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2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class revealed in leaked photos

Thanks to the website Autoblog.nl, we’re getting an early preview of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which is scheduled to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The photos show European-spec models but they shouldn’t be vastly different from U.S.-spec E-Classes.

The 2014 model is a mid-cycle refresh of the current E-Class, so the styling changes aren’t too dramatic. The big change is at the front end where the sinister-looking, angular quad headlights and front bumper are replaced with more conventional lights and more rounded surfacing. The profile of the old four-eyes look is preserved by some angry LED inserts.

The 2014 E-Class will also be the second Mercedes sedan to offer multiple grille styles. As with the C-Class, buyers will be able to choose between the traditional horizontal bar grille and hood ornament or a grille with a Mercedes three-pointed star insert. The latter harkens back to the Mercedes 300 SL, and was reserved for coupes and convertibles before becoming an option on the C-Class.

The front end styling sets the tone for the rest of the car, which features evolutionary styling that irons out controversial bits from the previous generation. The curved crease above the rear wheel well, meant to evoke classic Mercedes “Ponton” sedans, is gone, which makes the side of the car a little less busy. The rear end also received some tweaks, but nothing drastic.

The interior will also be familiar to owners of the current E-Class. It features the same three-spoke steering wheel with buttons, as well as copious other buttons on the center stack for controlling the audio and other functions. A screen for the navigation system and infotainment remains where it was, as does the analog dashboard clock. We’ll have to wait for the E-Class’ Detroit debut to see if any new tech is hiding under this familiar wrapper.

Mechanical details will also be released during the 2014 E-Class’ official debut. The current E-Class is offered with: a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V8 (E350 Bluetec), 3.5-liter gasoline V6 (E350), the same engine paired with an electric motor (E400 Hybrid) and a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 (E550).

Mercedes has already confirmed that the E63 AMG performance model will keep its 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V8, but it will switch from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive.

The E-Class is currently offered as a sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible, but so far only photos of the sedan and wagon are being shown. The coupe and convertible models (in reality based on the smaller C-Class) will probably arrive after the sedan goes on sale.

Look for this refreshed Benz to take the fight to the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 after its Detroit debut.

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