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New Mercedes-Benz E-Class launched

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The order books have opened for the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon, following this month’s unveiling of the car at the Detroit Motor Show.

Expected on UK roads in May, the fifth-generation model has been completely redesigned to take on competition that includes the mass-selling BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, as well as the latest Jaguar XF.

Built on a new platform with significant use of high-strength steel and aluminium, the new E-Class offers weight savings of up to 100kg despite being 43mm longer than its predecessor with a wheelbase extended by 65mm.

The car has a much bolder exterior appearance, directly evolved from the latest version of book-ending sister models the C-Class and S-Class, which Mercedes hopes will appeal to younger buyers. It is more aerodynamically efficient, with a drag coefficient of 0.23, while the combination of a 6mm lower height and more distinctive roofline aids the car’s visual presence.

The interior has been significantly upgraded. More room is on offer to occupants, again inspired by its sister models with innovations including touchpads and a double digital screen display in the dash using two monitors each of 12.3 inches.

Initially the E-Class will be offered with two engines and two trims, SE and AMG Line. The E220d will cost from £35,935 and be powered by a an all-new four-cylinder 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine with 195hp and 295lbft of torque, out through a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox that is standard on all new UK E-Class Saloon models.

This transmission helps produce significantly improved efficiency compared to the previous E 220 CDI that launched in 2009. That model’s combined cycle 53.3mpg jumps to 72.4mpg while CO2 emissions slide from 139 to 102g/km. The new car also shaves four tenths from the 0-62mph time, hitting the mark in 7.3 seconds.

The first six-cylinder E 350 d variants, costing from £44,930, won’t arrive on UK roads until summer 2016. Compared to the previous E 350 CDI power goes up 27 horses to 258hp, with a 59lb ft torque improvement to 457lb ft shaving almost a second from the 0-62mph time to 5.9 seconds.

The E 350 d’s combined cycle fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg is 14.5mpg improved, its emissions by 48g/km to 133g/km.

Eagerly awaited by some will be the plug-in hybrid version, expected towards the end of 2016 and quoting fuel economy of 134.5mpg and emissions of 49g/km alongside its 279hp and 443lb ft of torque, producing a 6.2-second 0-62mph time.

Mercedes is also heavily promoting the standard specification of the E-Class with SE models offering a package that extends to a Garmin navigation system, parking sensors with a reversing camera and Park Pilot self-parking system, autonomous emergency braking and 64-colour selectable LED interior lighting.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.