NEW YORK – A safer, stronger and more-powerful generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class premiers at the New York International Auto Show here.

“It’s the best E-Class we’ve ever produced,” says Michael Kramer, vice president of program management for E- and C-Class cars.

Mercedes has sold 10 million E-Class cars worldwide since 1946 and more than 1 million since 2002. That includes 860,000 sedans and 140,000 wagons. The ’07 model is scheduled to go on sale here in October.

The car will be available in three models: An E350 with a carryover V-6 engine that generates 268 hp and 258 lb.-ft. (350Nm) of torque is the entry-level model.

The E500 has been replaced with the E550 that comes with a 32-valve V-8 rated at 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. (530 Nm) of torque, and a new E63 AMG model replaces the E55 AMG.

This model has a 6.3L naturally aspirated V-8 that is built almost entirely of high-strength silicon-aluminum alloy. The engine generates 503 hp and 465 lb.-ft. (630 Nm) of torque and is the first engine totally developed by AMG through racing.

For ’07, the E320 Bluetec, which has a new 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel engine with four valves per cylinder and third-generation CDI direct-injection technology, will replace the E320 CDI.

This engine must be used with ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel that goes on sale in the U.S. this fall. Kramer says the new diesel is the cleanest E-Class ever.

Bluetec has three after-treatment components in the exhaust, including an oxidizing catalytic converter; particulate filter; and what Mercedes calls a “denox” storage converter.

At a later date, Mercedes plans to use an AdBlue injection module to spray tiny quantities of urea into the exhaust to convert NOX to environmentally benign nitrogen. The system is not yet approved by the EPA.

There are 7 gallons (25L) of the urea solution stored in a reservoir that must be replenished every 15,000 to 20,000 miles (24,140 to 32,186 km). The turbodiesel generates 210 hp and 382 lb.-ft. (518 Nm) of torque. The E320 Bluetec will be sold in only 45 states.

Mercedes is hopeful it can sell 20% to 30% more units of its new diesel car in the U.S. than the approximate 4,000 CDI E-Class vehicles sold last year.

The new E-Class styling cues include a V-shaped grille and front bumper. There also are new mirrors and taillights. Front intelligent headlights are optimized for long-range freeway driving, and there are new cornering lights.

The ’07 models also will be equipped with a Pre-Safe system that debuted on the S-Class. Pre-Safe is designed to sense and take protective action before a crash occurs.