That “four-eyes” design was retained in the next two generations until advancements in headlight technology rendered it unnecessary for the E-Class to have headlamps in separate housing.
In the interest of preserving the E-Class’ recognisable styling, the headlamps on both sides are now in a single housing, use LED daytime running strips to mark out the “eyes.”
Aside from enhancing the sedan with a more polished and business-like appearance, the headlamps are also brighter and smarter.
It was during a night drive in the E400 Avantgarde on an unlit trunk road stretch from Bidor to Sungkai, Perak that we fully appreciated this upgrade.
Not only did the white LED lights gave a brighter and even spread over the dark road, they also had a longer range.
The awe comes once the smart high beam was switched on.
Unlike the smart high beam system in other Continental models that fully dips the beam to avoid dazzling oncoming vehicles, the E400’s intelligent system will only dip the portion that shines at the vehicles ahead.
With this feature, we could still keep some portions of the high beam on without irritating other road users.
To keep the E-Class among the best-selling luxury sedans in the country, the line-up comes with premium amenities for the comfort of its owners.
As the top variant of the E-Class, the E400 gets all the goodies, starting with the powerful and responsive bi-turbo 3.0-litre V6 block that pumps out 333bhp and 480Nm of torque.
Paired with a smooth-shifting 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, the E400 delivers a polished ride that the three-pointed star brand is well-known for.
Aside from endowing the car with refinement, the direct injection engine is also punchy and responsive, allowing the E400 to accelerate from 0-100kph in 5.3 seconds.
If not for its electronically capped top speed of 250kph, the E400 can go much faster.
With this sort of performance, the E400 is also a very fast cruiser and can easily outgun any hot hatch or sports sedan on local roads.
Despite the adrenaline-pumping performance, this large sedan which is fitted with large 18-inch wheels, still promises a low fuel consumption of 7.9-7.5l/100km.
The suspension, with comfort settings tuned in, easily absorbs shocks and jolts from rough roads from reaching the passengers inside.
This makes the E400 an ideal luxury vehicle for long distance journeys and travelling over poorly maintained roads.
At high speeds, the E400 feels planted and wind noises are kept at bay with good aerodynamics and sound insulation materials.
The electric power steering, which comes with mechanical direct-steering, is effortless to use besides allowing for a quicker response.
Inside, a 17.8-cm high resolution screen which displays infotainment data and satellite navigation takes centrestage on a dashboard that evokes build quality.
Enhancing the plush and spacious interior are soft-touch materials, leather seats, and Black Ash wood and metallic inserts.
Those at the rear are not only pampered with their own air-conditioner vents with air speed and temperature controls but also two 20.3cm-colour monitors for AV entertainment.
Adding to this sedan’s feel-good environment are the sunroofs for front and rear passengers.
The car also comes with a rare feature - double sun visors - so those at the front can conveniently block out the sun at the windscreen and windows at the same time.
A unique but convenient item is a retractable tray in the boot which comes in handy for holding grocery bags in place within the deep trunk that can hold several golf bags.
Other safety features include a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive brake assist that helps to reduce rear-end collisions and the Attention Assist which detects the drowsiness level of the driver and advises him to take a break.
While the Surround View Camera allows the driver to see all four sides of the vehicle from the dashboard centre for easier parking manoeuvres, he can even have the E400 park itself by switching on the Active Parking Assist.
By melding hi-tech wizardry with performance and luxury, the E400 is a smart and elegant choice for the well-heeled.
The on-the-road without insurance but with GST price for the E400 is RM490,888.