German magazine Auto Bild reports that a superlight version of Mercedes’ current E-Class is in the works. Using carbon fiber structures, the lightweight E-Class is projected to be 350 kilos or 770 pounds lighter than the regular model. If your experience with carbon fiber is with body panels only, there’s no need to be apprehensive about the safety aspects of a lightweight E-Class. Properly designed carbon fiber can be more rigid than steel and of course, is much lighter. This is the reason the top classes of motorsports use this material extensively, and exotic car makers such as Lamborghini have started using carbon fiber structural components in its latest models.
Carbon structures in the E-Class will allow the removal of the B-pillar, which could pave the way for more radical designs, such as gullwing or sliding doors. The car’s lighter weight (projected at 1,300 kilos) will also benefit the car’s performance and handling, and will allow the use of much smaller engines for the fuel-sipping models. Scheduled for release in 2015, these superlight E-Classes will be produced in numbers of about 20,000 annually.