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.