The E-Class, the core model of the Mercedes-Benz range and the synthesis of all it stands for is back on the road after a face-lift and Auto & Design tells the story of its development. Its key feature remains the front section with its four oval headlamps, a theme that has become the common denominator of all Mercedes models, since its first appearance on a coupé concept at the 1993 Geneva Show and subsequent transfer to the first E-Class, two years later.
It might have seemed a bit simple-minded to base the redesign of the brand’s core model on a styling cue already deployed on every other model in the range. “You modernise or die”, remarks director of design Peter Pfeiffer, “and our designers are always coming up with new ideas. Having said that, being less a styling cue than a design concept, our four-headlamp nose is going to be one of our key brand identifiers for a long time”.
Front view apart, the exterior of the new E-Class looks very different from its predecessors. Right from the preliminary sketch stage, the designers intentions were clear: the aim was to create a car with a powerful personality with the sleekly airy line that befits a sports coupé, but with the requisite degree of elegance. The new E-Class is 23 mm wider and 12 mm taller than its predecessor, but the length remains unchanged at 4818 mm. However, what has made the real difference is the extra 21 mm which has created the 2854 mm wheelbase needed for a more flowing shape.
The interior is as effortlessly elegant and dynamic as the interior. The luxury materials have been intelligently deployed, the details are refined, the finish meticulous and the technology sophisticated. “No other model so accurately reflects Mercedes values” is the proud claim of Jurgen Hubbert, the firm’s automotive strategy manager.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 135