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With all-new hugely successful generations of the S-Class and C-Class launched and out of the way, it’s time for Mercedes-Benz to focus on the middle child of its sedan range – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The W212 has been around since 2009, so a replacement should be due sometime in 2016.

This is the first sighting of a next generation E-Class prototype – we’re calling it the W213 for now. We won’t fault you if at first glance, you think this is just some kind of disguised W205 because of how similar the front end on this prototype looks to the new C, but look carefully and you’ll see that this car is wider than a C-Class, and has longer rear overhangs. It also looks more angular than a C-Class.

Multiple automotive publications have published rumours that this new E-Class will debut a new family of six-cylinder engines that will go back to the old inline-six format instead of the current V6. This is to enable better component compatibility with future inline-three and inline-four cylinder engines.

It will be built on Mercedes-Benz’s new modular MRA rear-wheel drive platform, which also underpins the C-Class. We’ve already seen what the MRA platform can do for the new C – a quick comparison on CarBase.my shows that the C250 beats all of its rivals in terms of weight, which in turn gives it the best CO2 emissions and rated fuel economy among the cars compared (BMW 328i, Audi A4 2.0T, Infiniti Q50 2.0t, Lexus IS 250).