Not quite all-new for the 2014 model year, but more than just a simple product refresh, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class arrives first as a sedan and a wagon, with a range of diesel, hybrid, and gasoline powertrains and a host of new electronic safety upgrades, as well as a new look.
Competing with the likes of BMW's 5-Series, the Cadillac CTS and XTS, and Audi's A6, the Mercedes-Benz E Class is a luxury vehicle at the top of the segment. The 2014 updates improve its competitiveness, adding features from the future S Class even before it reaches the market.
Styling changes for the 2014 E Class are subtle, but significant. The front end gets a smoother, more open bumper, a new hood, and a choice of two different grilles--a first for the modern E Class. Luxury models get a three-bar grille and a star on the hood, while Sport models get the star integrated in the grille itself. The other major design change is the smoothing of the previously flared, Ponton-like rear fenders. The new design is sleeker and more elegant, though some may find it less visually interesting.
At launch, due in Spring 2013, the E Class will come first in sedan and wagon form factors, with the coupe and convertible versions expected sometime after. Two gasoline engines will be available, a V-6 and a V-8, as well as a hybrid, followed later by a four-cylinder diesel. All 2014 E Class sedans and wagons will be mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while 4Matic all-wheel drive is available.
The V-6 engine is a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter unit, carried forward from the current E Class, where it produces up to 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The V-8 rates a stout 402 horsepower, and achieves up to 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway in 2013 trim. Mercedes' 2014 E Class hasn't yet been EPA rated.
The E400 Hybrid is slightly more fuel efficient, at 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while combining the same 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 as the E350, but adding a 27-horsepower electric motor. All-new for the E Class in 2014 is a four-cylinder diesel engine, but it's too new to have EPA gas mileage estimates as yet.
Mercedes' high-performance AMG sub-marque will upgrade the E63 AMG models as well, and while specifics are lacking, the brand has confirmed all models will come with 4Matic all-wheel drive in the U.S.
Key updates to the 2014 E Class come on the electronics side, enhancing safety through an array of sensors and algorithms. A new front-mounted stereo camera system enables three-dimensional imaging of road obstacles and traffic at distances up to 55 yards, with overall system effectiveness stretching out to 550 yards. Together with driver drowsiness detection systems, forward-collision mitigation systems, braking assistance, and several flavors of lane-keeping assist, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class is primed to be one of the safest luxury sedans on the road.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class is due for an official debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, with further details to arrive as the car approaches its launch in Spring of 2013. We'll update this review with more information as it develops.