China is not just the world’s largest car market, it is also a place where people love long-wheelbase models
Whether it's executive sedans or even smaller sedans and SUVs, an increasing number of vehicles are offered in China with a long-wheelbase variant. The all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class makes no exception, which is not surprising given that its predecessor was offered with a stretched wheelbase as well. Debuting at Auto China 2016 in Beijing, the new E-Class L is tailor-made for the Chinese market.
Built in China for China, the E-Class L features a wheelbase stretched by 140 mm (5.5 in) to 3,079 mm (121.2 in) compared to the standard E-Class model. To put it into perspective, the E-Class L has a longer wheelbase than the standard S-Class, which measures 3,035 mm (119.5 in) between the front and the rear axles. And with an overall length of 5,063 mm (199.3 in), the E-Class L is about as long as the shortest S-Class (5,116 mm or 201.4 in).
Needless to say, rear-seat passengers benefit the most from the extended wheelbase, with Mercedes-Benz talking about "generously extended legroom and seating with a wide array of comfort functions." Passengers in the back have 134 mm of extra legroom, as well as improved access thanks to the larger clearance of the rear doors.
The car comes in a five-seat configuration with a folding center armrest that incorporates an illuminated stowage compartment and USB port as standard while options include a touchscreen, a heated pad, and wireless charger.
The interior features details chosen specifically for the Chinese market, including the quarter light in the C-pillar inspired by the Mercedes-Maybach models, the ambient lighting with 64 colors and the touchpad in the rear armrest for operating the infotainment system and adjusting the seating positions.
The Mercedes-Maybach reference is not a coincidence, as you can see when looking at the car from the sides. The E-Class L features a similar C-pillar design as the Maybach S-Class with an integrated triangular window. The automaker chose to add length using these elements instead of stretching the rear doors, helping distinguish the E-Class L from the standard wheelbase E-Class.
The E-Class L offers the same comfort and assistance features as regular E-Class models, including the Drive Pilot system which allows for semi-autonomous driving.
Mercedes-Benz didn't release details about the engine range but said all units will be linked to the new 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. However, the press release and photos gave away two model designations: E 200 L and E 320 L.