The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E400 and its twin-turbo V6 will make a worthy, if undergunned, successor to the V8-powered E-Class it's replacing.
Powerful, refined V6 engine; impressive interior craftsmanship and appointments; subtle new style.
The era of E-Class V8 power may be over.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E400 is an all-new model.
Following this year's midcycle refresh of the E-Class, Mercedes-Benz will follow up with the introduction of the latest addition to the lineup, the new 2015 E400 sedan. You're forgiven for thinking you've already heard of the E400 because you probably have. Mercedes has already pressed the nameplate into service as the E400 Hybrid. The new model won't use the hybrid's V6 or any of the electrical bits, however.
Instead, a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 will reside under the hood. It makes 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. And for the foreseeable future, this is the buffest E-Class not named AMG that you'll be able to buy. In another sign of the creeping new normal, Benz will drop the V8-powered E550 from the lineup in 2015.
We've had a brief drive in the new E400, and the twin turbo moves the sedan with authority. Boost comes on imperceptibly and the V6 charges to its redline with enthusiasm. But it's no V8, and the V6's milder manners, softer soundtrack and small displacement are impossible to ignore if you've grown accustomed to the E550's abundance of torque.
The upside? We expect the E400 to price out below the E550. It better, anyway. We expect the E400 to follow the same design cues as the current refreshed model, among them revised headlights that sit atop larger air intakes, a more sculpted hood and straighter, more streamlined rear flanks.
The E400 should also offer two grille treatments. Luxury models will get the traditional three-bar louver grille with star hood ornament, while Sport models get the larger plate-sized emblem set dead center in the middle of a more aggressive two-bar grille.
We also expect the E400 to offer all-wheel drive, along with much of Mercedes' evolving suite of safety technologies, including collision mitigation pre-braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, occupant protection in rear-end collisions (including braking the car while stationary to prevent secondary collisions) and drowsy driver alert.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E400 will likely show up on dealer lots next spring. Check back for more information, including specs, additional driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.
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