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Replacing the current E-class can't have been easy for Merc. Not when a stylish new Jaguar XF is nipping at your heels, or a Silicon Valley start-up's technological tour de force is drawing glowing reviews for its futuristic Tesla Model S.
Suddenly, the concept of running an E-class seems very last season. Under immense pressure to not to get it wrong, the German carmaker, against all odds, has managed to come back with a landmark of a car - an executive saloon that includes all the best tech available, makes it simple to use, and wraps it up in a well-made, great-driving vehicle.
Before we discuss the state-of-the-art semi-autonomous driving tech, remote self-parking or astonishing safety kit, let's start where most business users spend a large part of their day: behind the wheel. For quality, fit, finish and design the new E-class is outstanding from our first impressions of the admittedly high-spec models we drove, and better than all of its rivals by miles.
New for the big saloon is the choice of two optional (£2000), huge 12.3-inch displays that incorporate both the virtual dash and satnav. Instead of touchscreens, they're controlled by either a touchpad between the two front seats or steering wheel controls. It takes getting use to but you're rewarded by crystal clear, configurable displays.
Initially, just two diesel engines will be offered: a 2.0-litre and a 3.0-litre V6. Later on, a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and E350e plug-in hybrid will follow.