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DETROIT -- Variants of the redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan, including a plug-in hybrid, will begin rolling out in U.S. showrooms next year.

The redesigned 2017 E class will go on sale in the U.S. early this summer with the E300 as the debut model. It has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine producing 241 hp. It will be the first four-cylinder gasoline E class sold in the U.S.

"Later on, we'll have the bigger engines," said Michael Kelz, chief engineer for the E class.

The E450, powered by a V-6 engine, will follow, Kelz said, but its U.S. on-sale date is undetermined. Plug-in hybrid, diesel and AMG performance versions also are expected. The diesel and plug-in hybrid models will go on sale in Europe, but not in the U.S., this calendar year, Kelz said. Wagon, coupe and convertible body styles also are planned.

Mercedes has high hopes for the E-class plug-in hybrid. It is one of 10 plug-in hybrids the automaker plans to have on the market by sometime in 2017.

"The plug-in hybrid share is growing, and it's growing rapidly, especially in markets with CO2 legislation that promotes this," said Ola Kaellenius, Daimler AG board member in charge of Mercedes sales and marketing. "It's the most efficient way of going around town in an E class, so we think this is something that's going to grow."

It's too early to project what percentage of the E class mix will be represented by the plug-in hybrid, he said. But he noted that plug-in hybrids are in the single-digit percentage in some other Mercedes-Benz nameplates and are expected to grow into double-digit percentages.

Said Kaellenius: "It looks promising."
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