|The new T-model of the E-class, since May 1996 available, possesses the characteristic styling features of the limousines. Compared with the predecessor-model the new T-model excels through even more space in the interior of the vehicle. This way not only comfort and freedom of movement for the passengers have been improved the luggage boot, too, now offers a loading volume of about 70 litres more on average..Thanks to a rear bench divided in the ratio 1/3_:_2/3 completely foldable with seating cushions and backrest, the loading space and the seating places for the passengers in the rear can be designed individually.
In the T-model all technical innovations are used that also the E-class excels in. In addition particular importance was attached to passive safety. To that end a completely new bodyshell structure was developped and tested. A modified position of the tank that had to be placed behind the rear axle under the floor of the loading space called for a massively reinforced structure to guarantee the passengers' safety in rear-crashes. To that end the supporting parts of the back seat backrest as well as its interlocks and attachments have been constructed particularly strong. What's more, a backseat not correctly interlocked is also displayed. Effective headrests in the rear, three three-point-seat belts and lashing eyelets for securing the loaded goods make up the series-equipment of the T-models and contribute to the high level of safety. Concerning equipment and comfort we do not need to make cuts with the T-model either. As with the limousine the styling and equipment lines Classic, Elegance, and Avantgarde are on offer.
Under the bonnet of the new T-model of the E-class there are engines as are used in the limousines. Apart from the 2.9-litre 5-cylinder turbo-Diesel with direct injection, there are the two four-cylinder petrol-engines with 2.0 and 2.3-litres of displacement as well as, for the first time in the T-model, the 4.2-litre V8-engine with standard 5-speed automatic gearbox available. .For exports to Italy .another variant with a 2.5-litre Diesel-engine is produced. The four-cylinder and five-cylinder models are delivered with a five-speed conventional gearbox as a standard fitting. On request the new five-speed automatic gearbox with traction-controlled converter lockup clutch and electronic steering can be delivered.
During the course of 1997, the engine range of the E=Klasse was profoundly modernised and presented at two different dates; the innovations related to saloon cars and T=models. In march, the sales programme was complemented by the addition of a six-cylinder saloon, the E_320; the brand-new 3,2_litre-V6 engine, which belongs to product line M_112 and features a range of cutting-edge innovations, is being produced at the high-tech engine plant in Bad_Cannstatt / Stuttgart. Due to a careful selection of light construction materials, a 25_% reduction in weight was achieved, compared to the serial engine of the saloon car. The light alloy bushing sleeves, which for the first time were introduced into the car - a world-wide novelty -- contributed to a reduction in fuel consumption due to their low-friction surface. There was also a significant reduction in the Emission of exhaust gases, because of the use of three-valve technology and double ignition. The absence of an exhaust valve reduced the loss of heat in the exhaust-gas flow and it also created sufficient space for the accommodation of a second ignition plug, allowing for shorter combustion distances and optimum control of the combustion process. Another novel feature is the active Service System Assyst, which guarantees a continuous check of the oil quality in the engine. This allowed individual needs-oriented maintenance intervals, as they register, how much a car had really been used, thus extending intervals from 15.000_km to an average 22.500_km.
The E_320_T=model is also available as a four-wheel drive version, which before had been offered as the so-called 4MATIC in product line 124. Although the names are identical, there are some basic differences between both drive systems: designed as a permanent four-wheel drive, the new 4MATIC is combined with an electronic traction system, which reduces the differential locks of conventional four-wheel drives. ETS is switched on automatically when at least one wheel skids on a slippery surface. Braking pressure on the wheel is increased until a pre-defined speed difference has been reached. This boosts the drive momentum at the wheels with good road grip so that a maximum of traction is reached.
The new 4MATIC-models were developed by Daimler-Benz in cooperation with the Steyr-Daimler-Puch Fahrzeugtechnik (driving technology) GmbH and they are produced at the plant of the latter company in Graz. The production programme encompasses the adaptation of the car shell, the application of paint using water lacquer technology and the complete assembly of the cars. Shells, engines, drives, rear axles and equipment for the interior of the car are supplied by Daimler-Benz while the four-wheel drive components are produced or procured by SFT. This Austrian-German joint project was set up on the basis of a successful cooperation in the development and production of the off-road cars of product lines 460_-_463, which had lasted for 20_years.
Apart from the E_320_4MATIC, another four-wheel drive T=model is available. It comes with the 2,8_litre-V6-engine that had also been used in the saloon car and had been launched on the market several months before the introduction of the version with increased cubic capacity. After sales had started in December 1996 and after the world premiere at the Motoring Show "AutoRAI" in amsterdam, the saloons and T=models of the E_280 4MATIC became available from February 1997, whereas the 3,2_litre=Version of both body versions was delivered as late as June.
Simultaneously with the V6=engine, a new Diesel engine was introduced into the E=class in march 1997: The 130_kW (177_bhp) 3,0_litre=four valve Turbo diesel with charge cooling, a familiar feature of the S=class and the off-road car, had now also become available with the saloon car and T=model of product line 210. The sales programme of the E=class T=saloons thus included another six-cylinder version; All T=models with six-cylinder engine were serially equipped with a 5=speed-automatic gearbox.
In March 1997 the E=class was not only fitted with new engines; at the same time a whole range of improved equipment details were introduced throughout the type range of product line 210, with the exception of the V8=models. Special mention of the new driver code system ELCODE should be made at this point; Elcode optimized protection against theft and also offered perfect comfort in the shape of remote door openening and remote ignition. Another important improvement was the brake assistance system BAS, which automatically registeres emergency brakes and can produce the required maximum brake power in a minimum of time.
In September 1997, At the International Automobile Fair in Frankfurt, two new T=models of the E=class were presented: the E_240 has a 2,4_litre-V6-engine, which, conceptually, corresponds to the 3,2_litre cubic capacity version that had been introduced six months earlier. The 125_kW (170_bhp) E_240 succeeds the four-cylinder model E_230 in the German sales programme and makes it easier for customers of the E_230 T=Modell, to enter the six-cylinder segment at an affordable pricee. However, the E_230 T=model is still being produced for exports and for ckd=deliveries.
The E_430 has become the successor of the popular E_420 model and, like its predecessor, it is also powered by a V8=engine. The new 4,3_litre powerplant, which belongs to product line M_113, was jointly developed with the V6=engines of product line_112, and therefore makes use of the same innovative construction details like the three-valve technology, double ignition and low-friction bushing sleeves. This car, too, is produced at the engine plant in Bad_Cannstatt / Stuttgart.
However, the family of T=saloons of the E=class was yet to receive another addition. The new models E_200_compressor and E_250_Turbo diesel,which were equipped with engines that had been carried over from the C=class, are not available in Germany. These models are destined exclusively for the Greek, Italian and Portuguese markets, where they are available with decreased cubic capacity for fiscal reasons.