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The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class has made its ASEAN debut at the 2016 Bangkok Motor Show. This follows the announcement of launch variants and prices for Thailand last week. The W213 E-Class arrives in the Kingdom (a CBU import for now) as a single E 220d variant in two very distinct trim lines that will appeal to different folks – Exclusive and AMG Dynamic.

Let’s start with the powertrain. The E 220d is powered by Daimler’s new OM654 2.0 litre (1,950 cc) four-cylinder turbodiesel that was announced earlier this year. The W213 is the first outing for the OM654, which collects the baton from the ubiquitous 2.1 litre OM651 turbodiesel, the most-produced engine in Merc’s history that has been around since 2008.

The lighter (by 17%) and more fuel efficient (by 13%) OM654 delivers 194 hp and 400 Nm of torque (from 1,600 to 2,800 rpm) in the W213 E220d, good for 0-100 km/h in a brisk 7.3 seconds, which is significantly faster than the previous E220d’s 8.2 seconds. Also new is the gearbox, a 9G-tronic nine-speed torque converter automatic with paddle shifters. We’ve previously detailed the new oil burner, and you can dive deep here.

The car with the traditional M-B louvered grille is the Exclusive line, which will appeal to those who want a smaller S-Class. On the other end is the AMG Dynamic with a large three-pointed star on the grille and more aggressive bumpers.

The wheels match the respective looks – 10-spoke 18-inch items for the Exclusive (245/45 tyres) and star-spoke 19-inch rims for the sporty AMG (245/40 front, 275/35 rear). The E220d Exclusive – the base model for now – gets LED headlamps, which is a rung down from the highest-spec Multibeam LED eyes of the AMG.

More changes inside the mini S-Class cabin, and one of the main differences involve the instrument panel. Exclusive line buyers get standard twin analogue dials with a smaller audio screen for the Audio 20 system, while the AMG Dynamic receives dual 12.3-inch display screens for the meter panel and central screen, W222-style. Both cars get a leather covered dashboard.

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Both variants get the new touch control button on the nappa-lined steering’s spokes, but the wheel itself is different – flat-bottomed on the AMG. The sportier car also gets Comand Online and a (mid-range, non-3D) Burmester sound system. Also exclusive to the AMG are the panoramic glass roof, wireless charging (in the cubby ahead of the Comand controller), metal studded pedals, Keyless Go, head-up display and Apple Carplay/Android Auto connectivity.

In the upholstery and trim department, the E 220d Exclusive is paired with Artico synthetic leather while the AMG gets Nappa leather. Artico is available in black, brown or beige; matched with open-pore brown ash wood trim. The Exclusive unit on display here is a combo of different shades of brown, making it an acquired taste. The AMG also gets the same wood trim, but in black, matched with black (as seen here) or saddle brown leather.

W213 E-Class prices start from 3.999 million baht (RM458,837) for the E 220d Exclusive. The better-equipped E 220d AMG Dynamic goes for 4.79 million baht (RM549,494).

Both E 220d variants are currently CBU imported, but a CKD programme is on the cards, as is the E 350e plug-in hybrid. With Thailand’s new 10% excise tax for hybrids producing no more than 100 g/km in place, the E 350e (2.0 turbo petrol with electric motor) is set to be well-equipped and competitively priced like its PHEV C- and S-Class siblings, and the E 300h/S 400h regular hybrid duo in Malaysia.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has confirmed that we will get the new E-Class later this year.

GALLERY: W213 Mercedes-Benz E 220d Exclusive


GALLERY: W213 Mercedes-Benz E 220d AMG Dynamic