Is the new Mercedes E-Class the future of automobile intelligence? Mercedes believes so, and with a smorgasbord of smart features, we’re starting to buy into it too. Lovingly dubbed the “Most intelligent executive saloon”, the 10th-generation E-Class not only looks spiffier, but also hopes to be the benchmark for an accident-free ride and varying degrees of autonomous driving.
First, let’s talk about the ride. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine, the E200 mode produces 184hp, achieving nought to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, while the E300 version’s 245 hp will do the same in 6.3 seconds. Merc’s new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission enables nifty gear changes with low engine revs so your fuel goes the extra mile (literally). As the only car in its segment to offer multi-chamber air suspension, the new Mercedes E-Class customizes the suspension’s stiffness with chambers of differing sizes (two in the spring struts of the front axle, three in the rear axle), so your ride feels more stable, even at higher speeds.
The new E-Class has grown over the past 10 years, quite literally. The wheelbase length is now 65mm longer, and the car, an overall 43mm longer than its predecessors so you can expect a suitably bigger cabin. Outside, the new Mercedes E-Class receives Mercedes’ trademark saloon proportions. Its elongated bonnet, coupe-inspired roof and well-defined flanks emit a quiet sophistication the German carmaker has come to be known for.
But this car is all about redefining safety and autonomous driving and there are plenty of features that attest to this. Standards include Active Brake Assist (warns drivers of impending collisions and reacts to vehicles and pedestrians in its danger zone), Attention Assist (alerts drivers of inattentiveness and drowsiness) and Crosswind Assist (reduce effects of strong crosswinds to prevent vehicle from drifting off track).
On the options list:
Drive Pilot – keeps car the correct distance behind vehicles automatically, and can follow them at a speed of up to 210km. Drivers no longer need to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving. The Steering Pilot function will actively help with steering even under poor lane marking conditions.
Active Brake Assist – detects crossing traffic at junctions and will apply brakes autonomously if driver fails to respond.
Evasive Steering Assist – precisely calculated steering torque will help driver avoid pedestrians in a controlled manner while facilitating the straightening up of the vehicle, thereby safely avoiding a collision.
Remote Parking Pilot – vehicles can move in and out of parking spaces remotely with a smartphone app.
Pre-Safe Sound – based on a human reflex in the inner ear (the stapedius reflex), this function emits a short interference signal through the vehicle’s sound system prior to an impending collision, preparing the occupants’ ears for the expected sound of the accident and reducing stress caused.
Multibeam LED headlamps – precision-controlled LEDs automatically illuminate the road with exceptionally bright light without dazzling other road users by adapting to the changing road situations.
The fully digital cockpit is also technologically superior to the previous variants. For a little top-up, drivers can enjoy two wide-screen, high-resolution displays, which respond to swiping movements on touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. Mobile phones can now also be charged wirelessly via Near Field Communication (NFC).
If you’re still not impressed with the new Mercedes E-Class, this video below might just change your mind: