L&L Automotive

Mercedes-Benz Hertfordshire

Mercedes-Benz Logo

Mercedes-Benz at IAA Munich Motor Show.


Words and images by Ken Pearson 


September of 2023 brought about the return of the IAA Munich motor show, relieving Paris of the duty of hosting Europe's premier automobile expo. It also brought me to join the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who descended on the Bavarian capital to explore the wealth of new, updated and outlandish cars on show. In the first part of the retrospective we focus on all things Mercedes-Benz.


The cars were split across the conference centre at Messe München, the Studio Odeonsplatz by Mercedes-Benz store and the incredibly impressive Mercedes-Benz Pavillion on Apothekenhof. Let’s start at the conference centre with a new saloon which is set to raise the standards for its segment once again.


E-Class Saloon E-Class Saloon


Catching my eye with its illuminated grille was the new E-Class saloon. This was not my first time seeing the car - I got a very good look at the model at a Mercedes-Benz training trip earlier in 2023 of both camouflaged and undisguised models but this was the first opportunity for me to photograph the new model. It's a clear evolution of the long heritage of E-Class models which can trace its roots back to the 1950s - a particular highlight for me is the three-segment running lights with the DIGITAL LIGHT headlight option - one solid line at the top of the cluster with two wide-U shaped segments at the base of the headlights to bring back the classic "four-eye" look of the model. It wouldn't be right to describe the design as retro-future but there is a combination of modern design touches with a gentle nod to the model's heritage. The rear lights continue the four-segment theme with four lights in the shape of Mercedes-Benz stars proudly on display.


MBUX Infotainment E-Class Interior


This new model ushers in the next generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment and adds a routines function which allows the driver to programme multiple settings to activate at once. For example, set your home and work addresses and have a commute setup that gets the right radio station, cabin temperature and heated seat setting powered up as soon as you get in. Do you take the family out at weekends? You can have another routine for that with adjusted ambient lighting, different design themes and even a passenger seat massage activated. The saloon is on sale in the UK already with the estate set to join the lineup imminently and the first models due to arrive in the UK at the end of 2023.




Whilst the E-Class drew a lot of attention at Messe München, two new stars had a near constant crowd around them at the Studio Odeonsplatz. Staring straight at me as I entered the store was the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT coupé and it stopped me in my tracks. The jaw dropping model has a purposeful, verging on evil look from its powerfully styled trapezoid double-grille and headlights which appear to follow your gaze as you walk around the car. I knew it'd be a looker from the launch images but much like its convertible twin, the spectacular new Mercedes-AMG SL, I was unable to stop myself from gasping at first glance.


Mercedes-AMG GT 63 Mercedes-AMG GT Interior


The specific model on display was a GT 63 4MATIC+ variant; the new GT launches with two flavors of V8 drivetrain in the form of the GT 55 (469 hp, 700 nm) and GT 63 (585 hp, 800 nm), both with all-wheel drive. Finished in MANUFAKTUR hyper blue magno with the AMG Aerodynamics Package, AMG Exterior Carbon Fibre Package, 21" AMG cross-spoke forged wheels and a porcelain interior, it certainly held me in an elliptical orbit to soak up every detail, angle, line and feature of it. Bigger, better and to some more practical than before thanks to the addition of two rear seats that Mercedes-Benz suggest to use as an extra storage spot for your golf clubs, the new GT should build on the captivating road presence of its predecessor whilst adding an extra dose of usability to the mix. I look forward to driving it.




But not as much as what I found next - the new CLE. The new two-door coupé (and cabriolet, soon) replaces the two door variants of both the C-Class and E-Class. It's positioned between the two in terms of size and space and could be thought of as a modern day CLK. I have been itching to see this car since I discovered the first camouflaged photographs of the model appearing in a magazine a few years ago. It seems I was not the only one as the new CLE had a crowd floating around it just like the flagship AMG GT just a few feet away. The slimline headlights, angled grille and front bumper along with the long bonnet, kinked rear windowline and fastback shape serve as a route map for your eyes to trace as you absorb the surprisingly captivating style of this new coupé. It's a subtle design but the format works; I think of cars like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 which are based on a "standard" saloon but add a heavy dose of desirability by draping the chassis in a curvaceous cloak.


Mercedes CLE Interior 


This coupé is every bit as striking inside with the cabin borrowed from the C-Class complete with twin digital displays - one angled towards the driver - and a T-shaped trim that runs from door to door and down into the centre console. There are bespoke seats and room for four people with ease, thanks to the cabin size growing to be closer to that of the E-Class Coupé that it replaces. Needless to say, I want one. The model will launch in the UK with a mixture of petrol and diesel engines and at least one plug-in hybrid. AMG models are coming too. I hope the pinstripe wood interior trim and the exterior night package as seen on this gorgeous MANUFAKTUR patagonia red bright model make it to our shores as well.


Mercedes V-Class Mercedes V-Class Interior


At this point I must stress that there was more than just two-door coupés and saloons on show; heading over to the Moon base-esque Mercedes-Benz Pavillion, a resplendently beige V-Class greeted me. Well, the colour is officially called Kalahari gold metallic and it makes a change from nearly every V-Class I've seen in the UK being painted black. The colour isn't the only noteworthy thing; the V-Class and all its model variants, including the Marco Polo camper and the electric EQV have received a rather comprehensive facelift with a bold front end comprising of an enormous grille. It works. The overall shape reminds me of the pre-facelift 2nd generation CLS and that is no bad thing. Depending on the model, the V will show off a large three-pointed star within the grille surrounded by smaller stars, two black louvres or blanked off panels in the case of the EQV. The Exclusive exterior style has an S-Class style starless grille with the flying star mounted on the bonnet. I hope that comes to the UK!



The interior updates are, perhaps, more noticeable to the untrained eye and arguably the most overdue; vans are on much longer product cycles than the rest of the passenger car range and the model we know now was launched in 2014. The 205-series C-Class which also launched in that year was replaced in 2021. This is actually the second facelift for the W447 model and it does bring it up to date and much closer to its main rival from Volkswagen: the Multivan. The twin-display widescreen cockpit takes centre stage along with the new steering wheel, central touchpad and a redesigned dashboard trim insert that reminds these eyes of the new smart #1. Otherwise, the cabin remains the same spacious, plush, relaxing and cossetting cabin that the V-Class is quite rightly renowned for. The updates to this model will keep the car fresh for the next few years and we can expect it to be on our roads in early 2024.


Mercedes EQA Mercedes EQB


Last but not least is the pair of compact electric SUVs - the EQA and EQB. Only two and a half years on from their market introduction, the twins are getting their facelift. Whilst no changes have been made to the things you don't see like the battery and motors, the things that you do see have been tweaked. An updated front end design, new tail lights and a light interior refresh are the main highlights. The black panel grille now features a constellation of stars either available in black or silver. The EQA and EQB will continue to stand out at night with their full-width light bars that wrap around the headlights. At the rear, the EQA's light bar raises up towards the outer edges of the car and contains four individual LED light blocks whilst the EQB sees one light strip that widens at the extremities with a second, shorter strip running parallel in the outer cluster.



Mercedes EQA Interior 

The interior gets the same update as we've seen across the rest of the compact car range with two 10" screens running the second generation of MBUX, a new steering wheel and the removal of the central touchpad on the centre console. Otherwise, it's the same EQA and EQB that we've got to know since 2021 providing a quiet and luxurious compact oasis for five or seven people.


Of the products on display, the CLE was the absolute highlight for me. It's been hotly anticipated across our dealerships by staff and customers alike. It looks brilliant and it will be replacing one of my favourite members of the passenger car range - the C-Class Coupé - so my expectations are set rather high for it. That's it for the present day Mercedes-Benz products; part two of our exploration of Munich focuses on the new smart #3 which you can read here.

Which new model are you most interested in? Register your interest today.

We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. Read our privacy policy to understand how we use your data safely