The forthcoming, sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been spied once again ahead of its expected reveal this year.

    Although this spied E-Class prototype might look similar to previously spied examples, our spy photographers were able to capture a particular design element for the first time: a new LED light strip.

    The strip runs across the top of the grille, and is a design element that has previously been reserved for Mercedes-Benz’s EQ range of electric vehicles (EVs).

    It’s also similar to what Volkswagen has added to a number of its vehicle, amid a wider industry design trend.

    It’s unclear if this front LED strip will be standard across the E-Class range, or if it will be an optional feature.

    Leaked images of the E-Class’ front end without camouflage have previously appeared online, albeit with tape covering where the light strip sits.

    Other design elements these leaked images revealed were the W211-generation-inspired twin-headlight design, and the landscape-oriented touchscreen for its MBUX infotainment system.

    The E-Class is the middle child in Mercedes-Benz’s combustion-engined, rear-/all-wheel drive sedan trio.

    The new generation will follow the redesigned S-Class launched locally in 2021, and the new C-Class launched in 2022.

    The coupe and convertible will be retired, with a new coupe and convertible model line – possibly called the CLE – collectively replacing all two-door C-Class and E-Class models.

    A wagon is set to continue, at least in other markets, and has already been spied. The body style was dropped here in 2021 when Mercedes-Benz discontinued the high-riding All-Terrain, and the brand now doesn’t sell any wagons locally.

    Diesel engines are also set to continue, but these were also dropped in Australia in 2021.

    Expect a range of 48V mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains but no electric option, with that role in Mercedes’ line-up served by the EQE.

    It’s unclear whether the E-Class will follow the smaller C-Class in offering only four-cylinder powertrains across both the core and AMG ranges.

    Currently, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is offered with a choice of three turbocharged four-cylinder engines, one of which is mated with a plug-in hybrid system.

    Stepping up to the AMG range, however, gets you a turbocharged inline-six in the E53 and a twin-turbo V8 in the E63.

    The E-Class’s arch-rival, the BMW 5 Series, is also about to enter a new generation. Prototypes of the new 5 Series have been spied testing ahead of an expected 2023 debut.

    Click an image to view the full gallery.

    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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