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2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Colin Ryan January 2016

What Is It?

This is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- otherwise known as the way cars are heading. It's more than a large luxury sedan; it's a new line in the sand. This fifth generation goes further down the road to autonomous driving.

Drive Pilot -- that's the name of the system that can keep a distance to the car in front at speeds of up to 130 miles per hour, steer through places where markings are unclear even at 81 mph, effect a lane change when a turn signal is activated, and negotiate other traffic and buildings. When E-Class drivers are doing what they've always done, other features are still working away in the background, ready to lend a hand or foot to the steering and/or brakes whenever conditions demand.

Without even having to sit in the car, it can be maneuvered into and out of a garage remotely using a smartphone app. Car-to-X communication makes the new E-Class a transmitter and receiver of information; what this means to the person behind the wheel is a timely warning of upcoming hazards.

The range starts out with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission. As other variants come out, we can expect gasoline versions with more power, diesel options and no doubt a plug-in hybrid. Naturally, the chassis will be comfortable and even-keeled, the materials top-shelf, the build quality exemplary, and the attention to detail astonishing (heated armrests, for example) -- not to mention the dashboard has twin screens.

How Much?

To be announced (the 2016 E-Class starts at $53,575).

When Can You Get It?

Summer 2016

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is out there on the absolute edge of the cutting edge -- in a comfy way.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Audi A6 -- The A6 is elegant, graceful and desirable.

2016 BMW 5 Series -- Like every other contender here, the 5 Series is an excellent choice -- and it's due to be updated soon.

2016 Cadillac CTS -- The CTS is one of the better handlers of the class, and that's really saying something.

2016 Jaguar XF -- The XF offers an all-new generation for 2016. It's well-appointed and smoothly athletic.

2017 Volvo S90 -- The S90 is Completely new and will also deploy semiautonomous features.

Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- People buy Benz cars for luxury, engineering, authority and cachet. The S-Class has all those attributes by the trunkful.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader