As these images reveal, the new E-Class will be a natural fit between the C-Class and S-Class from a design perspective. The new model trades its square edges and slab sides for tight panels and flowing lines, incorporating shorter front and rear overhangs and a more rounded roofline.
The grille takes an upright stance at the front, while at the rear the tail-lights look set to migrate off the boot panel to sit either side of it, as they do on C-Class and S-Class.
As with that duo, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class will sit on the German manufacturer’s new rear-wheel-drive MRA platform, which features a higher proportion of lightweight aluminium, making the car lighter despite small increases in overall length and width that should create a more spacious interior.
The E-Class also appears the most likely candidate to debut the brand’s next-generation petrol engine family and powertrain technology, including a 48-volt battery system.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the Paris motor show earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz research and development chief Dr Thomas Weber confirmed the new powertrain technology was on its way.
“We will go in a 48-volt direction in combination with a new engine, with a completely new set-up that will have a really highly efficient engine for the future,” Weber revealed.
“Our future gasoline engine family, which is clearly in development, will be necessary to fulfil these tough [CO2
emissions] regulations. The most important issue of course is to have this inline four-cylinder line-up available for all vehicles up to S-Class, maybe in combination with diesel or an integrated starter module.”
When asked directly if the new engine family and technologies would debut in the next E-Class, Weber said with a chuckle, “We’ll see”.
“It could be that it will be linked … the S-Class is on the market, the C-Class is on the market, so alongside the launch of the E-Class could be that … some announcements take place [as to] what kind of engine do we need and will we use in the future.
“If we start in 2016 it will last far beyond 2020 and then at least we need a technology package which is compliant with these tough regulations.”
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class will be released in the second half of next year, first in sedan form, then wagon, coupe and cabriolet body styles. It will go on sale in Australia in 2016.
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will be offered, the latter likely borrowing its powertrain hardware from the C300 BlueTec Hybrid, which uses a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and an electric motor.
The new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 from the Mercedes-AMG GT and C63 models will also find its way beneath the bonnet of the new E63 that’s likely to appear in 2016.
Click the Photos tab for more Mercedes-Benz E-Class spy shots.