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NEW FACE AND MORE CONTENT IN SLIGHTLY MORE EXPENSIVE E-CLASS

Going into the third Millennium, Mercedes-Benz has upgraded its E-class mid-range line of sedans and raised their prices by less than one percent.

A fresh face on the $67,150 (for the E320 sedan) to $98,900 (for the E55 AMG sports sedan) line of cars is what most people will notice first. But officials at the company's Canadian headquarters in Toronto are quick to add that hundreds of revisions and changes to the E-class body and mechanical parts and the interior have also been carried out.

Also, more equipment has been made standard, much of it safety-oriented.

The general front appearance will be familiar, though it has been revised to more closely resemble the look of the sporty CLK coupe and the front fenders have been reshaped to lower the headlights at a "sleeker" angle.

In profile, E-class has "crisper" rocker panels, body-color side skirts, and door handles. Side-view mirrors incorporate turn signal repeaters, and the taillights are revised with a new configuration and a high-gloss finish.

The rear panel under the rear bumper has been updated, and both front and rear bumpers themselves are now more fully integrated with the body.

Mercedes says the significant interior changes to the instruments, steering wheel, console and general trim were not done for change's sake, but to improve function and feel and bring a higher-quality appearance. Even the thickness of the headliner has been altered for better sound absorption and appearance.