Mercedes updates 2014 E-Class with driver assistance systems, four-cylinder diesel with AWD

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  • Image: 2014 E-Class Luxury Sedan interior.jpg
  • Image: 2014 E-Class Coupe.jpg
  • Image: 2014 E63 AMG 4MATIC Sedan.jpg
Image: 2014 E-Class Sedan and Wagon 2.jpg

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available with two different front-end designs: The Luxury version comes with the classic sedan grille with three louvers and star on the hood, while the Sport version features the sports grille with integrated star.

Mercedes-Benz revealed its “extensively updated” 2014 E-Class sedan and wagon—as well as the E-Class coupe, cabriolet, and AMG models—at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The sedan and wagon feature more than 10 new or optimized assistance systems—referred to by Mercedes as “intelligent drive”—many of which make their debut in the E-Class just ahead of the new S-Class being launched later this year.

"This car is more 'digital' than ever," said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the E-Class reveal in Detroit. "The new E-Class further paves the way to more autonomous driving. Technical issues are not the main problem anymore—more important are the legal roadblocks now."

Mercedes claims to have taken “a major step forward” with the introduction of the Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera, compared to the previous Mono Multi-Purpose Camera. The new camera—also located near the rearview mirror on the windshield—features two “eyes” set at 45° to produce a 3-D view of the area up to 55 yd (50 m) in front of the vehicle, with an overall range of up to 550 yd (503 m). The stereo camera gathers data from various systems that can detect vehicles driving in front, oncoming, or crossing; determine their speed and position; and identify pedestrians.

The E-Class also debuts enhanced versions of the Multi-Mode Radar sensor system. Collision Prevention Assist, a radar-based collision warning system with Adaptive Brake Assist that is standard on all models, helps to reduce the risk of a rear-end collision. Standard as well is a new-generation Attention Assist, which now warns of inattentiveness and drowsiness across a wider range, and provides visual information on attention level and time driven since the last break. The driver can adjust the system’s sensitivity.

Other optional assistance systems that are either new or feature enhanced functionality include:

• Distronic Plus with Steering Assist that helps keep the vehicle centered in its lane and can semi-autonomously follow in-line traffic

• Brake Assist system BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist that is now able to detect crossing traffic and pedestrians, and boost braking power accordingly

• Pre-Safe Brake that can now detect pedestrians as well as initiate autonomous braking

• Surround View Camera that covers all four sides of the vehicle and enables a 360° view including virtual bird’s-eye perspective; dynamic guide lines help during parking and maneuvering.

New in the powertrain area is an optional 2.1-L four-cylinder turbodiesel powering the E250 BlueTec with 4Matic all-wheel drive, which replaces the 3.0-L V6-powered E350 BlueTec engine that was only available with rear-wheel drive. Compliant with emissions legislations in all 50 states and available in fall 2013, the E250 BlueTec generates 190 hp (142 kW) and 369 lb·ft (500 N·m), compared with 210 hp (157 kW) and 400 lb·ft (542 N·m) for the previous V6.

All engines in the E-Class lineup (which includes the direct-injection 3.5-L V6 and turbocharged direct-injection 5.5-L V8 gasoline units) now come with the ECO start-stop system as standard equipment, and are mated to a new-generation seven-speed automatic transmission with Direct Select lever and Direct Select shift paddles. A new feature is the short-term M mode: If the driver shifts up or down manually, the transmission independently switches back to automatic shift mode after a predetermined amount of time.

E63 AMG models, launching this summer, come with the AMG SpeedShift seven-speed MCT and, for the first time, are available in a 4Matic AWD (33/67 power split) version. The 5.5-L AMG V8 Biturbo's output increases to 550 hp (410 kW) and 531 lb·ft (720 N·m) from the previous model's 518 hp (386 kW) and 516 lb·ft (700 N·m). An even sportier S-Model boasts 577 hp (430 kW) and 590 lb·ft (800 N·m) thanks to modifications to the engine management system, a boost in the peak injection pressure, and an increase in maximum boost pressure from 13.0 to 14.5 psi (90 to 100 kPa).

Exterior revisions to the 2014 E-Class include new headlamps that incorporate all light functions within a single lens. Low beam and daytime running lights both come with partial LED as standard; full-LED headlamps are optional. New LED taillamps have a horizontal design.

The hood and front bumper also have been completely redesigned, strictly for styling purposes, according to Andreas Kleinkauf, Senior Manager of Product Management for the E-Class. The car retains its 0.26 Cd figure from before. Sport models borrow from the AMG styling package that features larger air intakes and an aluminum trim line along the lower rim of the front bumper.

The 2014 E-Class sedan and wagon will be in U.S. showrooms this spring (coupe and cabriolet models will be available in the summer).

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