keeping a close eye on.
While the current E-Class does have its share of useful tech, Mercedes is planning for a complete revamp for the next-gen models. One of the big features the new E-Class’ cabin is expected to have is the addition of two full-size color displays, allowing for a more varied and perceptive use of each monitor to suit the driver and passengers alike.
New tech digs like magic body control, ultra-efficient automatic air conditioning and LED-based intelligent lighting, are also being considered for the new E-Class, as are a head-up display, a semi-autonomous driving mode, electric surface heating and improved night vision.
A central touchpad is also expected to be included in the cabin, taking the place of the old Command controller that had become, in its own way, outdated by today’s luxury standards.
A steering-wheel with two scroll-ball control units is also being discussed.
Another important change with regards to the next-generation E-Class is Mercedes’ decision to forgo its current line of V-6 engines for new inline-six engines. The rationale behind the change was pretty simple: developing V-6 engines are more expensive compared to inline sixes, so the use of the latter should cut building expenses by as much as 35 percent. In lieu of ditching the V-6, Mercedes is confident that its new "M256" 3.0-liter straight-six engine, will be up to the task of powering the new line of E-Class models, thanks in large part to new features that include an EU6-compatible combustion process, Camtronic variable valve timing, turbochargers with adjustable vanes and electrically operated auxiliary equipment. All told, Mercedes should have plenty of room to work on the engine’s output, which is expected to be anywhere from 200 to 400 horsepower.
Likewise, diesel versions are also being prepared, specifically a 2.9-liter straight-six codenamed "OM656" that produces 300 horsepower in its top-of-the-line trim. Finally, hybrid options are also being considered, ranging from a 40-horsepower motor all the way up to a 110-horsepower pack that’s ideally placed to complement the gas engine.
If you are looking to find a competitor for the Mercedes E-Class, you won’t have to look very far, as you’ll find most of them hail directly from Mercedes’ home country of Germany. The list includes models like the BMW BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 in the European market, but in the U.S. market, models like Infiniti M already made a name and managed to steal lots of customers from the three famous German brands.
Just like the E-Class, the 5-Series is also about to receive a facelift. It won’t come with any significant updates, just some minor exterior changes. Under the hood, however, the current N55 engine will be dropped in favor of a new inline, turbocharged six-cylinder.
Gallery BMW 5-Series
Our favorite of this class is the Audi A6. Prices start from an even lower $42,200, it has the best look of the three German models, and it has the choice of two engines: a 2.0 TFSI and a 3.0 TFSI. The A6, however, does receive one black mark, as the most powerful version delivers just 310 horsepower — significantly lower than the 402 horsepower offered by the E500.
Gallery Audi A6
The Mercedes E-Class traces its roots all the way back to 1952 with the launch of the W120 and W121 "Ponton" cars, which were produced from 1953 through 1962. They were sold under the "180" and "190" model names. The Ponton models were eventually replaced by the W110 "Fintail" models beginning in 1961. Mercedes also produced 6-cylinder Ponton models, the larger W128/W180 220s.
The W110 "Fintail" (German: Heckflosse) was Mercedes-Benz’s line of midsize four-cylinder automobiles in the mid-1960s. The line was introduced with the 190c and 190Dc sedan in 1962, replacing the W120 180c/180Dc and W121 190b/190Db. The W110 line was then refreshed in 1965 to become the 230, with the lower 200 and Diesel 200D introduced in 1966. Production for these models lasted just two more years, with the W115 220 and 220D introduced for 1968.
The 1962 190c replaced the W120 180c/180Dc and W121 190b/190Db as Mercedes-Benz’s line of less-expensive four-cylinder sedans. The "D" denoted a Diesel engine, a technology pioneered by Mercedes-Benz and championed despite widespread derision in the motoring press.
Eventually, innovations around that time allowed Mercedes to evolve the E-Class to become the car that it is today. It’s been around for eight generations, which is the automotive equivalent of a really, really long time.
So it goes without saying that the Mercedes E-Class is regarded as one of the pillars of Mercedes’ lineup, a distinction it has earned to its fullest capacity.