Mercedes-Benz has announced the 10th-generation 2017 E-Class with Drive Pilot technology, a semiautonomous luxury sedan that's quite the looker.
The carmaker will premiere the vehicle at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, showcasing the technologies crammed in, including standard features such as autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.
The E-Class will feature Mercedes-Benz's Distronic cruise control, allowing the car to take over for steering – for the most part, at least – accelerating and braking.
With the Drive Pilot technology, it can follow other cars and change lanes automatically, reaching speeds of up to 130 MPH, not to mention that it can move by itself from a complete stop within 30 seconds. Using GPS and cameras, it can also automatically follow the speed limit written on signposts.
While other vehicles need more hardware and modifications to be legal for autonomous driving, the E-Class only needs some tweaks here and there without the need for any additional equipment to be up to code. According to Mercedes, the three E-Classes are the first vehicles to be all set for production with test licenses for autonomous driving in Nevada.
Other features include the Car-to-X technology, allowing the vehicle to communicate with presumably other E-Classes to get a heads-up on potential dangers down the road. For instance, if there's a car broken down ahead, it'll be well aware of the situation and take necessary measures.
It also has Remote Parking Pilot, giving owners the option to automatically park the car using a smartphone app. It has plenty of safety technologies that'll keep the occupants away from harm.
"The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations. The new E-Class takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving. In addition, it enhances efficiency, safety and comfort, reduces the stress level when driving and intensifies the motoring pleasure," says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler AG member of the board of management.
Meanwhile, the E-Class has a new engine generation. At launch, the E 200 model will have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine under the hood, whereas the E 220 d will have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. While the former can go from 0 to 62 MPH in 7.7 seconds, the latter can reach it in 7.3 seconds. As standard, both models are fitted with the 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.
More variants will roll out soon after the two, including the six-cylinder E 350 d and the E 350 e with plug-in hybrid technology. The former can go from 0 to 62 MPH in 5.9 seconds, whereas the latter can in 6.2 seconds.
The interior of the E-Class is similar to the S-Class, featuring two optional 12.3-inch high-resolution screens fashioned on the dash. Also, there are touch control buttons on the steering wheel, giving the driver complete control of the system with gestures similar to the ones used on smartphones.
The E-Class is equipped with steel suspension as standard, but a multi-chamber air-suspension option is available.
As of right now, there's no price yet, but the E-Class is expected to hit the U.S. market in the summer of 2016.
More and more carmakers such as Tesla and Ford have been up and about in introducing new innovations for autonomous driving, and with the E-Class, it appears that Mercedes-Benz intends to take a prominent spot in the frontlines.