An entourage of Mercedes-Benz test vehicles was recently spotted near our home office in Los Angeles. Most notable were two heavily camouflaged vehicles – one that appeared to be the next-generation E-Class and another that was likely a C-Class.
The new E-Class is expected to debut sometime next year so it’s not surprising that Mercedes is still in the early development stages of its midsizer. This prototype looks identical to the one caught late last year. The new E-Class is expected to ride on a slightly larger version of the C-Class’s platform and seeing this prototype in close proximity to the C-Class test car definitely confirms that.
The prototype was fitted with dummy taillights, though the production version will likely look similar to the current C- and S-Class. Much of the bodywork and front fascia was covered, but the finished product will likely share styling cues with other Benz sedans. The prototype’s interior was also well covered, save for the round, metallic air vents.
We heard a faint, but signature clatter of a diesel powertrain, most likely the 2.1-liter I-4 turbodiesel found in the current E250 BlueTEC. Other engine choices should include a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6, a twin-turbo V-8, a plug-in hybrid, and an AMG model.
The accompanying C-Class test car was likely the diesel or the C350e plug-in hybrid variant. The latter was unveiled earlier this year at the Detroit auto show with a PHEV system that’s similar to the S550 PHEV, albeit with a downsized turbo-four gas engine as opposed to the S-Class’s turbocharged V-6. The C350e PHEV is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms this fall.