With more ridges and more resistors, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is certainly the edgiest and most technologically complex mid-size sedan ever produced by the German automaker.
The new sedan went on display for a select audience in Detroit prior to the 2009 Detroit auto show, but the new vehicle did not make an appearance on the show floor. Instead, it's heading for a debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show instead.
Mercedes says the new E-Class offers more innovative safety technology than any competitor, while also sharpening the profile of the stalwart sedan. Most noticeable in its new shape: the new E-Class loses its elliptical headlamps, a hallmark of the past two generations of E-Class sedans and wagons. It also wears more fender creases that relate well to the larger, more ungainly S-Class. And inside, the cockpit shapes also share some familiarity with the S-Class. The new body is 30 percent more rigid than the outgoing car, which should improve the impressive E-Class sense of solidity and heft.
Performance comes from a well-known range of engines. U.S. cars will come as the E350, with a 268-horsepower V-6; the E550 will sport a 382-hp V-8. Direct injection and seven-speed automatics help the new E-Class boost its fuel economy up to 23 percent.
An E63 AMG performance edition and E350 BlueTEC diesel join the lineup about six and 12 months after the fall on-sale date for the new sedan. An all-wheel-drive edition is also planned, to complement the E-Class' revamped rear-drive chassis and optional adaptive air suspension.
A raft of new safety features is meant to distinguish the E-Class from the newest offerings from BMW, Lexus and Volvo. Adaptive headlights offer auto-dimming, while the new Attention Assist uses lane-departure warning technology to alert drivers that might be falling asleep at the wheel--a beep sounds and an espresso cup appears on the dash, actually. Blind-spot alerts are also included on the features list, as is Night View Assist. Along with those standard and optional features, the E-Class also gets eleven airbags, stability control and tire-pressure monitors.
The interior's comfort quotient is ratcheted up with more plush seating and a new array of climate and entertainment gadgets. The multi-contoured seats with adjustable bolstering are borrowed from the S-Class, and the rear seats can be ordered as buckets rather than a bench. A choice of interior wood and trim is offered on European cars. Other features include Blutooth connectivity and available LED driving lights.
See all our photos on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class page, and stay focused on our 2009 Detroit auto show coverage as the press descend on Cobo Hall tomorrow morning.