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New-look E-Class Mercedes-Benz contesting the road with the likes of A6, 5 Serie

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Epitomizing the modern midsize luxury car, Mercedes-Benz’s 2013 E-Class sees some compelling improvements not least of all a sleek new shape thanks to a more streamlined flow from nose to tail. The new model’s facelift isn’t out of place, considering its rivals are the likes of Audi’s A6, BMW’s 5 Series and the Jaguar XF.

The E-Class may have undergone a powerful and dynamic re-interpretation, gracing the road with a strikingly intensified exterior and interior, yet it remains unmistakably Mercedes.

The car’s powerful profile with tapered side lines, distinctive arrow-shaped front end and muscular rear section speak of self-assurance, presence and precision. Curvaceous one-piece headlamps replace the angular two-part units on the outgoing car, while the front bumper and bonnet have also been revised. All models now feature Mercedes’ three-pointed star integrated into the chrome-finish radiator grille or on the hood, maintaining plenty of kudos.

While the E-Class never felt outdated, its 2013 facelift will surely do no harm in helping it compete with the models fielded by its equally prestigious rival carmakers.

In the E-Class’ interior, the fine materials and trims associated with Mercedes are in full effect, indicative of how the E-Class was developed with comfort in mind. The interior is spacious and feature high quality woods and upholstery variants which highlight individual style and allow for a host of combinations with additional optional extras. There’s a more traditionally luxurious look that works well with the new exterior.

There’s the optional active multicontour seats (awarded the quality seal by the "Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.", a German association promoting products for healthy backs) with separately controlled air chambers and which are settable to an individual’s stature and seat cushion length, seat side bolsters and lumbar support that can be adjusted pneumatically.

The THERMATIC automatic climate control allows for individual temperature and air distribution for the interior’s left and right sides, while the optional THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control allows for further individuality between the driver, front passenger and second row. The optional climatised driver and front passenger seats improve ride comfort even further on longer trips and reduce perspiration thanks to a pleasant air flow and selectable seat heating. There are fans integrated into the seat upholstery which uniformly distribute a flow of air in three intensity levels under the leather backrest and cushion covers.

The memory package is standard with the E-Class, designed to make the frequent change of drivers much easier. This stores the individual settings for each driver’s seat, steering wheel and exterior mirrors for up to three drivers.

Entertainment and navigation-wise, E-Class occupants enjoy an Audio 20 CD system operated through the multifunction steering wheel and with a 14.7 cm colour display and telephone keypad along with a Bluetooth® interface with hands-free function. The optional Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system (standard for E 63 AMG) with Dolby Digital 5.1 and output of 610 watts helps create even more of an acoustic driving experience, with 14 high-performance loudspeakers and the Logic 7® multi-channel, surround-sound technology. Optional is Mercedes’ new COMAND multimedia system, which combines all audio, telephone and navigation functions and also includes the Speed Limit Assist function.

Available in the Hong Kong car dealerships are the E 200 and E 250 - both featuring the new-generation 4-cylinder engines with direct petrol injection which power the E-Class for the first time, the E 300 and E 350 with their 6-cylinder powerplant and the E 500, E 63 AMG and E 63 AMG S Model with their 8-cylinder engines.

The latest E-Class editions ride on a wider and longer platform than before, putting them on a par with the BMW 5 Series on the specs sheet and making them, visually, a little more spacious and more open than, for example, the Jaguar XF.

Good looking, luxurious and entertaining on the road, the 2014 Audi A6 is lighter than most of its rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, helping to make it feel reasonably nimble for such a big car. While the steering is light and undemanding, it’s not particularly communicative. The most basic 2.0-litre diesel engine is not as easy on the vehicle as the 6-cylinder alternatives, but is quiet when cruising and in fact the A6 is a hushed car all round.

A benchmark for sport sedans, the BMW 5 Series models have grown longer, wider and heavier but have also taken a step back toward feeling more like a driver’s car. The look of the latest models have brought back the more upright, classic-sport sedan designs that seem to reach a couple of generations back. The 2014 5 Series edition has a lean, masculine look to showcase BMW’s best sense for such proportions.

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