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First look: new E-class unveiled

Techno triumph: next-gen E-class heralds significant new technological advances in safety, comfort and handling dynamics.

Mercedes-Benz chose the Brussels motor show to reveal its all-new E-class

15 Jan 2002

THE new Mercedes-Benz E-class has finally broken cover at this week's Brussels motor show, celebrating its world premiere in more subdued surroundings just one week after the year's first big show in Detroit.

Internationally the volume seller in the German marque's range, the new generation W211 E-class has arrived on the back of a 48-month development time and an investment totalling more than two billion euros.

The W211 replaces the six-year old W210 E-class, which recorded average sales of more than 200,000 units per year to earn it the title of world's most successful luxury sedan.

The new E-class will be in Mercedes-Benz showrooms around Australia from the beginning of the fourth quarter 2002, after going on sale across Europe in mid-March.

There is no official word on pricing this far out from the Australian launch, but Mercedes-Benz has said it is keen to maintain pricing close to the existing model, which ranges from $80,000 to $190,000.

The design of the new E-class evolves the lines of the current series, while maintaining the distinctive twin-headlight arrangement that initiated the current Mercedes-Benz design trend when it first arrived in 1995.

In the new design they have been angled back slightly, but remain unmistakably E-class in appearance.

Four different engines will be available in the Australian E-class line-up - three petrol engines with six and eight cylinders and one CDI engine with five cylinders - while the European line-up also features a smaller capacity CDI engine in the E220.

Engine outputs of the E240 and E270 models have both risen 5kW to 130kW, while the E500 borrows the 225kW 5.0-litre V8 from the S-class to supersede the E430.

The E320 remains unchanged, with the V6 still pumping out 165kW of power.

Mercedes-Benz claims to have reduced the fuel consumption of the new E-class by up to 0.9 litres per 100km compared with the outgoing model.

As expected, the redesigned 2002 model is a showcase of engineering innovation, designed to demonstrate what Mercedes-Benz calls its worldwide technological leadership.

It sets new standards in the areas of vehicle safety, comfort and handling dynamics, including the electrohydraulic braking system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC), which is standard equipment in the new E-class, as well as the multicontour seat and the AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) air suspension system.

SBC debuted on the SL convertible a few months ago, but is now entering large-scale production for the first time in the E-class sedan.

The multicontour seat automatically adapts to the current driving situation, while the air suspension uses microelectronics to control both springing and damping.

Airmatic is standard equipment in the top-of-the-range E500 V8 model and is available as an option on all other E-class models.

The three existing equipment lines - Classic, Elegance and Avantgarde - continue as before, offering different features to meet varying customer requirements.

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