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All-new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class revealed ahead of schedule by leaked images

Leaked images have given us the best look yet at the all-new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class that’s scheduled to make its official debut next week at the Detroit Motor Show.

The images were erroneously published by a German website named Auto-Presse. They were quickly taken down, but not before a handful of other websites (including WorldCarFans) published them for the world to see. As expected, the next E-Class’ front end falls in line with Mercedes’ current design language thanks to familiar styling cues such as elongated headlights and an upright grille. Buyers can choose whether they want a more elegant-looking car with three slats and a small Mercedes emblem that sticks up from the hood, or a sportier-looking sedan with two slats and a much bigger three-pointed star.

Called w213 internally, the E rides on Mercedes’ modular rear architecture (MRA), a state-of-the-art platform made with lightweight materials including aluminum, that is expected to underpin at least 10 new models before the end of the decade. Also found under the smaller C-Class, the MRA platform is expected to allow the E to shed up to 330 pounds over the current model, a diet that will benefit both fuel economy and driving dynamics.

The pictures suggest both that the E’s cabin is more luxurious than ever, and that it places a huge emphasis on technology. Notably, the analog instrument cluster has been replaced by a high-resolution color screen that can be configured to show a wide range of information about the car and its surroundings, a setup borrowed from the bigger S-Class. An equally large screen mounted next to the instrument cluster groups the E’s navigation, connectivity, and entertainment features into a single unit controlled via either voice commands or a controller knob located on the center console.

Technical specifications haven’t been leaked, but we know that the 2017 E-Class will inaugurate a brand new family of straight-six engines set to gradually replace the V6 that powers the current E, as well as numerous other members of the Mercedes lineup. Buyers in Europe will also have access to frugal four-cylinder mills, and the w213 will become the first-ever regular-production E-Class with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

At the top of the E-Class hierarchy, Mercedes-AMG’s M5-punching E63 will likely be powered by a downsized, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine tuned to send at least 600 horsepower to all four wheels via an automatic transmission. Finally, a mid-level AMG Sport model will bridge the gap between the regular E and the fire-breathing AMG model.

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Official details about the next-gen Mercedes-Benz E-Class will emerge in the coming days. After greeting the show-going public in the nation’s Motor City, the all-new E will land in Mercedes showrooms in time for the 2017 model year. Coupe, convertible, and station wagon models will be introduced shortly after.