It was Albert Einstein who first collated all the research on relativity and came up with the famous formula of E=MC2 and left millions of people wondering what on earth he was on about. Still, relativity exists in many other formats and not just that large number of people who suddenly appear at a funeral for the free food while claiming to be relatives.

As a young petrolhead my mates and I had a hearty disdain for Mercedes-Benz, the big square box driven by Daddy Warbucks lookalikes and not the kind of car emerging speed freaks wanted to be associated with.

A career in motoring journalism introduced that relativity factor again and I have had the honour of driving many iterations of the car that introduced the E=Class nomenclature – this name first appearing with the facelifted W124 in 1993 for the model year 1994 (the W124 was introduced in 1984 but continued with the older naming convention until 1993 when all Mercedes-Benz models switched to a new system, E 320 instead of 300 E.

Still, in all of iterations, the E-Class was always the upper end of the Mercedes-Benz luxury segment and still relatively segmented to the Daddy Warbucks business echelon even though the car itself had modernised and transformed.

Mercedes-Benz E Class 2024 side view

Thinking of a pre-owned Mercedes-Benz E-Class - click here

Now, there is the new E-Class and an early encounter with the car pre-launch in a static environment – watch the video here – immediately impressed as it was the first E-Class I felt I sat ‘in’ when I got to the driver’s seat as opposed to merely sitting ‘on’ the seat.

This impression was confirmed and heightened on a lengthy launch drive and I had to double check myself at one point to confirm it was the E-Class I was driving and not the CLE that was launched at the same time.

"The E-Class stands as the pinnacle of the executive saloon segment. For 75 years, Mercedes-Benz has refined this model, and the latest version showcases our commitment to innovation. The 2024 E-Class is the most advanced yet, maintaining unparalleled luxury and dynamic driving experience. It offers a glimpse into the future of Mercedes-Benz," says Mark Raine, co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

Mercedes-Benz E Class 2024 rear three quarter

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The new E-Class features classic three-box saloon proportions: a short front overhang and long bonnet leading to a set-back greenhouse, culminating in a well-proportioned rear overhang. The front design includes a black panel connecting the radiator grille to the headlamps, echoing the Mercedes-EQ models. Depending on the equipment line, the three-dimensional radiator grille appears either progressive or classic.

Standard high-performance LED headlamps, with optional Digital Light, provide a distinctive design both day and night, characterised by eyebrow-shaped daytime running lights. Power domes accentuate the bonnet.

The side profile highlights the proportions and the ‘cab-backward’ design. The rear features two-section LED lights with a new contour and star motif, offering a distinctive design day and night.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2024 star motif rear lights

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Indeed, the new E-Class is very much a driver’s car and sitting ‘in’ the driver’s seat gives a great feeling of truly being part of the car.

The initial launch provides buyers with a choice of either the E200 or E220d and if, at first glance, this appears to a bit underpowered for a luxury sedan, fear not because there is lot more get-up-and-go from both turbo-charged engines – the 1,9-litre E200 producing 150 kW at 5 800 r/min with 320 Nm of torque from 1 800 r/min with an additional 205 Nm torque boost from the electric motor. The 200d offers 145 kW at 3 600 r/min and 440 Nm from 1 800 r/min with that same torque boost.

The cars are available in Avantgarde trim or AMG Line specification and all variants drive through a 9G-Matic gearbox that moves up and down the ratios with impressive smoothness and it is easy to get into the’ lock up and throw away the key’ speed zone if you allow your attention to wander while cruising down the motorway.

In terms of spaciousness, the driver enjoys 5 mm more headroom than the previous model. Rear passengers benefit from a 2 cm longer wheelbase, increasing kneeroom and legroom by 10 mm and 17 mm, respectively. The rear elbow width has increased by 25 mm, approaching S-Class levels. The luggage capacity reaches up to 540 litres.

A big car with a small car feel!

Mercedes-Benz 2024 full wideth digital dashboard

Related Content: Mercedes-Benz CLE blends luxury and sporty styling

Buyers can opt for the full width digital screen so the front passenger can operate all the elements and apps while the driver's display remains visually detached, ensuring clarity.

The new electronics architecture is more software-driven, integrating previously separate computing functions into a single processor so screens and the MBUX infotainment system share a powerful central onboard computer.

With the new Active Ambient Lighting and Sound Visualisation, occupants can experience music visually. Music and sounds from films or apps can be heard with Dolby Atmos technology, felt through resonating transducers in the optional Burmester 4D surround sound system, and now seen via the light strip of Active Ambient Lighting.

The beat can also be felt through the seats if the occupants want this massage like thumping in their lower back while grooving down the road – a tad removed from the Daddy Warbucks image.

Oh! And it handles. The rear axle features a multi-link suspension and the optional Technology package includes AIRMATIC air suspension with ADS+ continuously adjustable damping and rear-axle steering. The AIRMATIC suspension maintains constant ground clearance and adjusts as needed.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2024 front lights

The E-Class is especially agile with optional rear-axle steering and a more direct steering ratio at the front. The rear-axle steering angle is 4.5 degrees, reducing the turning circle by up to 90 centimetres.

Standard driving assistance systems include Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, ATTENTION ASSIST, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Parking Package with reversing camera, and Speed Limit Assist. The Driving Assistance Plus package, part of the Premium package, offers Active Steering Assist, aiding lane-keeping and automatic restart in city traffic and on country roads. If lane markings are unclear, the system signals the driver via steering wheel vibrations.

Standard safety features include driver and front passenger crash bags, a knee bag on the driver's side and window bags to protect against head impacts.

"Luxury, refinement, and the latest technology define the new E-Class. From the luxurious ride quality to the new MBUX system, the E-Class builds on decades of heritage and progressive innovation, appealing to customers," says Alex Boavida, vice president Sales and Marketing MBSA.  


E 200 R1 344 750

E 220 d R1 430 550

5 year/100 000km Service Plan and Maintenance Plan included

Colin Windell