Mercedes-Benz E-Class Prototype 2020 | First Test Drive


Welcome! We are here in the desert near Las Vegas, Nevada. I am “Mister Dreikommanull” of “fünfkommasechs” and we have a guest here whom some viewers may already know. Thank you very much for being with us, Mr Kelz. With pleasure! Chief Engineer for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, among other things. Among other things, yes! And we also have here the model update of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. And I think we’re gonna learn a bit today about what’s hiding beneath that camouflage. Yeah, there’s been some changes – or many innovations – and we will see some of them during the course of the day. Also very nice, we have here the three editions aka “lines”. Right! We won’t say any more at this point,
but I think you can tell as a customer, as a fan of the E-Class
by Mercedes-Benz what’s hidden here. Maybe we should take a look under the hood of that car? Sure, we can do that, if you like. Ah, he already knows where to pull! We simply split the task! This is one of the essential innovations. Our new four-cylinder petrol engine with integrated starter generator. You can see it there, it’s still got a little belt drive for the compressor. But apart from that, I’d say there’s nothing left attached to the front. It also has a relatively large amount of space, as you can see over there. And yes, this is our new engine, which then above all is optimised for efficiency and will contribute significantly to the reduction of fuel consumption. The six-cylinder engine, the M 256, is in fact already known from the Mercedes-Benz CLS. It’s coming to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class now. Right! But this engine is unique for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
at the moment. It’s the first time it’s ever been implemented. Never been anywhere before. MB German: “Erstanlauf” “Erstanlauf” (commence of production), also correct, exactly. Apart from that, we can’t be more specific on its performance, etc. So let’s close the lid for now. Let’s close it again, right. Yes, and otherwise you can already see
that the outside will of course change a lot. You see new “eyes”. Yeah, you see new “eyes”. You can already see that the lighting systems will change again. Not just visually, by the way. But the same applies here: all the details will be revealed not yet, of course. There will be a world premiere for this, an official one. Let’s maybe take a look at the back of these and see if there’s gonna be any change. Interesting is perhaps this: here you see an U.S. model with some sort of reflector, a “Side Marker” so to speak, which European vehicles typically do not have. Yeah, you can see that, I guess, in any case we’ll get an exciting new tail light design. It seems much smaller and narrower. But of course this is due to the camouflage. We won’t reveal very much about the new tail lights at this point already. But needless to say: it won’t be exactly as this beautiful cut-out arrow design suggests. Of course not. Because that is all due to the camouflage. But yeah, the rear design will differ quite a lot from the previous design of the car, and you can guess the extent of the change already now, at least a little bit from the vehicles standing here. What’s nice, anyway, is this: Fans of the “Night Package” can also expect a “Night Package”, apparently, because you see chrome trim, and there you can see the same parts in black. Yeah, you can see “Night” there too. Right. You can see we have brought a hybrid too. As you can tell by the little lid that we put in the back for charging. Hybrids play a major role in the future, both as petrol and diesel variants. And yes, it’s locked now, otherwise you could have opened it. Hence you can already tell that this is gonna play a major role, too. Then I suggest we get into the car and have a look at what to expect. Yep! Perhaps an exciting question many people have: how do you approach a model upgrade or “Modellpflege” like this? “Modellpflege” is the Mercedes-Benz term for a facelift, i.e. for an update of the existing vehicle, because we’re not talking about an entirely new development. So how do you tackle a thing like that? So there are things, of course, that you keep looking at. Exterior design, of course. The customer likes to see something new again. No question. Customer feedback is being taken into account, of course, especially when it comes to usability, for example. But above all, it takes our entire long-term technology strategy into account, such as the MBUX here in this vehicle, which of course stems from a modular system that spans the entire model range. So “Mercedes-Benz User Experience” as the successor to the “classic” COMAND. Yes, absolutely. Above all, it’s going to have MBUX in its newest form, which unlocks further features being
implemented in this vehicle. You still have the newer fingerpad. A new variant. You get the brand-new touchpad here. Yeah, the good old “touch control button”, that’s its official name, and not “fingerpad”. Yeah, ok! Even though some people may call it that way. But that’s okay. But the touch control buttons have now been replaced, have a different technology behind them, as you can see here, they are not so reddish any more either. And are now working with the new technology. Yeah, you can guess a little bit: a new type of steering wheel, a new generation. Still a tad cloaked, but only a little. But the function keys must of course be accessible, otherwise we couldn’t show anything here. But you can already see that they have a new shape. Well, in this case, of course. We’re sitting in an “AMG line” model with a super sports steering wheel. So the regular customer will have this later on just one plate and not like here, spread over the spokes. These spokes are – you might not be able to see that very clearly right now – they are actually separated. So you can see through them. So… …new steering wheels will be the defining new feature of the interior of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. And then we just saw, as you were reaching towards the radio here, there will be gesture control in the car. Yes, gesture control will be implemented, too. You can see it, as soon as I reach over here, the other radio stations will come up. You don’t see any real icons here now, because now we’re driving with a German radio in the USA. If we used the other vehicle… So normally there would be symbols of radio stations? …you’d see the correct icons and everything, yes. So now, of course, since we are using the European car for this trip, we’re not having all the American functionalities. At least not for the head unit. Everything else is adjustable. What other functions are there? I read once, in the Mercedes-Benz CLA, for example, if the driver, when driving at night, reaches towards the passenger compartment, the reading light would turn on like a spotlight? Right. And turns off again when you pull your hand back? Or on your own side, if you reach up there, then it would come up. Now during daytime, of course it’s not doing this. The gesture camera can distinguish between driver and passenger, as well as the voice control, by the way. So if we use voice control here now, then we don’t need to specify if something should happen at the driver or passenger side, but if I now want to switch on my seat heating, for example, then I can just say: “seat heater on”. and it just happens
for the driver’s seat. Yeah, well, I’ll just test it out. Yes, try it! Hey Mercedes! How can I help you? Seat heating on! I’ll turn on the seat heater. Terrific. The passenger was recognized at once. As you can see, it’s the passenger seat, right, and not mine Yes! And we can do that now because we have
two separate microphones for the driver and passenger, and thus it’s being detected where it is spoken from, according to the stronger audio amplitudes. And with that, of course, we have the possibility, to do this decisively. Hey Mercedes! What can I do for you? Seat heating off! Ok. Yeah, that’s really great. I’m turning off the seat heater. Means, of course, that if you now just think about it for once, at a later stage, at some point you could also get rid of all the buttons. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It always depends on how many people are in the car, etc., whether you want to use voice control or not. I think it’s still important that in any case, as an alternative to voice control, it also has a reasonable operating concept. But it’s true: especially when you’re driving alone in the car, then of course it’s nice if you can operate many functions by speech. And after all you have an operating option here on the steering wheel, of course. In addition we still have the touch pad here in the centre console, in order to be able to easily operate by hand. And if you don’t want to reach for the touch screen or if you don’t like finger dabs, which some people find a little bit unpleasant. But sure, we definitely have the touch control along with the gesture control, so that you can also directly reach for the screen and switch to another radio station,
for example. So in this regard… Exactly, although, of course… Multiple possibilities. …as known from the Mercedes-Benz A-class or from the GLE, that you can actually “touch-control” everything, and customize, adjust it, as you like. And it goes nice and smooth too. Because, you certainly have to consider, as far as I know, this to be still a prototype of some sorts. So this isn’t the latest, customer-ready software version on it, right? No, no, by far not! You also have to distinguish clearly: the stages of maturity in such a vehicle, we clearly differentiate between hardware and software. Since the system is permanently updateable, also updateable “over the air”, it is ensured that the very last state of it will be implemented when it really goes to the customer. And there are many other new features, which are also software-based, that we can talk about later, in the assistance systems, etc., and they’re not finalized yet either. What happened on the hardware side,
that you had to do, wanted to, or could do? The body shell structure itself, so the structure of the vehicle in principle, was of course designed for the long term, and except for the measures which were necessary for the cosmetic subjects, for the design-related parts, there’s not much change in the structure. So there were a few small marginal adjustments, for example on the exterior, which we won’t tell right now, because that’s what the camouflage is for. But of course, there are quite a few alterations to the bodywork. Yeah, you can see one right away. You can see a small power dome
on the hood, two in fact. The disguise can’t hide this. No, it’s clear. So yes, we have that now. Not in every line, but yes, that’s all changed. But looks very sporty, so I like it already. The other things, of course, which are changing too, well, they go all the way into the undercarriage. So when you get right down to it, it’s just that we’re going to… There are regular steel springs, Dynamic Body Control, i.e. adaptive steel suspension, and Air Body Control, pneumatic suspension. Yeah, those three suspension systems are still in use. Since we are not only developing new engines to optimise consumption, but also everything else, even the suspension system has been changed again. Is there really something you can do? To make an AIRMATIC system more economical? Yes, this AIRMATIC has also been further optimised. We have changed the switching of the valves, to save a little energy. It’s small things, of course, but they add up to a larger sum of measures. So there is always demand. But at the same time, we used the occasion, to optimise the response behaviour
and overall comfort, too. There’s no question: the Mercedes-Benz E-Class must simply be “at its best” in driving comfort. And so, let me tell you, you take advantage of opportunities like this. Or like for example with the “Avantgarde” undercarriage, which is to become the basic suspension system, we have optimised that too to lower the fuel consumption once again, simply by making a Cw-value optimization. So a minimal lowering. By lowering the car, exactly. Therefore I can say there are always things, where you create a win-win situation between technical and optical benefits for the customer. So practically, for a model update the sum of many little things make the big picture. If you will – in terms of hardware at least. I wish those were just little things. No, no. It’s good that it’s not just trifles. Yes, it’s many things. In the end, it’s fine tuning. Yes. Some are real changes, as you can see later on the exterior, in terms of lighting integration for this vehicle. There are technical changes, e.g. the future high beam is different from how it works today. I may not reveal any more than that yet. Well, all those things are, of course, issues which we are constantly optimising, so that the the Mercedes-Benz E-Class customer will receive the very latest state of the art. We are driving here with the future parking system, which will also be implemented in other future vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and which will be unique. Internally called “Parking 5”. There is the trajectory calculation, the whole subject of image processing and so on that will be different. You’ll see: the camera will partly be panning, at least within the image to allow the customer a better view into the vehicle’s trajectory. So parking is clearly different here. Also the speed, at which the parking process is being executed may be quite breathtaking for some, I guess. So faster than anyone would park themselves, even if he or she was an ace? The good news is: you can gently push the brakes to reduce the parking speed accordingly, it won’t abort the parking process completely, just slow it down. But, yes, in the past almost everyone claimed: “I always park faster than the machine.” I think that’s a little different now. So, yes, you can see, the whole technology is constantly evolving. And the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was already excellent at that point. But in fine tuning, with regards to the hardware that we use, in situational support a lot has changed. You can easily tell when you take a look at this in terms of “hands-off detection”,
with regards to, “Is your hand on the wheel or off the wheel?” we now use a different system. But also behind the future new bumpers there will be new sensors. I have mentioned it before with regards to parking. This sensor technology is of course not restricted to parking functions alone. Also some of the speed thresholds have changed, the temporal intervals are different. That’s partly because legal requirements have changed again. So from that point of view: that’s an adaptation to new laws. Like I said before: There won’t be many new functions or features. Well yes, there are new functions. Emergency Vehicle Lane assistant. So on a European road when there has to be formed an emergency vehicle lane, the car will help to change lanes accordingly, supporting the driver by reminding to form an emergency vehicle lane. So on a left-hand lane, it would orient itself more towards the left within its lane area. Right, so it’ll just pull over to the left. On the other hand just to the right. Which makes a lot of sense, because since 1 January 2020 there’s a completely new fine for people who don’t abide by it. And now this Mercedes-Benz actively supports the driver. So a very good function. And yes, many things will improve, e.g. the lane keeping on normal roads and within road construction zones will be better. The cameras work differently, all the software is different. So functionally the systems improve. But all the details we do not want to reveal yet. You know, there will also be a world premiere. Of course we still want to reveal some things there, too. And we don’t want it to happen prematurely, also with regard to the competition. So that’s that: all the details for now. But yes, there are newer functionalities and above all, there are simply functional improvements, it’s pretty clear. Maybe we’ll just come to what I think is also very important, for potential customers or even owners of a Mercedes-Benz E-class or those who want to become owners. Under the hood. There’s been a lot going on. There’s a new six-cylinder and there’s again a completely new four-cylinder engine? Absolutely! The M 254, our new four-cylinder, is characterised by the fact that we have a vehicle with “ISG”, that is, an “Integrated Starter Generator”. That’s what we call it. Which means: between the engine and gearbox there now is an electric generator, which is also responsible for the engine startup. But above all, it serves, of course, the efficiency while driving. Yeah, that’s a good point. Maybe some of our viewers already know this from the fabulous new inline-six-cylinder engine, where you just press the button and you won’t hear the typical startup sound anymore. The engine is, so to speak, instantaneously at 90 percent or something, and within a second it’s just running as it should. No squawking from the sprocket starter, which we have been used to for like… Since when do we have e-starters now? I believe, Cadillac first implemented one in 1910 oder something? It’s been a long time. Right. A completely new experience just by starting the engine. Yes, I think for all four-cylinder drivers it will definitely be a new experience. It’s not just the starting. It’s at every stop, where the engine is then already shutting off within the deceleration phase, and the car rolls to the traffic light with “engine off”, gliding until the driver wants to accelerate again. So clearly a measure to further improve efficiency, to bring fuel consumption down. And in addition, the ISG has this positive side effect for the customer, that there is also a bit of a more potent response of the engine.
Because the generator supports the combustion engine. And that’s the beautiful side effect: the driving dynamics become notably better, because the electric generator especially at low speed of rotation provides the most torque gain and thus the overall performance improves very, very much. That means, even with a combustion engine, with a petrol engine you get more torque at low revs. And with that also a more pleasant driving experience. That’s a so-called boost function, which will support the driver at startup and at low revs and which will ensure that the engine speed won’t go up again and thereby avoiding an impact on fuel consumption, so that even when driving rather dynamically, the customer will have a fuel consumption advantage. That is, we have no more alternator. It’s all integrated. The starter is obsolete now, the alternator’s gone. And this is all integrated between engine and gearbox into this electric engine. Which doubles as a generator, hence the name “starter generator” which also, if I now take my foot off the gas, immediately goes into recuperation mode
and thus instantly supplies energy to the battery. So a 48-volt system, by the way. Of course! So not 12 volts, but 48 volts. So that also more energy can be regenerated when you take the foot off the gas pedal, and thus supplies the system with electricity. Is this some kind of “mild hybrid”? It’s a “mild hybrid”, sure. No question. This is a true “mild hybrid”. This might be a little fun fact now: this one is called M 254. And before that the engines were called M 274, 264… Yes, always ten off. Although it actually goes up in the evolutionary stage, the number goes down. Yeah, that’s some Mercedes-Benz quirk. But it’s true: we came from the 274, then we got to the 264, which is a belt-starter generator, an RSG system (Riemen-Starter-Generator), and we’re now at 254, which is an integrated starter generator. Now, if you switch to ECO mode here, then of course we use the system primarily for having the “gliding” mode activated as often as possible. That is, if I’m in the right situation – if I don’t have air conditioning requirement, etc. or not directly at least – then of course I can “glide” long distances. That means I can go without the engine running at all. Internally that is called “Gliding 1”, or “Gliding 2”. This vehicle is capable of “Gliding 2”. It’s different from the previous glide mode, where it would just drop to idle speed, but theoretically still consumes some fuel then, whereas the engine here will turn off completely. Yes, it turns off completely. Exactly, and this is maximum efficiency. As soon as the vehicle glides, the engine stops. As I said, the only reason the engine sometimes just stays on, which does not always seem plausible to the customer either, is… Engine brake. Yes, the engine brake too. We still have that. Especially when we’re going downhill like this, you can see that right away: then it goes into full “charge” mode, so now recharges the battery. But we are going downhill quite steeply now. For that situation the vehicle also has an engine brake, so it does not roll freely. As soon as it’s a little less steep, the vehicle will return into normal rolling. But it takes some kind of intelligence,
which evaluates: “Okay, how can I regain energy in a clever way? When does free rolling fit better?” And at the same time it has to make sure that we don’t – right now the sun is still shining, so we
need power for the air conditioning – so it has to make sure this power ist still provided to the A/C. So that means we have several good reasons why the system sometimes allows for glide mode and sometimes it does not. So you can’t just say it’s completely digital, on/off. No. For example, right now we have a situation… we’re actually going a little too fast. Now I even have to use the brake. But of course, I have been driving with DISTRONIC before. Then, for example, it’s like this, when the system detects I’m driving too fast, and I take my foot off the gas, the engine brake will be used. And then it just won’t return into glide mode. There are various reasons why, in conjunction with e.g. DISTRONIC driving or non-DISTRONIC driving and so on. We’re gliding now, for example. You see, the RPM. Now we’re rolling, the engine is off. Now we also match the speed limit. Ok, we’re still three miles an hour too fast. But there, I’d say, it will be possible that we’re going downhill, but will nevertheless be able to glide. Now I’m gently braking, but it stays in glide mode, now I’m braking a little bit harder, and the engine is coming up again. So you see: there are a lot of different conditions for the electronics when the engine is switched on or not. And above all, it’s imperceptible! From the passenger seat I can say: you won’t notice! If you’re not actively observing the gauge. As a passenger you would never know, which is actually quite amazing, because start/stop systems or gliding systems for that matter are often clearly perceptible. And then there is the in-line six-cylinder engine, the M 256. – Which is practically already known from the Mercedes-Benz CLS. Exactly! Which is making its way into the Mercedes-Benz E-Class now. On the transmission side we have the well known 9G-TRONIC? That stays, yes. Right. Also with improvements again. But in essence the same 9G-TRONIC, so formally still the same. I think it’s fair to say: 4MATIC will also be available for certain vehicles, if the customer wants it. There will also be hybrids with 4MATIC and as 4×2, so there’s both. Alright! Thank you very much for your company. We have been presenting to you the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, at least what we could show at this early point. We hope we have been giving you a valuable first impression of the “W 213 Mopf”, as they call it. The full reveal of what is beneath the camouflage will happen in Geneva, as we have learned now. And then we can have a closer look into the technology and the new design language. Thank you very much for watching! See you soon! Bye!

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