First versions of the new, revamped Mercedes-Benz E-Class in Saloon and Estate versions – with Coupé and Cabriolet models to follow – have arrived here. Said by Mercedes-Benz to be ‘the heart’ of what is becoming a vastly expanded model range, this latest E-Class offering includes two plug-in hybrid versions – one petrol and one diesel with an all-terrain option. Described by their sales manager, Ciaran Allen as a range ‘perfectly configured’ for owners seeking to future-proof their motoring requirements, the emergence of hybrids serves as an indication of what Allen says is: “the growing importance of alternative energy vehicles in future Mercedes-Benz model planning”.

With over 14m saloon and estate models sold since 1946 – and more than 1.2 million owners of the outgoing generation – E-Class ranks as the best-selling model in Mercedes-Benz history and a flagship for everything the German carmaker represents in terms of executive motoring. Like its predecessors, this latest version has a timeless quality. Outside and inside, from front to rear, designers have worked their magic to imbue it with the qualities of elegance and style that have made it an international favourite, whilst equipping it with design touches and technical elements to catch the attention of a younger generation.

In its new form, the front section has been given a fresh look in the shape of a more squat, sporty, poised-to-go design. Classically smooth-flowing bodylines and enduringly elegant touches sit comfortably with AMG-style elements that echo other more youthful models in the Mercedes-Benz family. (A fully-fledged Mercedes-AMG 53 4MATIC and AMG 63 4MATIC version forms part of the offering).

Inside, focal points are the latest-generation MBUX and ‘Hey Mercedes’ multimedia and voice-activated assistance systems with touch screen functions. Displayed on two large, high-resolution and visually striking multimedia screens, both come housed beneath a shared glass cover that creates a widescreen cockpit effect. A refinement on earlier versions, this versatile feature combines with latest comfort control features and other electronic devices to ensure that owners enjoy an even safer, more comfortable, responsive and economical driving experience.

Other notable elements include a high level of standard and optional ‘driver assistance’ functions that work automatically to support the driver. The ‘intelligent’ nature of these fitments ensures that alerts are sounded in threatening situations and action is taken to help drivers avoid accidents and enjoy a safer driving experience. Other features include 9G-TRONIC transmission, fuel saving weight reduction and emissions control elements. Full LED headlamps and taillights are fitted as standard.

Internationally, the model choice and engine range at launch consists of 4 and 6-cylinder petrol and diesel units. Petrol versions consist of five units spanning the 197hp to 435hp spectrum, inclusive of one hybrid and a powerful AMG unit. They are a 4-cylinder in-line, 1991cc E200 and E200 4MATIC (197hp) and E300 (258hp) alongside a top-of-the range 2999cc E450 4MATIC and AMG E53 4MATIC+ outputting 367 and 435hp respectively.

Diesel versions, (also including one hybrid) are a 1597cc, 160hp E200d, a 1950cc, 194hp E220d and E220d 4MATIC and a 2939cc, 330hp E400d 4MATIC. On the plug-in hybrid front, models are a 4-cylinder in-line, 1991cc, 211hp E300e petrol with a 4MATIC version arriving later in the year and a 1950cc, 194hp E300de and E 300de 4MATIC diesel powered versions.

While all models are available to order, here focus is being placed on the E200d, E220d models initially and two plug-in petrol and diesel hybrids – the E300e and E300de in saloon and estate. Despite a significant increase in the range of additional and new specifications – including a wealth of technical innovations and next generation assistance systems, amounting to a customer value of €3,700 – Mercedes-Benz has sought to maintain its competitive position with an average price difference of just one percent across the range.

Ex works prices start from €52,910 (E200 Petrol) and €53,105 (E200 Diesel). Plug-in hybrid versions range from €65,615 (E300 Petrol PHEV) and €67,740 (E300de Diesel PHEV), both of which are eligible for SEAI / VRT combined support of €7,500.