The Curious Case of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Long Wheelbase

Everybody’s excited about the new E-Class sedan’s imminent launch and Mercedes-Benz has promised an online reveal before the end of the year, so all cameras are pointing that way.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
But there’s still a question that hasn’t been answered: will the new long-wheelbase version be available in the U.S. and Europe as well (Mercedes-Benz is already selling a longer E-Class exclusively in China)? And if the answer to this question is "yes," will it come under the newly launched Mercedes-Maybach brand?

These questions were first asked earlier this year, when images of the elongated E-Class began to emerge, but Mercedes-Benz officials have mostly kept quiet on the subject. From a logical standpoint, it’s pretty hard to analyze the situation since a Mercedes-Maybach E-Class wouldn’t really have any rivals on the Western markets, so it could go both ways for Mercedes.

On the other hand, it would be dangerously close to a regular Mercedes-Benz S-Class in feel and even size, even though exclusive personalization options and materials available only for the Maybach versions could be enough to set it apart. But it would still be regarded as "the poor man’s Maybach," and Mercedes clearly doesn’t want "poor" and "Maybach" in the same sentence. Unless it’s "that poor Maybach only has silver plated wheels."

You also have to ask yourself: who would buy a car that says "I wanted a Maybach, but I couldn’t afford the real one"? Not that a real Maybach exists anymore, but that’s a story for another time. And then there’s the question of pricing. Too cheap, and it takes away from the brand’s exclusivity; too expensive, and people will think twice before choosing it over an S-Class - and probably decide against it in the end.

Well, we can’t answer for certain to any of the two questions, but the feverishness with which the LWB E-Class is being tested in Germany could be interpreted as a strong hint of Mercedes-Benz’s intentions of offering this car on new markets. However, the second question could go either way. Normally, we’d say that making a Maybach E-Class would be a mistake, but since the name isn’t so much a brand anymore as a trim-level, maybe it’s time for another member in the family. Until then, here’s another video to enjoy.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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