Mercedes E-Class Bows Ahead Of Opening Day Detroit Auto Show +VIDEO
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
DETROIT - January 11, 2016: On the evening before the 2016 Detroit Auto Show opens its doors, Daimler’s boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche unveiled the new E-Class during a media reception.
Last summer Mercedes-Benz started to feed selected media representatives with news about the upcoming new generation of the E-Class during a technology day.
Then we already saw new technologies that were going to debut, such as Car-to-X communication. The new features have been tested on public roads for the past couple of years. Just imagine yourself on the freeway and you instruct the Drive Pilot to keep a certain speed up to 130 mph (210 km/h). The car can now not only keep that speed, but will change lanes in order to do so. Of course, it will slow down when slower cars are in the way, or if the E-Class itself will be passed. (See our story 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Gets Car-to-X Communication)
Another feature is the Steering Pilot, which can actively intervene by taking into account surrounding vehicles and structures at speeds up to 81mph. The ‘E’ can drive hands free for a short period of time on a highway. It is just one scenario that prepares a car for fully autonomous driving.
Furthermore the new E-Class gets standard a steel-spring suspension that can be combined with two Direct Control selective damping settings (Direct Control Comfort and Direct Control Sport). The E-Class chief engineer Dr. Michael Kelz told me that he is curious if customers will like it. “But it is good that this offers them the possibility to have a choice for a reasonable price, maybe around one thousand dollars.” Dr. Kelz said that he drove a model with Comfort control and that it felt as if you were going 10 miles slower than in reality. “My wife always tells me I am driving too fast, but this time she did not…” The alternative is the much more expensive Air Body Control air suspension on all wheels, which was introduced on the S-Class.
In the cockpit we see a double LCD screen each with a diagonal diameter of 12.3 inch. They are visibly connected by a cover and seem to float.
The new infotainment system does not have gesture control, like we see in the new BMW 7 Series. Mercedes has taken a different track in this respect and has developed a new steering wheel with Touch Control buttons, like those in a smart phone.
The E-class will be available in different variants, including the new E 220 d diesel and, a first for the ‘E’ as 350 e plug-in hybrid.
The 2017 model, which will arrive on the market in the fall, has so many new features that it is too much to mention them all. Important is how we as human beings will react to the new automatic drive functions. But that is something we can only tell after we have made our first drive impression, which will prob
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