The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is here, and it’s had a lot more work done than just a little plastic surgery. Four years into the current model’s lifecycle, the changes begin with the unusual step of a serious sheetmetal rearrangement: gone are the four headlights we’ve seen on the segment leader for 17 years, and gone are the light-relief pontoons over the rear wheels. In front, the one-piece headlights contain LED signatures that ‘break’ them into two segments, but the main lighting functions have been consolidated into a single lens. Full LED headlights will be available for the first time.
Around the lights, the new E-Class will come with a choice of two grille treatments: the luxury version is a showcase in chrome, with a three-bar center section topped by a Mercedes three-pointed star ornament on the hood; the sport version (pictured) is muted, with a two-bar center section supporting a large Mercedes emblem. Beneath either one of them, the lower fascia takes on a more aggressive shape with larger twin scoops outboard.
Down the body, the pontoon detail has been replaced by a stronger and lower trim line that runs to just beyond the rear wheels, and beneath that is another character line that describes wheel arches. Two-tone LED taillamps laid horizontally emphasize the sedan’s width. Inside, the dash is separated into two zones with a horizontal element in one of three finishes, and features a new dash cluster and head unit design.
Among the eleven new and enhanced safety systems are some that borrow from the coming S-Class, the Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera now able to build a three-dimensional view of what’s ahead at a distance of up to 1,650 feet. The systems it serves can detect the speed and position of vehicles in front and those crossing, and can detect pedestrians.
Underhood, buyers can opt for a four-cylinder diesel with 190 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque in the E320 BlueTec, and pair it with 4Matic all-wheel drive for the first time. The E400 Hybrid also joins the ranks next year, bringing 24 city and 30 highway mpg with it. The V6 E3560 and V8 E550 will continue, and all come with stop/start and are are yoked to a seven-speed automatic.