High­brow hy­brid

Not so much a facelift as a whole new E-class is on its way

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

THE first Benz hy­brid for Aus­tralia is be­ing read­ied in Ger­many to spear­head a ma­jor mid-life over­haul of the mid­sized Mercedes E-Class.

The up­dated E is set for sales from July, with a sig­nif­i­cant boost to value and tech­nol­ogy, although the BlueTec hy­brid is likely to be a lit­tle later.

It com­bines diesel and elec­tric power with the prom­ise of a 0-100km/h sprint in 7.5 sec­onds and fuel econ­omy of 4.1L/100km.

The hy­brid is the head­liner but, again, Benz has gone over­board with an up­date that’s al­most the equiv­a­lent of a full model change at other brands. It also gets an early break on some of the tech­nol­ogy that was devel­oped for the coming re­newal of the S-Class flag­ship, which will be pre­viewed later next year.

There are about 2000 new parts in the 2013 E-Class, a sim­i­lar ap­proach to that be­gun with the pre­vi­ous-model E and car­ried into last year’s com­pact C-Class.

The tim­ing of the up­dated E, and the ex­tent of the changes, are due to the im­mi­nent ar­rival of an all-new 5-Se­ries from Mercedes-Benz’s dead­li­est ri­val, BMW.

It’s clear that Benz wants to get out first with a car that makes it hard for cus­tomers to choose a BMW, even af­ter a to­tal over­haul.

It’s still early for pric­ing and models but we’re work­ing to­wards a spec­i­fi­ca­tion that will change the seg­ment as it stands,’’ Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia spokesman Jerry Sta­moulis tells Cars­guide.

‘‘ That means safety equip­ment and com­fort features we might not have seen in the past at the lower end of the E-Class range.’’

The cur­rent line-up starts at $79,900 for the E200 run­ning to the E63AMGat $240,485.

Ma­jor changes to the nose and tail an­nounce the ar­rival of the 2013 E-Class, as well as re­flect­ing the lat­est de­sign di­rec­tion for the brand.

It’s not a rad­i­cal move and there are no changes to the mid-sec­tion but it is an ob­vi­ous up­date.

At the front, the car still has a four-lap look but it’s in­te­grated into a pair of head­lamps— with the Benz star sit­ting proud in base models and in­te­grated into the grille on up­scale cars.

It’s still a clas­sic E-Class shape, although it points to our lat­est de­sign di­rec­tion,’’ Sta­moulis says.

In­side, the car is fresh­ened with new ma­te­ri­als and a dif­fer­ent in­stru­ment lay­out.

Sta­moulis says MercedesBenz will be mak­ing plenty of noise about the hy­brid E, even though there is lots of other tech­nol­ogy in the car.

Hy­brids haven’t been avail­able to us un­til now but we had our hands up as soon as we could get it.

It com­bines a 2.1-litre diesel en­gine with 500Nm of torque with an­other 280(Nm) from an elec­tric mo­tor.’’

Jump­ing the gun: Thenew C-Class gets an early break on tech­nol­ogy devel­oped for the coming re­newal of the S-Class flag­ship

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