Friday, January 10, 2014

Good Bye E Class. Say Hello to the 280SE

(updated image)

2016 280 Series—Ushering in an entirely new design language as well as a new naming scheme and brand new engines, drivetrains, and platforms, this new "280 Class" is as new as new can be. Above, the SE sedan, available with gas, diesel, extended range hybrids, and plug-in electric modes. The 280 Class replaces the current E Class. The S Class will be renamed the 450 Class, with the C Class the new 190 Series. Bringing the "Bookends" into the fold, the compact A Class is now the 90 Class with the Maybach luxury liner becoming the 600 Class.

Style-wise, Mercedes blunt new front end is refined and leads to much smoother bodysides with simplified window graphics. Gone are the radical wedges, severe swages, and tortured light shapes and details. This 280SE features lower bodyside corrugations evocative of the 1970s "Scientific" Mercedes models and assist in the aero ratings of this smooth new language.

Keen eyes will notice a thin body seam halfway up the bodysides. This hints at the new body construction. The lower "tub" is now completely fabricated from carbon fiber. The upper body is high-strength aluminum which is also used for the front- and rear-subframes and suspension. Overall weight will be reduced by more than a thousand pounds per model enabling much smaller and efficient powertrains. Overal fuel efficiency should be raised by more than 10mpg per model, too, with this mid-size 280 Class boasting the highest efficiency rating in its class by a wide margin.
  • "SE" will be the designation for all sedans
  • "C" will be the coupe designator
  • "h," "e," or "d," will be added to signify hybrid, electric, or diesel drivetrains
  • "SW" "T" will be reserved for station wagons, and thanks to PaulNYC for reminding me about their original alpha for wagons!
  • "X" will denote all crossovers, tall wagons, and SUVs, with 4-Matic still added for the awd versions.


  1. Beautiful! Current Mercedes design has become so baroque, particularly the E class, that this clean sheet approach is a huge step forward. I think that T was the traditional designation for station wagons (I'd love to see the station wagon version of your new design). And how would you designate convertible (supposedly the new S class will hve one and the C/E does now). I hope that Mercedes will continue to build convertibles. Oh yes, what about the SL? What do you envision for that?

    Paul, NYC

    1. You're right about the "T!" I was thinking it was TD and didn't want to confuse the diesel, but that was only for the diesel wagon now that I think about it. There was a 280T, too. I'll change that and think about the rest of your questions, lol!

  2. This is very impressive. There is a slight hint of MB history in the grill but the rest is refreshing. I think the two strips on the side with the divide that you mention and the bottom of the doors looks a little too busy. I see the strips as a continuation of front brake vent design but if they were eliminated the whole thing would be incredibly clean. It would remind me of a '65 Corvair in its elegance. For me that is high praise. I love it.


  3. SE and 280 haven't hit this side of the Atlantic since I was in middle school, ages ago.

  4. Nice.
    If MB is going to play with their designations, though, they should shock the world by dropping the alphabet soup entirely and going to model NAMES. A new one every design cycle!