With Mercedes-Benz and BMW locked in a tight battle for sales supremacy in the United States, both brands have been noticeably accelerating their efforts to gain an edge in the marketplace. The latest example: M-B has significantly refreshed the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class for the new model year, going far beyond the traditional mid-cycle massage with a vehicle that explicitly pulls forward technology from the next generation of the brand’s flagship sedan. In fact, per the automaker: “No less than eleven new or optimized assistance systems from the future S-Class celebrate their world premiere in both the [2014 E-Class] sedan and wagon models.”
"We are setting clear trends in terms of safety, design and efficiency with the new E-Class,” added Dr. Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president of Sales and Marketing for Mercedes- Benz Cars. “It puts many technical innovations on the road and undoubtedly is the best E-Class ever. This also finds expression in its design and its carefully revised interior, which bring a breath of fresh air to the luxury class. The 'E' thus continues to hold its place at the very top of this demanding segment."
Drivers can look for the sedan and wagon models to begin reaching dealerships in the spring of next year, with the hi-po AMG variants slated to arrive in the fall.
And now, with all that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class with a specific focus on the trends called out by Schmidt.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Safety
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is, as expected, a marvel of German engineering, but it has a distinctly Swedish approach to advanced driver aids—backed by the debut of M-B’s Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera. It adds another “eye” to the Mono setup used in the past models, allowing the system to analyze what’s in front of the vehicle in three dimensions. The technology has a 3D range of 55 years, a total range of 550 yards, and can detect objects and pedestrians approaching or crossing in front of the vehicle. Then, based on that data—as well as information from its also-new Multi-Mode Radar sensors—the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can deploy the appropriate safety measure.
Speaking of which, some of the highlights of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class' many safety measures include:
- Collision Prevention Assist, which works with the car’s Adaptive Brake Assist to mitigate the potential for rear-end collisions
- Attention Assist, to help remind drowsy drivers to take a break
- Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, for keeping vehicles in their lane; also, in the E-Class, this feature can help the car “semi-autonomously” keep pace with traffic in certain conditions
- The BAS Plus brake-assist feature with Cross-Traffic Assist, now able to detect both traffic and pedestrians, then optimize brake functionality to help avoid collisions
- Pre-Safe Plus, designed to detect potential rear-end collisions and quickly deploy occupant-protection measures
- A Surround View Camera that provides a top-down, 360-degree view of the area immediately surrounding the vehicle
2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Design
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class benefits from a fairly thorough exterior redesign, too, and for the first time follow the company’s “two-faced” approach to style: As it has done before with other vehicles, M-B will offer two different front-end appearances for the E-Class, one providing a luxury look with a traditional free-standing hood ornament and sophisticated three-bar grille design, the other delivering a more aggressive and sporty presence accented by a bold M-B “star” that’s been integrated into the grille.
But in both cases, a new single-lens headlight design makes its debut, with standard LED accent lighting and available full-LED headlamps. However, E-Class loyalists will note that the new model does retain its traditional “four-eyed” appearance, albeit in a more modern execution, thanks to the way those LED accents are placed.
And similarly subtle adjustments like these are a hallmark of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, from the repositioned character lines on its flanks to its reshaped bumpers and hood.
“The over-all effect,” according to M-B, “is to make the MY14 E-Class look longer and more elegant, and at the same time both dynamic and composed.”
Upgraded and enhanced as well is the car’s cockpit, now set off by a two-part, real wood accent that stretches the length of the dashboard and is offered in burl walnut and black ash. Designers also touched up the instrument cluster, head-unit display, climate vents, and analogue clock to create a space that has been “harmonized with the expressive exterior.”
2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Efficiency
While the engine lineup for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will continue to offer robust powerplants like the 402-hp, 4.2-liter bi-turbo V8 at the top of the range—and more than 500 hp worth of V8 in the E63 AMG—the brand also is catering to customers looking for more efficiency.
As a result, the clean-diesel V6 that powers the 2013 E350 BLUETec sedan is on its way out, to be replaced by an “incredibly efficient” four-cylinder diesel in the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E250 BLUETec. The new engine makes 190 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, and though that’s a bit less power than on tap in today’s E350 BLUETec, the 2014 model could easily be looking at highway fuel-economy marks that get up into the mid-30’s. After all, the E350 BLUETec is rated at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway/ 25 mpg combined, and even with a standard 4Matic AWD system—unavailable on the 2013 car—the 2014 E250 BLUETec will surely see at least some gains, right?
(It’s also worth pointing out that E-Class will continue to offer a hybrid variant in the form of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E400 Hybrid; leveraging a 3.5-liter V6, lithium-ion batteries and a powerful electric motor, the E400 Hybrid will deliver 302 hp, 273 lb.-ft. of torque and an EPA line of 24/30/26.)
Finally, as long as we’re on the topic of powertrains, the E-Class also brings a fresh feature from the transmission department. All engines will be mated to the latest iteration of the automaker’s Direct Select seven-speed automatic transmission, which adds a short-term M-mode function for the 2014 model year. With this feature engaged, even if the car’s pilot starts shifting manually during performance-driving maneuvers, the transmission will automatically switch back to its standard, high-efficiency mode after a set period of time elapses without further DIY shifting.