Sent to us by Axel Griesinger, one of our frequent contributors, the image was snapped earlier today at Daimler's Sindelfingen plant, where Tecday for Industry 4.0 is currently taking place. As you can see, it shows the body in white (literally and figuratively) of a Mercedes-Benz sedan.
The untrained eye could mistake this for either the C-Class W205 or the S-Class W222, but you can rest assured that we're actually looking at the fifth generation E-Class here. The easiest to spot detail confirming this is the barely seen “dropping character line,” which doesn't stop somewhere on the rear door (like on the C-Class and S-Class, ed) but continues over the rear wheel arch, reaching the tail lights.
The rear end design will probably be the hardest area in which the new model differentiates itself from its two siblings, a fact that's pretty obvious from our spy shot above as well. Combining that with a very similar front end, it will be down to the proportions, dimensions and small details like the “dropping character line” mentioned above to differentiate upcoming Mercedes-Benz sedans.
Based on the MRA (Modular Rear-wheel Drive Architecture), the 2017 E-Class W213 is expected to shed approximately 220 pounds (100 kg) of weight compared to its predecessor. An even bigger change will take place under the hood, where a new generation of inline six-cylinder engines will arrive to replace the current V6 powerplants.
Even more autonomous features, remote self-parking and gesture controls are among the technologies that will find their way onto the new E-Class, while it should eclipse the current model in terms of fuel efficiency as well. The new mid-size luxury sedan is expected to be unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, with sales to begin as early as next summer in Europe.