Mercedes-Benz marks this year’s New York International Automobile Show with the introduction of a restyled E-Class sedan that benefits from the brand’s stable of advanced engines.

The ’07 E-Class, due in U.S. showrooms a few weeks after its June arrival on European dealer lots, features a more aggressive front bumper and lower air dam to complement its restyled grille, headlights, rear bumper and taillights. The car’s side mirrors also have a new aerodynamic shape.

Interior changes include a 4-spoke steering wheel, redesigned shift lever and revised climate control layout – all bathed in new color schemes. New to the standard equipment list is a sunroof, 6-CD changer and a Harman/Kardon Logic 7™ premium audio system.

The wagon model also features a power tailgate.

The E350 reprises the 3.5L V-6 offered in the previous model, while the E500 will be replaced by the E550 and its 32-valve, 5.5L V-8 that generates 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. (530 Nm) of torque.

Meanwhile, the E63 AMG features the same 6.3L V-8 that bowed in the ML63 and R63 concept at the Chicago Auto Show. The engine, which is unique to AMG and the first powerplant developed entirely by the tri-star brand’s high-performance unit, produces 503 hp and 465 lb-ft. (630 Nm) of torque.

And to coincide with the mandated rollout of low-sulfur diesel fuel this fall, Mercedes introduces its newest turbodiesel engine as the E320 Bluetec, which succeeds the E320 CDI. Bluetec technology is distinguished by a 4-valve-per-cylinder design with centrally located piezo-electric injectors, third-generation CDI direction injection, a turbocharger with variable nozzle turbine and exhaust gas recirculation.

“The availability of very low-sulfur fuel enables the use of reliable particulate filters and efficient nitrogen-oxide after-treatment,” the auto maker says in a statement.

The E320 Bluetec uses three exhaust stream after-treatment units – an oxidizing catalytic converter, a particulate filter and a temporary storage converter that absorbs nitrogen oxides.

“During brief regeneration pulses of a richer fuel-air mixture, nitrogen oxides are released, reacting with other exhaust gas to form harmless nitrogen.” Mercedes says. “Regeneration pulses also raise temperatures in the particulate filter, which burns off the accumulated deposits.”

The new E-Class also features the brand’s PRE-SAFE system that integrates electric seatbelt tensioners with pyrotechnic tensioners as part of a 2-phase impact mitigation strategy. And if the front passenger seat is reclined or too low, PRE-SAFE automatically adjusts it for optimal crash position when it senses dangerous conditions such as skidding or a sudden, evasive maneuver.

“One of the key features of the new-generation E-Class is its outstanding safety level – it is clearly the safest vehicle in the upper-range segment,” claims Klaus Maier, executive vice president-Mercedes Car Group.

Through March, E-Class sales are 3% shy of first-quarter 2005 levels, according to Ward's data. Full-year 2005 results saw E-Class deliveries decline 14.5%, compared with 2004.

emayne@wardsauto.com