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Mike Stevens | Aug 3, 2009

AFTER NO SMALL AMOUNT of anticipation, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is now available in Australia.

Initial customer deliveries of the new E-Class range will start with the E 350 (petrol V6) and range-leading E 500 (petrol V8) sedan and coupé models.

The turbo-diesel V6 E 350 CDI and four-cylinder models will arrive in Australian showrooms from September.

Following the lead of the C-Class before it, the new E-Class sedan comes with added levels of equipment and lower entry-level pricing.

The super-efficient range of BlueEfficiency diesel motors on offer use less than 7.0 l/100km of fuel and avoid the Government’s luxury car tax.

The E-Class range opens with the E220 CDI, the first four-cylinder diesel to be offered in the E-Class in Australia.

Priced from $80,990, the E220 CDI undercuts the previous petrol-powered E200K entry level model by $9125. It also comes in $25,330 under the previous E280 CDI diesel.

Next model up in price is the petrol-powered E220 CGI coming in at $93,900. While it is $3875 more expensive than the E200K it replaces, it is more powerful and better equipped than the outgoing model.

Next in the range is a high-output E250 CDI, from $96,900. While engine capacity is the same as the E220 CDI, the motor has been tuned to produce more power and torque with lower fuel consumption.

Also available is the V6 turbo diesel E350 CDI, from $131,900. For now however, the diesel and four-cylinder models will be delayed until September due to their popularity in other markets.

From launch, only the $128,900 E350 V6 and $178,900 E500 V8 are available; the only two E-Class models not to wear the BlueEfficiency label.

Interior

The body of the new E-Class sedan is longer (4868mm), wider (1854mm) and lower (1464mm) than the outgoing model, and gains an extra 20mm in its wheelbase along with a 23mm wider front track.

Thanks to the bigger body, the front and rear seats are now 10mm further apart at 848mm, with elbow room extended by 61mm and rear headroom up by 11mm.

Storage in the boot remains the same at 540 litres, but Mercedes-Benz says the new shaping will allow the E-Class sedan to hold four golf bags.

Equipment

All models get a trip computer, auto-on headlights and wipers, power mirrors, the COMAND APS infotainment system, climate control and cruise control as standard. Higher grade models also benefit from in-dash CD stackers, Harmon Kardon premium stereo systems, TV tuners, satellite navigation, electrically and pneumatically adjustable front seats and bi-xenon headlamps.

Standard safety features across the E-Class range include adaptive dual front airbags, full-coverage side airbags, window airbags, knee airbags, adaptive brake lights that flash in emergency braking, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, anti-whiplash head restraints, PRE-SAFE occupant protection, a tyre pressure warning sysyem, a drowsiness detention system, auxiliary audio connector, and heated exterior mirrors.

The Avantgarde trim brings leather upholstery, bi-Xenon HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, alloy wheels, sports suspension, and specialised cabin and instrument lighting.

All models bar the base-model E220 CDI are offered in Avantgarde specification as standard, with the E220 kitted out in Elegance trim by default (the Avantgarde package, however, is optional.

Mechanical

The E250 CGI is powered by a 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 150kW at 5500rpm and 310Nm of torque from 2000 to 4300rpm, mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox.

It returns 7.3 l/100km, with a CO2 emissions rating of 174 g/km.

The 200kW 3.5 litre V6 E350 produces 200kW at 6400rpm and 350Nm at 3000-5100rpm, and is paired with the company's 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is a decent 9.4 l/100km and CO2 emissions are at 219 g/km.

The 5.5 litre V8 of the E500 develops 285kW at 6000rpm and 530Nm at 2800-4800rpm, paired again with the 7G-Tronic transmission. The E500 returns a fuel consumption figure of 11 l/100km and CO2 emissions figures of 258 g/km.

The two lower-end diesel models are powered by a 2.2 litre CDI diesel engine.

The E220 CDI produces 125kW at 3000-4200rpm and 400Nm of torque at 1400-2800Nm of torque, returning 6.1 l/100km and 162 g/km.

The more powerful E250 CDI makes 150kW at 4200rpm and 500Nm at 1600-1800rpm, with fuel consumption at 5.3 l/100km and emissions at 139 g/km.

Both the E220 CDI and E250 CDI are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

The new E-Class benefits from a 30 percent increase in body shell rigidity, with 72 percent of its entire body shell made from high-strength steel, as well as a hybrid front end made of sheet aluminium and fibreglass-reinforced plastic.

Suspension is handled by Mercedes' Direct Control system, while auto dampers debut on the 'Airmatic' suspension of the E500.

Braking is managed by new larger ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, ranging from 295mm to 344mm up front, and 300mm to 320mm at the rear.

Pricing

From launch, only the $128,900 E350 V6 and $178,900 E500 V8 is available; the only two E-Class models not to wear the BlueEfficiency label.

While the E350 undercuts its predecessor by around $2960, Mercedes-Benz claims that over $13,000 worth of equipment has been added.

E500 models have risen in price by over $11,230, however Mercedes-Benz’ says there is an additional $21,000 of added equipment. Items like Luxury front seats, an alarm and sun protection pack are included as standard.

The performance-focused E63 AMG sedan will arrive in showrooms in November, followed in early 2010 by the E-Class S212 wagon range.

The C207 E-Class Coupe – based on the C-Class platform - will also arrive soon, succeeding the ageing CLK Coupe series.

Mercedes-Benz is aiming to sell 200 E-Class cars each month - 2500 a year - once the full model range arrives.

E220 CDI BlueEfficiency (a) $80,900
E250 CDI BlueEfficiency (a) $96,900
E350 CDI BlueEfficiency (a) $131,900
E250 CGI BlueEfficiency (a) $93,900
E350 (a) $128,900
E500 (a) $178,900
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