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New Mercedes E-Class powered by low CO2-emitting engines

  • New Mercedes-Benz E-Class debuts at Detroit motor show
  • Low CO2 diesel and plug-in hybrid feature
  • Interior brought up-to-date by massive digital widescreen

Are you a company car driver looking for an executive German saloon? Good news, there’s a redesigned Mercedes Benz E-Class on the way.

The current car has been around since 2009, while its similarly-aged BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 rivals came out in 2010 and 2011.

Car design has moved on considerably since that time, particularly in terms of in the dashboard.

The big news for company car drivers is the introduction of a low CO2 diesel engine and a plug-in hybrid version.

Range starts with efficient 220d

Although there’s a four-cylinder petrol engine at the start of the range in Europe, in the UK the E-Class kicks off with a 2-litre diesel.

This engine produces just 102g/km of CO2 while racing from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. It also has a promised economy of 72mpg.

For the 2016/17 tax year the 220d will slot into a 20 percent BIK tax band.

If you're after a bit more pace there’s a 3-litre diesel which completes the benchmark sprint in 5.9 seconds, while producing 133g/km of CO2 and an official fuel economy of 55mpg.

Finally there’s a plug-in hybrid with best-in-range CO2 emissions of just 49g/km placing it into a seven percent BIK tax band for the 2016/17 tax year. Despite this it is nearly as fast as the top diesel, with a 6.2 second 0-62mph time. Most impressive however is the fuel economy, which is a claimed 135mpg.

All models at launch will come with a new nine-speed automatic transmission as standard. Expect fast gear-changes when driving quickly and low engine revs when cruising.

Futuristic E-Class dashboard

Behind the wheel the main focus in the new car is the optional dual 12.3-inch monitors that make up the widescreen display, with digital dials on the left and an infotainment hub on the right, plus you can pick how your dials look with schemes called Classic, Sport and Progressive.

The sat-nav map has been updated and now features the nearest fuel stations, with real-time data on current fuel prices. This system is controlled by two steering-wheel mounted thumbpads, by swiping left and right and up and down, so there’s no need to take your hands off the wheel.

Not just a new screen, updates to dashboard and seats too

There’s a new wrap-around effect to the dashboard, which stretches from door-to-door, plus the new display is backlit so it looks like it’s floating.

You won’t find a bulb in the new E-Class, it’s all LED lit, and the ambient lighting system can be customised with a choice of 64 colours, taking in the front door tweeters and roof speakers if you pick the optional Burmester 3D stereo.

Anyone who has been in an S-Class will recognise the four central air vents, which lead down into the centre console and armrest.

There’s been an uplift in material quality, particularly in the open-pore wood and metal-woven fabric inlays, plus there's a choice of two-tone coverings for the dashboard.

For more information about new technology check out our top six E-Class gadgets here.

Seats are thinner but more comfortable

There’s more room in the back thanks to a thinner seat design, but conversely we found them more comfortable to sit on when we attended an exclusive preview.

Avantgarde line cars get special contours, while the sporty AMG line chairs have deeper side bolsters and a wider shoulder section for better lateral support.

If you want the best of these two pick the optional Designo seat complete with a diamond pattern similar to the S-Class chairs, plus strong side bolsters.