CATS Motors Inc. (official distributor of Mercedes Benz in the Philippines) officially released the new Mercedes Benz E-Class to an agog and enthusiastic public recently at the NBC Tent in Taguig City.

The new E-Class is now presented as a hallmark of automotive engineering centered around each and every occupant that parks their respective backsides along its comfortable leather seats. With the phrase "engineered around you" forming the ethos of the brand, the new E-Class continues a success story that dates all the way back to the late 1940s, when the first E-Class (known internally in Stuttgart as the 170V or the 136-series) rolled off production lines in Unterturkheim and presented itself as a saloon meant for the topflight executive looking for thrilling relaxation.

The exterior still retains the twin headlamp face characteristic of the E-Class since the W210 (1995-2003) version, with the W212 (the current E-Class iteration) sporting rectangular headlights instead of the ovoid headlights of yore. The effect is that of precious gems imbedded into the front fascia, and the radiator grille (with three dimensional chromed surround), dynamic arrow shape, a more upright position and large, concave or convex surfaces structured by clearly defined lines highlights the car's status as the "E"pitome of a business saloon.

Inside is hallmark Mercedes luxury, with a stylish symbiosis of technology and aesthetics providing an unceasing captivation for nearly all senses. Handcrafted wood trim on the dashboard and door panels – be it in high-sheen eucalyptus, brown burr walnut, brown open pore-ash or black ash – provide a feeling that one is in one's home, or one can opt for aluminum trim for a more modern/sporty cabin ambience. Mercedes Benz's COMAND all-in-one interface finds itself into all E-Class variants and puts a bevy of functions at both front occupants' fingertips, allowing quick and easy operation of comforts such as the in-car entertainment (which is MP3, external MP3 player and DVD ready) and Bluetooth-capable telephony. A leather-padded sliding leather console directly behind the middle front cupholders swallows two Canon EOS 70-300 IS lens, plus a Canon EX Speedlite 430 EX II external flash and two to three Buffalo Ministation external hard drives.

All E-Class variants currently available at CATS Motors – the P 4.980 million E300 Elegance, the P 5.280 million E300 Avantgarde and the P 5.680 million E300 Avantgarde AMG Sport – tote three liter V6s that are more than capable of hauling its 1735 kg of curb weight on all sorts of tarmac. Toting 231 hp and 299 NM of torque, when mated to Stuttgart's 7G-Tronic seven speed automatic (mounted on the steering column) the E-Class manages to keep the engine within the powerband constantly.

Toss the car around twisties of all sorts and the Direct Control system works hard to maintain a constant damping force, factoring in vehicle velocity and behavior. Direct Steering works hand in hand with a much improved power assist function, allowing the driver to more the steering wheel with less effort on all facets of corner approach. The stoppers have a unique Adaptive Brake feature that "primes" the brakes when the ECU senses you letting go of the brakes suddenly, and prepares the brake lines and calipers for maximum deceleration effort in case of sudden stops. Should you suddenly feel drowsy behind the wheel, Attention Assist (derived from the S-Class) warns you via a bevy of shrill warning tones whenever the unit veers out of one's lane. Lastly, Mercedes Benz put in a plethora of active and passive safety to help all occupants in all phases of travel, plus an "active bonnet" that raises the hood 5-7 centimeters from the point of impact (if it's a head on collision with a pedestrian or a biker) so that the other party doesn't get too seriously injured.

The new Mercedes Benz E-Class ups its game to hang with – and eventually one-up - the BMW 5-Series, the Volvo S80, the Audi A6 and perhaps even the Jaguar XF. In short, it yet again ups its echelon of excitement.