Apart from the engines, the BlueEfficiency (standard on all UK cars except the V8s) package for the E-Class is largely responsible for an average fuel consumption improvement of 3 mpg. Engineers from every development department have worked together to optimise numerous assemblies and components, to save fuel by means of reduced weight, a new shape, improved functioning or efficient energy management.
The work done in the wind tunnel was particularly successful, resulting in a drag coefficient of 0.25. Other BlueEFFICIENCY measures include newly developed tyres with up to 17 per cent lower rolling resistance, need-related and therefore energy-saving control of the alternator, fuel pump, air conditioning compressor and power steering, and the ECO start/stop function (from late summer 2009) which switches the engine of the new E 200 CGI off when idling. Displays in the speedometer inform the driver how much fuel is being consumed (mpg), and when they should shift to the next higher gear in the interests of an economical and environmentally conscious driving style.
The Lane Tracking package for the new E-Class includes Blind Spot Assist, and as a new development, Lane Keeping Assist which seeks to prevent the vehicle from leaving the lane unintentionally. When the system recognises that the car is drifting from its lane, the driver is prompted to take countersteering action by brief but unmistakable vibrations of the steering wheel.
Night View Assist from the S-Class will also be available as an optional extra from June 2009 for the new E-Class. Mercedes-Benz has improved this system with a special pedestrian detection function: as soon as Night View Assist Plus recognises pedestrians ahead of the car, they are highlighted in the onboard display to provide a greatly enhanced warning effect.
Thanks to an innovative technology, the new E-Class has developed a highly sensitive means of monitoring its driver's attention level, and warns them of drowsiness in good time. This new Attention Assist drowsiness detection system, which is standard equipment, is equipped with highly sensitive sensors that continuously monitor more than 70 different parameters. Observing the driver's steering behaviour has proved to be a particularly strong indicator: several years of practical research by Mercedes engineers have shown that drowsy drivers make minor steering errors that can often be rapidly corrected in characteristic ways. These corrections are recognised by a highly sensitive steering angle sensor.
During the course of its development, the new E-Class was subjected to more than 150 high-speed crash tests and a total of more than 17,000 realistic crash simulations. The crumple zone principle invented by the Mercedes safety pioneer Béla Barényi has been continuously improved by the engineers in Sindelfingen. The front-end deformation zone of the E-Class acts on four independent levels, and is even more effective than before. The increased use of highest-strength steel alloys also helps to ensure that the bodyshell is able to withstand high impact forces. Around 72 per cent of all the body panels are made from these high-tech steels.
With nine airbags as standard, belt tensioners, belt force limiters, crash-responsive head restraints and ISOFIX child seat attachments, the new E-Class has even more extensive safety features than the preceding model. Another new feature is the active bonnet, which is a continuation of many years of commitment to pedestrian protection on the part of Mercedes-Benz. It is standard equipment in the new E-Class. In the event of an impact, a system of springs raises the rear section of the bonnet by 50 mm within fractions of a second, thereby increasing the available deformation space. Thanks to the cleverly conceived mechanism, the driver is able to reset the active bonnet to its normal position by themself, without visiting a workshop.
The Airmatic system optionally available for the V6 models (standard in the E 500) has for the first time been combined with an electronically controlled damping system, which processes various sensor signals and controls each wheel independently. In this way Mercedes specialists have achieved better ride comfort while improving handling safety and agility at the same time. The driver is able to select either comfort or sport mode at the touch of a button.
The new saloon not only provides Mercedes customers with a choice of nine engines and three suspension variants, but also four design and equipment lines; 7 wheel/tyre combinations in 16, 17, 18 or 19-inch size; 12 exterior paint finishes and four different seat upholstery materials in up to five colour combinations to suit their individual preferences. The choice of interior trim has been extended with the range now including aluminium trim and high-gloss exotic wood.
Standard SE specification includes 16-inch light-alloy wheels in a five-spoke design, aluminium trim, Artico upholstery, heated front seats and a four-spoke multifunction steering wheel lined in fine nappa leather with chrome inserts. Also included in the standard equipment is the Audio 20 CD /radio system with a twin receiver, CD-player, eight speakers and a Bluetooth interface for a mobile phone. The clearly laid out 5.8 in screen in the centre of the dashboard can be operated by the driver or front passenger, using the Controller on the centre console. Advanced Parking Guidance is also standard.
The Avantgarde line shows the E-Class in a decidedly modern light. This is ensured by additional standard features such as bi-xenon headlamps with the Intelligent Light System and LED daytime running lights, LED technology for all the rear lights, 17-inch light-alloy wheels in a five twin-spoke design, a special, lowered suspension set-up, ambient lighting and the instrument cluster in a sporty tubular design. This model variant is also distinguishable by its different bumper design and a chrome-plated radiator grille with three glossy, black louvres.
The new E-Class will appear in the showrooms of the European Mercedes sales and service outlets and dealerships in March 2009, arriving in the UK from mid-June 2009.5 EuroNCAP stars for Mercedes E-Class
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