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Mercedes Officially Unveils 2014 E-Class

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Updated E-Class includes more safety systems than a nuclear power plant, plus a new face and some fresh engine options.

There's no use closing the proverbial stable door after the horses have bolted. Only by horses bolting, we mean cars leaking out, and by closing the stable door, we mean keeping said cars secret. So after initial details and photos of the new BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Mini JCW Paceman and Mercedes-Benz E-Class all trickled out of their respective corporate headquarters in Germany over the past couple of days, it comes as little surprise that each has revealed the full details today.

The latest is the restyled E-Class, which Mercedes has now released in both sedan and wagon body-styles. Scheduled to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, the mid-range four-door Benz has been treated to a modest makeover. Most obvious are the new headlights, which ditch the four square units with dual clusters, although individual light elements give it a four-eyed appearance at night. Full LED headlamps are available as a first-in-class option. The revised face also includes a reshaped hood, while the grille follows the dichotomy of C-Class models by offering either Luxury (with hood ornament) or Sport trim (with large star embedded into the grille).

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Sport models also come with an AMG-style front bumper and dual exhaust tips, with distinct suspension tuning from the Luxury model. Styling along the flanks, rear end and interior have also been subtly revised. The new E-Class also adopts a raft of new driver assistance systems designed for the upcoming new S-Class. These "intelligent drive" features include a new version of Attention Assist and available Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Optimized Active Lane Keeping Assist, Brake Assist Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, Pre-Safe Plus and autonomous emergency braking.

The systems utilize a new stereo camera to detect potential obstacles in 3D, and make the new E-Class even safer than the model it replaces (as well as just about anything else on the road you might hit without them), but for better or worse takes us that much closer to an age of completely automated driving. Hitting US showrooms this Spring, the new E-Class will be available with four engine options, including a new diesel four in the E250 BlueTec. Replacing the six-cylinder E350 BlueTec, the more frugal four offers just 190 horsepower but a solid 369 lb-ft of torque and adds 4Matic all-wheel drive. Like the rest of the range, it's mated to a revised 7-speed auto.

The E350 carries over with a 302hp 3.5-liter V6 (in either rear- or all-wheel drive), there's an E400 Hybrid that marries the same V6 to a 27hp electric motor, and at the top of the list is the E550 4Matic with a 402hp, 5.5-liter V8. A new E63 AMG sedan and wagon will be launched at a later date, incorporating 4Matic all-wheel drive for the first time.