- Sporty, dynamic look with classic body lines
- The Intelligent Light System optimally adjusts to different driving situations and weathers
- BLUETEC technology for the cleanest diesel drive in the world
In March 2002 the new E-Class of the 211 series superseded the 210. With this eighth generation of the brand’s intermediate range since the Second World War, the Stuttgart engineers and designers opened a new chapter in an unparalleled success story. The new series had been introduced to the public in January 2002 at the International Motor Show in Brussels.
The design of the new E-Class took up elements such as the four-headlamp face of the W 210, but interpreted them in a refreshingly new way. Altogether, the new intermediate range model was very sporty and dynamic in appearance. This was matched by the high level of agility demonstrated by the saloon and by the station wagon, launched in 2003.
With a large number of technical innovations the 2002 saloon set new standards in the fields of vehicle safety, comfort and driving dynamics. They included the new four-link suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension mostly made of aluminium. In addition to the standard-fit electrohydraulically controlled brake system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) and the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, the new AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) air suspension system, which simultaneously controls the springs and dampers by means of advanced microelectronics, was available as an optional extra.
In this system, sensors monitor the condition of the road, the driving style and the load carried by the saloon. AIRMATIC DC sets the optimum damper force and spring rate based on this data. This suspension tuning permits both perfect comfort and high driving dynamics at the same time. The air suspension was standard equipment on the top-of-the-range V8, the E 500, and available as an optional extra for all models of the new E-Class.
Innovations for safety
The new E-Class was equipped with adaptive front airbags and for the first time also with two-stage belt force limiters and automatic front passenger weight classification. In combination with additional crash sensors these systems enabled even more precise occupant protection coordinated to reflect the actual sequence of events in an accident. Sidebags for the front passengers, large windowbags, high-performance emergency tensioning retractors for the seat belts, automatic child seat recognition and a roll-over sensor were further components of the standard safety equipment.
Compared with the predecessor model, the body structure of the W 211 was distinguished by even larger deformation zones in the front end. They allowed the new Mercedes-Benz saloon to pass the world’s toughest safety tests, because the passenger compartment remained largely undamaged even in severe collisions. The use of high-strength alloyed sheet metal and consistent lightweight design were typical of the body design.
Even better appointments as standard
The standard equipment of the W 211 was significantly upgraded as compared with the predecessor model. It included the electrohydraulic brake system SBC,™ exclusive to Mercedes-Benz, a sensor-controlled automatic climate control, light-alloy wheels, a rain sensor, and the high-tech car radio Audio 20. Many innovative optional extras were developed by the engineers specifically for the new E-Class, others were taken from the S-Class.
The three design and equipment lines CLASSIC, ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE differed on the outside mainly in the radiator grille and front apron. The ELEGANCE line was additionally distinguished by ambient lights in the exterior mirrors and trim elements in a fine wood and chrome combination. The AVANTGARDE models additionally featured bi-xenon headlamps, seat covers in a fabric/leather combination, and ambient lights in the exterior mirrors.
Start with five new models
For the new Mercedes-Benz saloon there was initially a choice of five engines – three petrol engines with six and eight cylinders and outputs ranging from 130 kW (177 hp) in the E 240 to 225 kW (306 hp) in the E 500. There were also two CDI power plants with four and five cylinders and outputs of 110 kW(150 hp) in the E 220 CDI and 130 kW (177 hp) in the E 270 CDI.
Over the following months the E-Class engine range was complemented by a new four-cylinder petrol engine with supercharger in the E 200 Kompressor and further CDI engines with four (E 200 CDI), six (E 320 CDI) and eight cylinders (E 400 CDI). In addition, Mercedes-Benz presented the E 55 AMG as new top-of-the-range model. Despite its impressive performance, the new E-Class also scored well on fuel economy: compared with the predecessor series, fuel consumption was reduced by as much as 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres.
The direct-injection diesel engines belonged to the second generation of CDI engines and featured a number of forward-pointing technical innovations. Mercedes-Benz fitted the four-cylinder of the E 220 CDI with two balancer shafts for the first time, significantly reducing noise emissions and engine vibrations.
The maximum torque of the diesel engines rose by as much as eight percent over the W 210, reaching a new peak of 425 Nm (313 lb-ft) in the E 270 CDI. The new E 500 also turned heads. It combined the performance of a sports car with the accustomed comfort of a Mercedes saloon.
The outstanding feature of the E 200 Kompressor is the TWINPULSE system, which combines mechanical supercharging with charge-air cooling, four-valve-per-cylinder technology, a variable camshaft and Lanchester balancer. The 120 kW (163 hp) four-cylinder engine is economical and yet ensures powerful, sporty, smooth running.