Mercedes-Benz’ next W214 E Class is due later this year
Mercedes’s next-generation E-Class is coming into focus as Benz prepares its midrange sedan for launch later this year. Prototype mules of the new car and its heavily updated platform, more powerful electric architecture, and a full range of electrified engines, are also dropping their camouflage to allow us to render accurate sketches on its new look.
Late W214 development mules photographed testing on German public roads reveal latest Mercedes design cues. Triangulated SL-style headlamps punctuate a taller and narrower hexagonal grille that gets the tri star mesh treatment. The lower valence is flatter and simpler, more in keeping with upscale models of the recently revised A class sedan.
The rear end also gets design changes, said to sit somewhere in between the look of current C and S Classes. We expect the taillights to be taller and more angular. The real changes in the new E Class however go on under the skin.
Biggest E Class Changes Happen Under the Skin
One of the last Mercedes-Benzes to be based on the existing MRA platform, the subtly longer and wider sixth generation W214 E-Class saloon gets a slightly longer wheelbase and broader track widths. For both a larger footprint and increased cabin dimensions.
Every new W214 E-Class model will feature an electrified powertrain. The existing 197 kW 550 Nm M254 turbo petrol, and 200 kW 400 Nm OM654 turbodiesel four-cylinders will gain integrated starter-generators and their required 48-volt electrics. Combustion engines also get exhaust systems modified to meet draconian new EU7 emission regulations.
The 2.9-litre M256 turbo petrol and 3-litre OM656 turbodiesel straight sixes will benefit similar upgrades. They will come in the choice of mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid functionality to deliver up to 325 kW in the petrol and 245 kW for the top diesel. The plug-in hybrids get a 28.6 kWh battery for 100 km electric range.
AMG E 53 and E 63 models will follow. But don’t expect a brawny V8. Petrolheads may be miffed by the news that the 53 will get the C 63’s’s M 139L four-cylinder performance plug-in hybrid, and the powerhouse E 63 version will get a highly modified M256 turbo 3-litre straight-six with approaching 600 KW on tap.
Mounted longitudinally, it will work hand in glove with an electric motor on the rear axle. The power unit will likely share a number of key components with the M139L four pot, and M177 biturbo V8 used by the C63 and GT 63. It will share those modular units’ mechanical dimensions.
Rear or All Wheel Drive, New Tech for W214
Mercedes’ latest 9G-tronic nine-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox will turn the rear axle of lower spec models and Benz’ 4Matic all-wheel drive for the more upmarket versions powerful models, including the AMGs.
New E also gets modified double-wishbone front and a multi-link rear ends complimented by optional air suspension and, for the first time on the E-Class. Also optional, rear-wheel steering will offer up to 10 degrees of steering aft.
Also expect a broad range of new technology in the new W214, from the latest ‘Hey Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment interface, to 5G connectivity for wireless data updates and even lidar-based level-three autonomous driving in countries where it is allowed.
The E-Class sedan will come to market alongside Estate and E-Class All Terrain, but there’s no news yet on a Coupé or Cabriolet. They will morph into a new CLE midway between this E and the junior C Classes. CLE will also come as a four-door coupe.
Will the W214 E Class Safest in Class again?
Expect the next E-Class to be among, if not the safest car in its class. As well as adopting all the various driving assistant systems from the larger S-Class, the sixth-generation model is also set to support level three autonomous driving functionality with sensors.
Expect to see first images of the next Mercedes-Benz W214 E Class in the not too distant future. And in the flesh later in the year or early in 2024. – Michele Lupini
Sketches: Michele Lupini