With the new E-Class, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the benchmark when it comes to safety, comfort and environmental compatibility in the market segment. With more than 20 new or further technical developments, this saloon further consolidates the leading position of Mercedes-Benz in the luxury class. They include trailblazing innovations for safe driving that are available from no other manufacturer worldwide in this combination. Examples include the standard Attention Assist, optional Adaptive High Beam Assist and automatic emergency braking, which is activated when there is acute danger of a collision.

Mercedes-Benz has improved the already exemplary long-distance comfort of the E-Class even further in the new saloon, including intelligent bodyshell technology with up to 30 per cent greater rigidity, further improved seats and a newly developed suspension whose shock absorbers automatically adjust to the current driving situation. The optional airmatic suspension now works together with an electronic damping system.

The outstanding safety and comfort of the E-Class are matched by its environmental compatibility and economy: the nine available engines are direct-injection units, and consume up to 23 per cent less fuel than before. The combined consumption of the new four-cylinder diesel engines is 53.3 mpg, which corresponds to 139 grams of CO2 per kilometre. All the engines for the new E-Class meet the EU5 emission standard.

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 only 0.25, making the new E-Class the world's most aerodynamically efficient luxury saloon. It betters the already good Cd figure of the preceding model by another four percent.

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.

Engines: new CDI-four-cylinder units with a fuel consumption of 53.3 mpg and 139 grams of CO2 per kilometre

With three completely newly developed four-cylinder engines, the E-Class also remains one generation ahead where diesel technology is concerned. These engines feature latest-generation common-rail direct injection, fast piezo-electric injectors, improved exhaust gas recirculation and an innovative twin turbocharger, making for improved responsiveness and good performance characteristics. To express this in figures, the E 250 CDI with 204 hp and 500 Nm sees an improvement of 60 Nm of torque over the previous E 280 CDI V6 diesel engine, but uses around 23 per cent less fuel returning 53.3 mpg (combined NEDC consumption). This corresponds to 139 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The new four-cylinder diesel engine also powers the E 220 CDI with 170 hp and the E 200 CDI with 136 hp which also have combined fuel consumption figures of 53.3 mpg (available late summer 2009).

The top model in the new E-Class diesel range is the six-cylinder E 350 CDI with an output of 231 hp, which returns 40.9 mpg on the combined cycle, a 2 mpg improvement over the previous E 320 CDI.

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Petrol engines: 20 per cent fuel saving thanks to direct injection

The E 200 CGI and E 250 CGI are equipped with the newly developed four-cylinder direct-injection engine with a displacement of 1.8 litres, turbocharging and variable intake and exhaust camshafts. The E 200 CGI (184 hp) is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and the ECO start/stop function as standard, and returns 41.5 mpg of petrol (combined NEDC consumption, provisional figure). This equates to 159 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

In the E 250 CGI (204 hp), which has a five-speed automatic transmission as standard, maximum torque is now 310 Nm, which represents an increase of more than 26 per cent over the previous V6-engine.

At the same time the NEDC fuel consumption is reduced by over 20 per cent to 38.1 mpg, equating to 175 grams of CO2 per kilometre (provisional figures).

As before, the E 350 CGI with direct petrol injection (292 hp) and the top-of-the-line E 500 (388 hp) are included in the range of engine variants in the new E-Class. Developments have improved the fuel economy on these V6/V8 models by up to 1 mpg.  As a product from Mercedes-AMG, the new high-performance E 63 AMG develops 525 hp.

The V6 and V8-models are equipped with the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission and steering wheel Direct Select lever as standard.

Safety: "intelligent" partner thanks to unique combination of assistance and protection systems

For more than 50 years, the saloons in the E-Class range and their predecessors have been acknowledged as trendsetters in the safety field. The new saloon continues this tradition with an unrivalled combination of the very latest assistance and protection system whose concept and development are based on what actually happens during accidents. These technologies make the E-Class an "intelligent partner" who can see, feel, react reflexively in critical situations and if necessary act independently to prevent accidents or mitigate their consequences. With this concept the new Mercedes model not only protects its own occupants, but also contributes decisively to the greater safety of other road users.

The new E-Class is the first automobile in the world whose headlamps adapt to the traffic situation and respond automatically to avoid dazzling other drivers. The optional Adaptive High Beam Assist uses a camera on the windscreen to recognise oncoming traffic and vehicles moving ahead, and controls the headlamps so that their beams do not reach the other vehicle. This achieves the best possible road illumination in any given situation. The range of the dipped headlamp beams can be extended from 65 to up to 300 metres. If the road ahead is clear, the system performs a gentle transition to high beam.

Mercedes-Benz offers this new system as an option on Avantgarde and Sport models adding to the standard bi-xenon headlamps, the Intelligent Light System and LED daytime driving lights.

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.

Detection of drowsiness based on 70 parameters - as standard

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.

Automatic emergency braking when a collision is imminent

The well-proven, radar based assistance systems from the S-Class are now also optionally available to E-Class customers. A further development of the long-range radar sensor now has a range of 200 metres (previously 150 metres), and is able to monitor the mid-distance so that dynamic events such as a vehicle ahead suddenly pulling out to overtake can be detected even more effectively. The two wide-angle short-range radar sensors, which have a range of around 30 metres, continue to be included in the system.

The radar-supported systems are able to assist the driver with emergency braking. Their sensors are linked to the Brake Assist PLUS system, which automatically calculates the braking pressure to prevent a collision in critical situations. The driver is given an acoustic and visual warning at the same time. When the brake pedal is depressed, the system immediately activates the calculated level of braking assistance.

If the driver fails to respond to the warnings, the radar system first initiates partial braking action. As a second stage, if there is still no driver response and a collision is unavoidable, emergency braking is initiated. This can considerably lessen the severity of an accident, i.e. the system acts as something like an "electronic crumple zone".

Active bonnet, nine airbags and PRE-SAFE® as standard

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 – yet another unrivalled figure in passenger car development.

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.

Another standard feature is the preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. In potentially hazardous situations this reflexively activates precautionary protective measures for the vehicle occupants, so that the seat belts and airbags are able to fulfil their protective function to the full during an impact.

Comfort: further progress with adaptive shock absorbers and improved air suspension

As in the safety field, the E-Class has been setting the standards for long-distance comfort in this vehicle class for several decades. Bettering the already high level of the preceding series, Mercedes engineers have achieved further advances with the new saloon – especially where ride, seating and climatic comfort are concerned.

Standard equipment includes a further improved suspension with adaptive shock absorbers. These automatically adapt to the current driving situation by reducing the damping forces when driving normally, thereby noticeably improving ride comfort. When taking bends at speed or during rapid evasive action, the system switches to the maximum damping effect so that the saloon is stabilised to best effect.

All E-Class models feature Direct Control suspension with Avantgarde and Sport models featuring 15mm lowered suspension as standard.

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 significantly 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.

Well-proven seat technology with a new design

Where seat development is concerned, Mercedes-Benz has added a new quality to a well established Mercedes concept, namely padded seat piping – a sophisticated and demanding upholstery technique that is only used by Mercedes-Benz. This involves the insertion of an additional foam filling under the artico or leather cover, and gives an immediate feeling of comfort and wellbeing when sitting in the car. There are different versions of this padded seat piping: in the SE model and the AVANTGARDE and SPORT line upholstery is transversely contoured.

Active multicontour seats with massage function from the S-Class

The active multicontour seat package (optional) includes newly developed multicontour seats with comfort head restraints and a two-stage massage function in the backrest that has proven highly successful in the S-Class. Depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and vehicle speed, fast-acting piezo-electric valves on the air chambers in the backrests vary their pressure and volume to give the driver and front passenger even better lateral support.

Individual climatisation modes at the touch of a button

Mercedes-Benz has developed a climate control system for the E-Class which not only allows individual temperatures to be set in three zones – for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers – but also offers different "climatisation modes". If this optional Luxury Climate control system (standard on the E 500) is specified, the occupants of the new E‑Class are able to select "Diffuse", "Medium" or "Focus" at the touch of a button, and adapt the air volume and distribution to their personal preferences without sacrificing the convenience of automatic mode. All other E-Class models are equipped with the two-zone automatic climate control system as standard.

Design: distinctive lines flow as an expression of effortless grace and status

In 1995 the E-Class was the first Mercedes model to appear with the highly acclaimed twin-headlamp face – a highly symbolic design feature that still characterises the identity of the E-Class. Nonetheless, the design idiom has remained fluent even for this characteristic styling feature, and has been adapted to suit the self-assured, masculine overall appearance of the saloon. The designers have now reinterpreted these four "eyes" as rectangles, with a direct reference to the interesting geometrical shapes found in cubism. They have the effect of precious gems that have been precisely set into the wings. In the same way, the radiator grille with its three-dimensional chromed surround, dynamic arrow-shape and more upright position underlines the status of the car as the epitome of a business saloon.

A sophisticated interplay between lines and surfaces is one of the hallmarks of today's Mercedes design. Large concave or convex surface areas are structured by taut, clearly defined lines. This design concept has been perfected down to the last detail in the new E-Class. The flank contours become connecting features that influence the entire body design, i.e. not just the side aspects but also the front and rear-end styling.

At the rear this harmonious flow culminates in a new feature, namely a graceful line that follows the rear wheel arches and lends a clear shape to the imposing, muscular contours of the rear wings. Here Mercedes aficionados will recognise styling features reminiscent of the famous "Ponton Mercedes" introduced in 1953, which already emphasised its sovereign character with these striking contours at the time -- a symbolic feature, and at the same time a hallmark of the E-Class that well illustrates how tradition is made to harmonise with the future in this model series.

With typical Mercedes attention to detail, the designers have also given great attention to the interior of the new E-Class, ensuring that every feature appeals in both emotional and functional terms with its form, colour or material. The result is a harmonious whole – an atmosphere in which the car's occupants immediately feel safe and protected, and long journeys can be taken without any feeling of effort or stress. In short: typically E-Class, welcome home.

Model range: high level of standard appointments and individual variants

Individuality and variety have always been two of the outstanding attributes of the E-Class. 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 individualisation programme for the E-Class is based on three design and equipment lines.

The AVANTGARDE line shows the E-Class in a decidedly modern and innovative 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 Sport model features AMG bodystyling that includes bumpers and side skirts, 18-inch light-alloy AMG wheels, lowered sports suspension, and perforated disc brakes with the Mercedes logo.

Inside, there are sport seats with enhanced lateral support, contrasting decorative seams in the seats and armrests, a four-spoke sports steering wheel with shift paddles (auto only) and a black roof lining.

Equipment package: extras for the discerning customer

In addition to the design and equipment lines, the Exclusive package offers more scope for equipping the new E-Class to personal taste. This package contains high-quality features that are mostly not available in isolation.

The Exclusive package (available from late summer 2009) includes a wood/leather steering wheel, the roof lining, pillar claddings and sun visors in Alcantara, the seat upholstery, armrest and door panels in nappa leather and an attractively lined dashboard with decorative seams.

Market position: 10 million models produced over 60 years – the world's most successful business saloon

The new E-Class saloon is the successor to a Mercedes model that has been successful throughout the world, and of which more than 1.3 million examples have been sold since 2002 (over 70,000 in the UK).

Since 1947, when the Model 170 V was introduced as the direct ancestor to the E-Class, Mercedes-Benz has produced more than 10 million saloons belonging to this series. This makes the E-Class easily the world's most successful business saloon.

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.