SEMA eNews Vol. 11, No. 39, September 25, 2008

SPY PHOTOS: NEXT BENZ E-CLASS GETS SHARPER LINES, INCREASED DRIVER SAFETY...AND 500 HP

Although not due to bow until the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon seen here in full three-wheel workout was captured by Brenda Priddy's global network of automotive shooters. 

Priddy says the new wagon, codenamed W212 for you M-Benz spotters, will abandon Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) in favor of conventional brakes featuring wet-weather disc wiping and wheel-selective cornering brake control. Optional ceramic-composite discs could be introduced with the top-end AMG models.

The next E-class will mimic the wheel-arch extensions of the S-class, as well as the latter's rising character line below the door handles, massive bumpers and greenhouse. A more sculpted wide-frame grille, more geometric nasal air intakes, and the wedge-shaped profile should give the W212 a sportier stance, even in wagon dress.

Early styling models actually show a certain affinity for the most recent efforts from Lexus, such as rectangular quad headlamps and taillights—ironic considering that the Lexus LS is famous for copying Mercedes-Benz. Stuttgart still has plenty of time to hone the shape.

Driver assistance is a major theme for W212. Expect lane-departure warning, eye-movement monitor, traffic-sign identification, road-condition sensors and stability control that accounts for crosswinds, camber changes and tire wear. Engine choice will likely include the usual V6 and V8 suspects, as well as the naturally aspirated 6.3L V8 for the E63 AMG model, capable of 500-plus hp.

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