Neoclassic: 211 series (from 2002)

Jan 13, 2009
  • Sporty, dynamic look with classic body lines
  • The Intelligent Light System optimally adjusts to different driving situations and weathers
  • BLUETEC technology for the cleanest diesel drive in the world
In March 2002 the new E-Class of the 211 series superseded the 210. With this eighth generation of the brand's intermediate range since the Second World War, the Stuttgart engineers and designers opened a new chapter in an unparalleled success story. The new series had been introduced to the public in January 2002 at the International Motor Show in Brussels.
The design of the new E-Class took up elements such as the four-headlamp face of the W 210, but interpreted them in a refreshingly new way. Altogether, the new intermediate range model was very sporty and dynamic in appearance. This was matched by the high level of agility demonstrated by the saloon and by the station wagon, launched in 2003.
Combination of comfort and driving dynamics
With a large number of technical innovations the 2002 saloon set new standards in the fields of vehicle safety, comfort and driving dynamics. They included the new four-link suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension mostly made of aluminium. In addition to the standard-fit electrohydraulically controlled brake system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) and the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, the new AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) air suspension system, which simultaneously controls the springs and dampers by means of advanced microelectronics, was available as an optional extra.
In this system, sensors monitor the condition of the road, the driving style and the load carried by the saloon. AIRMATIC DC sets the optimum damper force and spring rate based on this data. This suspension tuning permits both perfect comfort and high driving dynamics at the same time. The air suspension was standard equipment on the top-of-the-range V8, the E 500 model, and available as an optional extra for all models of the new E-Class.
Innovations for safety
The new E-Class was equipped with adaptive Front Airbags and for the first time also with two-stage belt force limiters and automatic front passenger weight classification. In combination with additional crash sensors these systems enabled even more precise occupant protection coordinated to reflect the actual sequence of events in an accident. Sidebags for the front passengers, large windowbags, high-performance emergency tensioning retractors for the seat belts, automatic child seat recognition and a roll-over sensor were further components of the standard safety equipment.
Compared with the predecessor model, the body structure of the W 211 was distinguished by even larger deformation zones in the front end. They allowed the new Mercedes-Benz saloon to pass the world's toughest safety tests, because the passenger compartment remained largely undamaged even in severe collisions. The use of high-strength alloyed sheet metal and consistent lightweight design were typical of the body design.
Even better appointments as standard
The standard equipment of the W 211 was significantly upgraded as compared with the predecessor model. It included the electrohydraulic brake system SBC™, exclusive to Mercedes-Benz, a sensor-controlled automatic climate control, light-alloy wheels, a rain sensor, and the high-tech car radio Audio 20. Many innovative optional extras were developed by the engineers specifically for the new E-Class, others were taken from the S-Class.
The three design and equipment lines CLASSIC, ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE differed on the outside mainly in the radiator grille and front apron. The ELEGANCE line was additionally distinguished by ambient lights in the exterior mirrors and trim elements in a fine wood and chrome combination. The AVANTGARDE models additionally featured bi-xenon headlamps, seat covers in a fabric/leather combination, and ambient lights in the exterior mirrors.
Start with five new models
For the new Mercedes-Benz saloon there was initially a choice of five engines – three petrol engines with six and eight cylinders and outputs ranging from 130 kW (177 hp) in the E 240 model to 225 kW (306 hp) in the E 500 model. There were also two CDI power plants with four and five cylinders and outputs of 110 kW (150 hp) in the
E 220 CDI model and 130 kW (177 hp) in the E 270 CDI model.
Over the following months the E-Class engine range was complemented by a new four-cylinder petrol engine with supercharger in the E 200 KOMPRESSOR and further CDI engines with four (E 200 CDI), six (E 320 CDI) and eight cylinders (E 400 CDI). In addition, Mercedes-Benz presented the E 55 AMG model as new top-of-the-range model. Despite its impressive performance, the new E-Class also scored well on fuel economy: compared with the predecessor series, fuel consumption was reduced by as much as 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres.
Diesel comfort and refined power
The direct-injection diesel engines belonged to the second generation of CDI engines and featured a number of forward-pointing technical innovations. Mercedes-Benz fitted the four-cylinder of the E 220 CDI model with two balancer shafts for the first time, significantly reducing noise emissions and engine vibrations.
The maximum torque of the diesel engines rose by as much as eight percent over the W 210, reaching a new peak of 425 Newton metres in the E 270 CDI model. The new
E 500 model also turned heads. It combined the performance of a sports car with the accustomed comfort of a Mercedes saloon.
The outstanding feature of the E 200 Kompressor is the TWINPULSE system, which combines mechanical supercharging with charge-air cooling, four-valve-per-cylinder technology, a variable camshaft and Lanchester balancer. The 120 kW (163 hp) four-cylinder engine is economical and yet ensures powerful, sporty, smooth running.
Most powerful E-Class to date
In autumn 2002 Mercedes-Benz introduced the most powerful E-Class that ever existed. The E 55 AMG model, like its predecessor from the 210 series, was powered by the M 113 5.5-litre V8. However, a supercharger now raised output from 260 kW
(354 hp) at 5,500 rpm to 350 kW (476 hp) at 5,600 rpm. That was good for sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds – a whole second faster than its predecessor.
The E 55 AMG added another chapter to the unique history of the supercharged cars of Mercedes-Benz. During the development process, the AMG design engineers also fed their racing experience into the sports saloon.
2003: The station wagon
One year after the saloon, Mercedes-Benz introduced the E-Class station wagon. The
S 211 was particularly closely related in design terms to the saloons of the series. Aesthetically, too, the new station wagon was every bit a match for the saloon. In the station wagon model, the designers created an especially convincing combination of generous load space and dynamic elegance.
In addition to the many innovations adopted from the saloon, the station wagon featured other innovations developed specifically for the S 211. These included the EASY-PACK system with a new, asymmetrically divided rear seat bench that could easily be folded forward to create a level loading area in the rear. Also available as an optional extra was the hydraulically driven EASY-PACK load floor, which could be extended 40 centimetres out of the rear of the vehicle to facilitate the loading and unloading of heavy objects.
2003: Active light function and 4MATIC
In 2003 the active light function with bi-xenon headlamps had its premiere in the station wagon. These headlamps followed the steering movements of the driver up to an angle of 12 degrees, meaning that bends were better illuminated and drivers were able to recognise their course more easily. This Active Light System (ALS) was available as an optional extra. Mercedes-Benz developed this solution together with the lighting specialist Hella.
From autumn 2003 Mercedes-Benz offered 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive in the new E-Class. 4MATIC was initially available only in 211 series saloons and station wagons with six-cylinder petrol engines.
2004: Driving at lower cost with natural gas
At the Auto Mobil International in Leipzig in 2004, Mercedes-Benz presented a natural gas vehicle with bivalent drive system based on the E 200 KOMPRESSOR – the
E 200 NGT model. The 120 kW (163 hp) four-cylinder engine operated alternatively with natural gas or unleaded premium petrol. The exemplary power and torque characteristics of the up-to-date four-cylinder were retained in natural gas operation – the E 200 NGT model (Natural Gas Technology) was the most powerful production saloon with a natural gas drive system in 2004.
With the central display in the instrument cluster and buttons on the multifunction steering wheel the driver chose whether the car should run on natural gas or petrol. A special electronic control ensured a smooth and gentle switchover for each individual cylinder. For this vehicle, Mercedes-Benz modified the TWINPULSE supercharged engine, adding injection nozzles on the underside of the intake manifold. An under-bonnet pressure regulator with sensor and electromagnetic shut-off valve controlled the natural gas supply and maintained the necessary system pressure at a constant level.
2005: New V6 power plants for the E-Class
Following the debut of the new 3.5-litre V6 engine in the E 350 model (200 kW/272 hp) in late 2004, from summer 2005 Mercedes-Benz now offered the new E 280 model. Under its bonnet was a 170 kW (231 hp) six-cylinder with 300 Newton metres of torque. The new V6 from the M 272 engine series thus surpassed the previous E 240 model in output by more than 30 percent and in torque by 25 percent. To accelerate from zero to 100 km/h it needed only 7.3 seconds and attained a top speed of 250 km/h. The M 272 was considered a state-of-the-art power unit that mobilised extra output without extra fuel comsumption. It featured two overhead cams, adjustable intake and exhaust camshafts (a world first for a V6 engine), as well as a variable intake manifold and tumble flaps for optimum combustion.
At the same time Mercedes-Benz enlarged the diesel range of the
E-Class, adding the new E 280 CDI and E 320 CDI models. The E 280 CDI model developed 140 kW (190 hp) and made 400 Newton metres of torque available from 1400 rpm. With this great pulling power even at low engine speeds, the saloon took
7.6 seconds to go to 100 km/h from a standing start; its top speed was 238 km/h. In the
E 320 CDI model the new six-cylinder diesel from Mercedes-Benz developed 165 kW (224 hp) and generated 510 Newton metres of torque in conjunction with the
7G-TRONIC (optional extra) – outstanding figures for this displacement category. With this engine the new CDI model accelerated from zero to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds.
Torque giant with diesel V8
In autumn 2005 the E 420 CDI took the Mercedes-Benz stage. The model was powered by the world’s torquiest V8 passenger car diesel engine. The 231 kW (314 hp) power plant delivered maximum torque of 730 Newton metres at 2,200 rpm. With this engine the new E 420 CDI model could accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds and attained a top speed of 250 km/h. The combined fuel consumption is 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres. Maintenance-free particulate filter, seven-speed automatic transmission and AIRMATIC air suspension are part of the standard equipment.
Along with an aluminium crankcase, cooled exhaust gas recirculation and electric intake air throttling, a particular technical highlight of the new Mercedes eight-cylinder was its third-generation common rail direct injection. This operated with a raised injection pressure of 1600 bar and enabled particularly precise fuel metering in the interest of fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions. As with all common rail engines the high injection pressure was available at all times, even at low engine speeds.
Piezo technology
An outstanding feature of the latest CDI technology was the piezo injector used in place of the previous solenoid valve. With a response time of just 0.1 milliseconds, the piezo ceramic allowed fuel injection to be adjusted more quickly and precisely to the prevailing load and engine speed situation than was previously possible. This also had a positive effect on emissions, consumption and noise generation.
On this basis the Mercedes-Benz engineers achieved double pilot injection, which took place within a few milliseconds and significantly reduced the combustion noise of the eight-cylinder. Moreover, double fuel after-injection took place to regenerate the standard diesel particulate filter if required.
Tremendous variety
In 2005 the model range of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was as varied, attractive and dynamic as never before. All in all, there were 14 saloons and twelve station wagons to choose from. Among other things, Mercedes-Benz also extended its offer of all-wheel-drive cars to include the new E 280 4MATIC and the E 350 4MATIC, the E 280 CDI 4MATIC and the E 320 CDI 4MATIC, under the bonnet of which was fitted the new
V6 diesel engine.
2006: Facelift
On April 12, 2006, Mercedes-Benz presented the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class at the New York International Automobile Show. As product enhancement the series was equipped with new engines, forward-looking safety technology, and the most up-to-date lighting equipment. In addition, the design engineers redeveloped or improved 2,000 parts.
The new generation of the E-Class demonstrated its dynamism, strength and effortless superiority mainly through a revised design. The saloon and station wagon appeared even more dynamic and commanding than before. Inside, the new generation was distinguished among other things by attractive colour combinations, a new four-spoke steering wheel and a new control unit for the standard automatic climate control.
The vehicles went on sale in Europe in early June 2006, and a few weeks later also in the USA. A total of 29 model variants were available to choose from – 16 saloons and 13 station wagons. Compared with its competitors, Mercedes-Benz therefore offered the largest and most varied model range in this market segment.
Safety at the highest level
Forward-looking new developments continued to make the E-Class a pioneer of automotive safety. In future the saloons and station wagons would have as standard the anticipatory PRE-SAFE® system, which almost instinctively activated protective measures for driver and front passenger if an accident appeared imminent. Winner of several awards, the system enabled belt and airbag to function optimally upon impact. Unique in this class also were the standard NECK-PRO head restraints: sensor-controlled, these provided head support for driver and front passenger in the event of a rear-end collision. Mercedes-Benz also equipped the new generation of the E-Class with brake lights that flash during emergency braking to help avoid rear-end collisions.
The revised generation of E-Class was the first automobile in the world to offer adaptive headlamps that optimally adjusted to the prevailing driving situation and weather conditions. This significantly improved safety. The Intelligent Light System was available as an optional extra for saloon and station wagon and comprised five different light functions.
DIRECT CONTROL made even more agile handling possible. This standard package of features included a ten percent more direct steering, a newly developed spring link bearing, and a new shift control for the six-speed manual transmission for greater ease of shifting and more precise gear changing. Additionally the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models were fitted with rebound buffer springs that effectively limited body roll during cornering. From the new S-Class of Mercedes-Benz came the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system, which enabled new safety and comfort functions by means of electronic control of the hydraulic dual-circuit brakes. An automatic tyre pressure loss warning system was also part of the extended standard equipment in the E-Class.
New engines for the new generation of E-Class
Six out of ten engines of the facelifted E-Class were new or advance developments. In particular the four-cylinder diesel engines of models E 200 CDI and E 220 CDI were optimised in detail to further improve output, torque and smoothness. In the petrol engine department the engineers concentrated mainly on the power plants with four and eight cylinders. In the future the top engine in the E-Class would be the newly developed V8 engine (M 273) from the S-Class with 5.5-litre displacement and 285 kW (388 hp).
Mercedes-AMG first presented the E 63 AMG at the New York International Auto Show. Powered by the new AMG naturally aspirated V8, which obtained peak output of 378 kW (514 hp) and maximum torque of 630 Newton metres with a displacement of 6.2 litres, the E 63 AMG model was the most powerful E-Class ever. From 0 to 100 km/h the saloon needed just 4.5 seconds, the station wagon 4.6 seconds. The perfect partner for the 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine from AMG was the new AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7-speed automatic transmission with three individual shift modes.
BLUETEC: The future of the diesel
The decision taken by Mercedes-Benz to put its first BLUETEC passenger car on the North American market in autumn 2006 pointed the way ahead for the compression-ignition engine. Compared with the advanced CDI engines, BLUETEC diesel technology produced a further significant reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions in particular. Following the successful launch of the world's first BLUETEC passenger car the E 320 BLUETEC was voted "World Green Car of the Year 2007" in America.
The Mercedes-Benz E 320 BLUETEC also demonstrated its capabilities in 2006 in a long-distance run from Paris to Beijing. This symbolic bridging of Europe and Asia took in large parts of the route covered by the first transcontinental car race in history, which took its participants from Beijing to Paris in 62 days in 1907. Three Mercedes-Benz
E 320 BLUETEC vehicles along with 30 E 320 CDI models made up the field of
E-Class saloons that travelled from Paris to Beijing.
Road to the future
In 2007 Mercedes-Benz began introducing the new BLUETEC diesel technology in Europe. At the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September 2007 the Stuttgart brand presented the new E 300 BLUETEC as the latest model in the 211 series. This cleanest and thriftiest EU5 diesel from the business class came onto the European market in December 2007. With these two models, the E-Class spearheaded a Mercedes-Benz offensive across all model series. Since the years ahead will see BLUETEC variants for models from C-Class to R-Class on the "Mercedes-Benz Road to the Future".
The slightly lower peak output of the new BLUETEC model compared with the US version (155 kW/211 hp instead of 165 kW/ 224 hp) resulted from measures designed to improve emissions. Further optimisation measures included special piezo injectors and selective fine-tuning of turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation. The unchanged high peak torque of 540 Newton metres at 1,600 rpm guarantees effortlessly superior performance with low fuel consumption and very clean exhaust gases. The NEDC consumption of the E 300 BLUETEC is around 7.3 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres.
E 350 CGI: direct-injection petrol engine in the E-Class
Parallel to the E 300 BLUETEC model, Mercedes-Benz introduced the E 350 CGI model. Its V6 petrol engine was equipped with ultramodern petrol direct injection featuring a spray-guided combustion process (CGI). The world's first engine to feature this innovative combustion system and piezo injection came from the CLS 350 CGI model. The E 350 CGI model has been available as a saloon or station wagon since December 2007.
Compared with the E 350 model, which is still available, the 215 kW (292 hp) V6 engine offers 15 kW (20 hp) more output and 15 Newton metres more torque, combined with ten percent lower fuel consumption. The E 350 CGI saloon model, which accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, uses just 8.7 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres (NEDC average). In both model variants the top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h.
With the E-Class to the future
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class will also assume the role of pioneer in the next series of E-Class. For example, the year 2010 is expected to see the arrival of the first of three Mercedes-Benz models from the next generation of the intermediate range, equipped with a unique combination of BLUETEC, 7G-TRONIC and hybrid technology. The modular technology concept of the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID model comprises the new four-cylinder diesel, which develops 150 kW (204 hp) and a maximum torque of 480 Newton metres from 2.2 litres, and a compact hybrid module that delivers an additional 15 kW (20 hp). Consumption of just 5.1 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres (46 mpg) and carbon dioxide emissions of only 134 grams per kilometre make the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID model the world's thriftiest and cleanest business saloon.
Spiritually, this future offspring of the Stuttgart E-Class will stand on the shoulders of the previous E-Class series and their forerunners. Because as the Mercedes-Benz
E-Class has emphatically been demonstrating for more than 60 years, roots provide a sound basis for the future.
211 series in the press
auto motor and sport, Germany, issue 14/2002, wrote of the E 500 model: "The top
E-Class model contains the collected works of the Mercedes Development department."
mot, Germany, issue 8/2002, on the E 220 CDI model: "Cruise control, air conditioning, trip computer, rain sensor, and even a set of light-alloy wheels are already included in the Classic model." The suspension also got good marks: "The location of the wheels by complex multi-link constructions pays off. Tyre noise and road roar are almost completely absorbed, as are even large bumps, without much motion of the body."
auto motor and sport, Germany, issue 3/2002, had this to say about the new
E-Class: "In the new edition of the E-Class Mercedes banks more on innovative engineering than on progressive design. The electrohydraulic brake system SBC, for instance, goes into large-scale production for the first time. But in other respects, too, the market leader underpins its number one position in this segment."
mot, Germany, issue 3/2002, succinctly described the position of the E-Class: "In the wide-ranging model line the E-Class is the Mercedes per se."
, Germany, issue 18/2007, drove the Mercedes-Benz E 300 BLUETEC: "In combination with its seven-speed automatic transmission, the three-litre diesel is as lithe as the
E 320 CDI, its progenitor, whose 3-litre V6 it has adopted. … Although the Bluetec treatment causes output to drop to 211 hp, one can get over the minimal losses of accelerating power and top speed."
mot, Germany, issue 6/2002, wrote of the new E-Class: "Despite all the high-tech, it remains true to its principles." It shows authentic Mercedes-Benz virtues: "There are only few cars that have such a strong and fully developed character as the second-largest saloon from Mercedes. It's a spacious, comfortable car. Its elegance is of the respectable upper middle-class type."
 
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