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Mercedes-Benz’ all-new 2010 E-Class may represent a significant step up from the current car, but it will not be priced as such when it rolls into dealers next month. Despite offering a number of new features, the 2010 model will list for $4,600 less than the current car.

For 2010, the new luxury sedan has been completely redesigned to match the German automaker’s latest styling language. In addition to an all-new interior and exterior, the E-Class packs a number of new or improved high-tech features, as is typical of Mercedes-Benz.

But despite these improvements, the the base E350 model will list from $49,475 — $4,600 less than the E350’s current price of $54,075. The V8-powered E550 will also see a significant price reduction, listing for $5,400 under the current model at $57,175. All prices include destination.

The sedan’s all-new body doesn’t just look different, it also yields a number of functional improvements. Aerodynamics were a big focus of the redesign, and Mercedes was able to achieve a drag coefficient of only 0.25, making the car the most aerodynamic luxury sedan, the company claims. Moreover, the new body is 30 percent stiffer, resulting in more precise handling.

Engine performance and fuel economy has been improved, starting from the base model up. The E 250 CDI diesel, with 204 horsepower and 369 pound-feet, develops 25 percent more torque than the previous V6 diesel engine, but uses around 23 percent less fuel. Fuel economy is estimated at 44 mpg. The new four-cylinder diesel also powers the E 220 CDI with 170 hp and the E 200 CDI with 136 hp, but neither of those are expected to make it to America.

The top-of-the-line diesel — which will be offered in the United States — is the six-cylinder E 350 CDI with an output of 241 horsepower. Starting in late 2009, the V6 diesel will also be available as a BlueTEC, developing 211 horsepower and meeting EU6 exhaust emission standards planned for 2014. All the other engine variants in the new E-Class meet the EU5 limits.

On the gasoline side, there is a selection of direct-injection I4 and V6 motors, plus V8 offerings common to most Mercedes models. The four-cylinder E 200 CGI delivers 184 horsepower from 1.8 liters of displacement, with fuel economy of 35 mpg. The E 250 CGI bumps that figure up to 204 horsepower, while still offering 32 mpg.

As before, the E 350 CGI offers 292 horsepower, while the V8 E 500 cranks out 388 hp. V6 and V8 models will be offered with all-wheel-drive. The new high-performance E63 AMG will offer 525 horsepower, plus a number of chassis and handling improvements.

High-tech features include: Attention Assist, which detects driver drowsiness based on 70 parameters; Adaptive Main Beam Assist, which adjusts the angle of the headlight for the best possible illumination without blinding other motorists; LED daytime driving lights, which use less power and enhance aesthetics; Blind Spot Assist familiar from the S-Class; and Lane Keeping Assist, which uses vibrations in the steering wheel to inform the driver if they’re veering out of their lane. An optional Speed Limit Assist , which recognizes speed limit signs as the car passes them, then displays the relevant speed limit in the speedometer.

As with other Mercedes models, Brake Assist Plus automatically calculates the braking pressure to prevent a collision in critical situations. When the brake pedal is depressed, the system immediately activates the calculated level of braking assistance. If the driver fails to respond to the warnings, the radar system first initiates partial braking, and if a collision is unavoidable, emergency braking is initiated.

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