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German taxi drivers of the future, rejoice! Meet the new Mercedes E-Class, revealed here spruced, nipped, facelifted and ready for 2013.

OK, so the ‘German taxi’ jibe was a little strong, but there’s no faulting the current E-Class and its tussle with the BMW 5-Series for class honours. And just because minicabbists like it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

And there’s more to like now with the new E-Class. Specifically, that front end that’s had a thorough going over, bringing in the ‘four-headlamp’ design favoured by its predecessor into the new-generation Mercedes family ‘face’. Smart, isn’t it?

They’re partial LEDs too (with full LEDs an option), and sit aside a new radiator grille, front bumper design, new bonnet and front wings. Very tidy indeed. There’s mild surgery at the back too, with sharper two-tone tail-lights and a new rear bumper.

The cabin hasn’t been changed wholesale, but benefits from a two-part trim available in wood or aluminium, a three-tube instrument cluster, a new air-vent design and a new analogue clock. OK, they’re not exactly reinventing the bratwurst, but with subtle revisions to the centre console and steering wheel, everything looks…neat. Luggsurious.

Merc has also upgraded its four-pot petrol; it now gets spray-guided direct injection (like in the V6s and V8s), along with exhaust-gas recirculation and which helps it emit just 135g/km of CO2. There’s two versions of this 2.0-litre petrol: either 184bhp or 211bhp in the E200 and E250, respectively.

Diesel highlights include the 60.1mpg E220 CDI with 170bhp, and the rather lovely E300 Hybrid, using an electric motor to achieve 69mpg. We rather liked this engine. They sit with four suspension configurations (comfort, sport, AMG and air suspension), together with an electromechanical direct steer rack. Got it?

What Mercedes is proud of most with this new E however, is the safety. The new E-Class debuts a few of the next S-Class’s systems, somewhat stealing the march on its tech-laden brother. You get a multi-purpose camera mounted around the rear-view mirror that provides a 3D view up to 50m ahead of the car. These images are then sent to the Merc’s various software monkeys to keep you out of trouble. Know what this means? The new E-Class actually has spatial awareness.

There’s a collision prevention assist system fitted as standard that works on the brakes, there’s attention assist to stop you from dozing off, a system that centres the car in the lane, the ‘pre-safe’ pedestrian detection and rear-end collision prevention system, and of course, traffic sign assist amongst other stuff. Though if you need help reading traffic signs, you really should think about jumping in a taxi instead…

Prices to be confirmed. Let us know what you think of the new Mercedes E-Class below.

Vijay Pattni

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