Mercedes-Benz has outed the new 2014 E-Class, the latest iteration of its mid-range luxury car, and previewing features set to debut on the upcoming S-Class flagship. The new car - available as a sedan and as a wagon - has a more distinctively "surfaced" front end, with new headlamps (full-LED as an option) and a more distinctive grille, while there are lashings of computer tech under the hood to keep you on the road and away from crushing pedestrians as you waft in your leather-lined cocoon.
It's still unmistakably an E-Class, but Mercedes has tightened things up along the side crease-lines and the rear is less fussy. The BlueDIRECT gas engine range has been expanded, available with a choice of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder options, while ECO start/stop in low-speed traffic is standard across all models. At the top end there's the E500 4MATIC with a 4.6-litre V8 putting out 408HP and boasting a 5.2s 0-62mph dash. Mercedes also has various diesel models, including a BlueTEC HYBRID pairing a four-cylinder diesel engine with a 26HP electric motor for improved fuel efficiency and 107 g/km CO2 output.
Transmissions include a 6-speed manual and a seven-speed auto with shift paddles. Mercedes has introduced a short-term "M" manual mode, too, which automatically returns to fuel-efficient auto mode after a period of time of manual shifting.
Technology plays a greater role elsewhere, too, with a new "Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera" mounted by the rear-view mirror and giving the onboard computers a 3D view of the 500 meter range (including up to 50 meters in front) around the E-Class. That - along with radar systems - is used to track pedestrians and other traffic, in addition to road signs, and works with the various collision prevention, brake assistance, lane-keeping, tailback-tracking, and other systems the car boasts. The cameras will even help you park, showing a bird's eye view of your car and the space you're trying to get into.
At the driver's seat, you'll have the optional COMAND Online system, with a 7-inch color display, internet connection, navigation, emergency calling, and - for a little extra cash - a 6-disc DVD changer. It supports Google search, Google Streetview, local point-of-interest search and other downloadable apps. Otherwise, it's a choice of a CD player with USB port (and 5.8-inch display) with a choice of CD changer and optional navigation. Throw more money again at Mercedes, and they'll put some Bang & Olufsen speakers in there too.
Pricing for the 2014 E-Class is yet to be revealed, and we'll have to wait until 2013 to see the first glimpse of the E63 AMG sedan and wagon models the company has promised.