Telling the next-generation Mercedes E-Class from its smaller C-Class and larger S-Class siblings could be the domain of trainspotters and those armed with a measuring tape, if these new spy photos are anything to go by.
Although noteably larger than the recently launched new C-Class, it is clear the new E-Class will wear styling almost identical to its midsized stablemate.
Work is now well under way on the facelifted E-Class range's replacement, likely to debut in early 2016.
Earlier spy photos saw heavy camouflage disguise most of the new model's features, although even then there was little doubt of what we could expect from its styling.
A longer wheelbase is also evident, delivering more interior space. And, like the C-Class, the new E-Class will have a cabin design that's heavily influenced by the S-Class.
But while it will be bigger than the current model, the C-Class's new MRA platform (or Mercedes Rear-drive Architecture) will help the next E-Class be lighter, more rigid and more efficienct than before.
Mercedes is also targeting a lower cost of manufacture through greater commonality with other Benz RWD sedans and SUVs.
A nine-speed automatic is also expected to replace the current seven-speed auto used across the E-Class range.
Mercedes is also expected to ditch its current range of petrol V6 engines and adopt a turbocharged straight-six instead, which will share its critical dimensions with an upcoming inline-three and new inline-four destined for Benz's smaller products.
Though longer and harder to package than a V6 of comparable displacement, the new inline six is expected to deliver greater refinement as well as cost savings through its modular, scalable design.
We can, however, expect the AMG E 63 to continue with V8 power, though whether it retains the current 5.5 litre biturbo unit or adopts the 4.0 litre biturbo of the upcoming C 63 AMG and Mercedes-AMG GT remains to be seen.
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