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Mercedes-Benz re-sculpts its E-Class

Mercedes-Benz is giving its best-selling E-Class line-up a little nip, tuck and smoothing for the new year.

   This new, fresh-faced E gets its global debut at next month’s Detroit auto show before hitting the showrooms next spring as a 2014 model.

   It’s been four long years since the current version landed, so the time is right for a mid-cycle refresh to keep the E-Class faithful coming back for more - and steering new buyers away from BMW’s 5, Audi’s A6 and Lexus’ funky new GS.

   Most of the knife-work has been focused on the front end, with a new hood design, awesome new LED headlights, and an aggressive  bumper design that could have come from the drawing board of AMG, Merc’s performance division.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - sneak peak

   Gone is the old quad headlight design. In its place are twin one-piece units with cool-looking LED daytime running lights that give the look of twin headlights.

   The new lights book-end a bigger and bolder grille that, for the first time, is available in two designs. For the ‘Luxury’ version, there’s a three-louver look with the trademark three-pointed star on the hood. For the ‘Sport’ model, it’s a terrific two-bar design with a pizza-sized star right in the center.

   I was never a fan of the current car’s awkward, over-sized bulge over the rear wheels. For this new model, it’s been smoothed out and stretched to give a more pleasing, quietly muscular look.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon with Sport grille - The Wheel World with Howard Walker

   At launch, the model line-up will stay pretty much the same, with both the E sedan and wagon available with a choice of V-6 (E350) or V-8 (E550) engines that are carried forward from today’s range.

   But come next fall, Mercedes will introduce an E250 BlueTEC powered by a high-economy turbocharged 2.1-liter four-cylinder cranking out 190-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Expect 40-plus mpg economy.

   There’ll also be an E400 Hybrid, equipped with a 302-horse 3.5-liter V-6 boosted by a 27-hp electric motor that should deliver 24 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway. 

   And expect all the hi-po AMG E63 models to come flooding in, along with new E-Class coupes and convertibles, as we head towards 2014.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

   There’s also a big technology story with this new E-range, including Collision Prevention Assist that, together with Adaptive Brake Assist, moves closer to preventing collisions. A new Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera system will build a three-dimensional view, on the dashboard screen, of what’s ahead for a distance of up to 1,650 feet.

   The E-Class has always been one of my favorites for its all-round capability, restrained elegance and bank-vault solidity. This upcoming 2014 version is only going to cement our relationship.

2014 Mercedes E-Class - interior - debut at Detroit Auto Show in 2013


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