DETROIT -- Mercedes-Benz on Saturday night gave journalists a glimpse of its 2010 E class with edgy new styling and technology from its more expensive S and CL class vehicles.
Pricing wont be announced for several months but Mercedes is expected to continue its aggressive strategy -- similar to the positioning of the new generation C class. While adding considerable new technology, Mercedes-Benz is likely to hold the line and keep the model at a base price of about $55,000, according to insiders.
Even though Mercedes chose to reveal the car in Detroit (and to publicly release photographs of the car and information about it), the viewing was limited to invited guests from the global automotive media community. The car will not be on display at the Detroit show.
The general public will get its first look at the car at the Geneva motor show in March, presumably followed by a U.S. show debut at New York in April.
The E class goes on sales in midsummer as the E350 and E550. An all-wheel-drive model, the E63 AMG performance version and the E350 BlueTec 50-state clean diesel go on sale in 2010.
The most striking difference is new rectangular headlights that debuted last fall on a concept car displayed at the Paris auto show. The E class also will get a coupe and convertible, replacing the CLK range. Only the sedan was unveiled on Saturday night.
As standard features, the E class will have systems such as attention assist that monitors steering response and detects drowsiness -- giving drivers an audible warning as well as a message on the instrument panel. From the S class, the E class gets blind spot, night view and lane departure warning assists as well as radar assisted braking.
Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, says the drowiness assist "is the next best thing to handing the driver an espresso" and noted the symbol on the panel is a coffee cup.
Mercedes-Benz executives believe that the boldness of the new styling combined with the extras will help sales even in today's depressed market.
AutoWeek contributed to this report