Is it ‘World’s Best’ or ‘world’s best’? Never mind about those capital letters, the terminology is the correct label for the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Yep the new E-class remains the ‘Big Kahuna’ of prestige mid-size sedans. Improved looks, improved engines, 11 new or improved safety technologies and price cuts across most models will do that.
In fact some of the developments introduced with the E-Class and now on-sale come from the updated Mercedes-Benz S-Class full-size sedan – which hasn’t been launched yet.
And how did all this come about? Mercedes-Benz listened to its customers – that’s how.
“The E-Class is the core of our brand,” explained Mercedes-Benz Australia chief Horst Von Sandon. “Our customers wanted more power, more aggression and more technology.”
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Overview
Freshened looks (the Avantgarde spec is now standard), more technology, prices down and no V8 (apart from the E63 AMG) – that’s the summary of the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
In the engine department, the E500 has gone, replaced by the all-new E 400 bi-turbo V6.
And there’s a hybrid – the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID with combined cycle fuel consumption of just 4.3l/100kms.
E 200, E220 CDI, E 250 and E 250 CDI are here now. The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID arrives next month and in September we’ll see the E 400 and E 63 AMG S.
This is the lineup:
E 200 $79,900
E 220 CDI $82,400
E 250 $96,400
E 250 CDI $98,900
E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID $108,900
E 400 $128,900
E 63 AMG S $249,900
E 200 $86,900
E 250 CDI $106,700
E 400 $136,700
According to ‘Benz, the E 250 CDI Estate represents $23,000 of extra value compared to the previous model, the E 400 is better value than the E 350 by $20,000 and even the E 200 sedan leaves buyers $7,000 better-off.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Engine
We’re going to twist the arms of Mercedes-Benz in September to secure a week in the new E 63 AMG S (the improved version of the model previously known as the Performance Package). For now let’s say with 430kW/800Nm the 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine accelerates the Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG S from zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.
Here’s how the rest of the powerplants compare:
E 400 3.0-litre V6 (petrol). 245kW/480Nm and fuel consumption of 7.6l/100kms.
E 250 (petrol). 155kW/350Nm and fuel consumption of 6.4l/100kms.
E 200 (petrol). 135kW/300Nm and fuel consumption of 6.4l/100kms.
E 220 CDI (diesel). 125kW/400Nm and fuel consumption of 4.9l/100kms.
Drive is to the rear wheels via a new version of the ‘Benz 7G-Tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (AMG Speedshift seven-speed for the E 63 AMG).
The E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid will also be the subject of a full Car Showroom review. This is a remarkable 2.1-litre diesel with an electric motor mounted between the engine and transmission (so the hallmark E-Class interior and boot remain unchanged in the hybrid version). Maximum power is 170kW and peak torque is 750Nm. With fuel consumption rated at 4.3l/100kms, ‘Benz says the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is the segment’s most fuel-efficient vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class The Interior
Noticeable changes as soon as you climb inside the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Most obvious is the two-part trim used on the dashboard, new design air vents and - between the two central vents - a new analogue clock.
Instruments are unchanged but the Avantgarde spec brings important improvements – two-tone colour schemes can be ordered for no extra cost, the upscale steering wheel as standard as is ‘Black Ashwood’ trim. There’s also new-design buttons and dials, new steering column-mounted gear lever, indicator and cruise control stalks, a new design centre console, Harman Kardon audio and three-colour ambient lighting.
Naturally trim levels alter across the model grades but the core is unchanged – multiple adjustments for the steering wheel and seat deliver an optimal driving position, there’s plenty of for-aft adjustment so even lanky drivers and passengers have plenty of legroom and rear seat passengers enjoy good comfort as well.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Exterior & Styling
Adoption of the ‘Avantgarde’ specification as standard is significant as there’s now no ‘three-pointed-star’ emblem on the bonnet. Yep, the large centre-grille mounted emblem is the only way you can buy an E-Class now.
And the latest E-Class adopts the ‘soft’ pedestrian-friendly front-end which also features the new-look one-piece LED headlights which cleverly still incorporate the hallmark E-Class four-lights.
New horizontally-structured rear LED lights with a two-tone look give a freshened, wider appearance to the rear.
Elsewhere the E-Class also adopts the sports pack as standard – side sills, 18-inch alloy wheels, a feature line for the rear three-quarter panels, drilled front brake discs and sports suspension.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class On The Road
Mercedes-Benz runs media launch programs like it designs cars – comprehensive, concise and precise. Not even Melbourne’s worst winter weather and the threat of a ‘Severe Weather Alert’ in the area we were driving got this program ‘off-message’.
So, despite the shocking conditions, in a day, Car Showroom sampled three of the latest E-Class sedans – entry-level E 200 (petrol) and E 250 (petrol) and the E 250 CDI (diesel). Yes the windscreen wipers, traction and stability control all work just fine thanks.
Bottom line is the E-Class is as good as ever – taut, German chassis, crisp turn-in, wonderful balance and sublime refinement. And, as usual, even the least powerful, entry-level E 200 delivers more than enough acceleration at both low and mid-range engine speeds so it’s at home in both the city and country in terms of acceleration.
The E 250 CDI was our favourite on the day thanks to its strong mid-range torque.
And we can’t wait to drive the E 400, E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID and E 63 AMG S.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Challenges
‘Excellent’, ‘elegant’ and ‘refined’ are all terms you could apply to the dashboard of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. ‘Cutting Edge’ and ‘Contemporary’ are terms you couldn’t apply. We don’t expect an all-new E-class for the best part of two years, but when it comes, we suspect it will follow the lead of the A-Class and head in a totally new, more futuristic direction.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Verdict
Motoring journalists don’t agree on much. But after the Mercedes-Benz E-Class media launch, a car-load of us were driving back to the airport and without exception we all said: “Yep this is the car I’d buy.”
We’ve said that since the launch of the current generation E-Class.
And, as we’ve said a number of times, the E 63 AMG is far-and-away the best high-performance sedan we’ve driven. Period.
Now the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class has arrived with new more fuel-efficient engines, more life-saving technology and prices down/better value. Nothing more to say really.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class The Competition
If you told us we couldn’t buy a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, our next choice would be the Audi A6. Priced from $77,900 to $114,000, the Audi does represent great buying but moreover presents the best of Audi’s Teutonic design outside and especially inside. The range-topping 3.0 TFSI with the 220kW/440Nm supercharged V6 and all-wheel-drive is stunner.
Our other favourite is the XF Jaguar. History will show the beautiful XJ is a breakout car for the British marque and some say the total package beats the best of Germany. The entry-level 2.2-litre turbo-diesel at $78,900 is great value and the supercharged V8 XFR is a genuine superstar to rival the E 63 AMG.
We love the look of the latest Lexus GS ($77,900 to $121,900) inside and out and its improved chassis dynamics means the Japanese mid-sizer takes it up to the Germans.
We’ve hardly seen the BMW 5 Series in the Car Showroom garage. The 520d we did test was competent enough but how the 535, 550 or M5 compare to their E-Class rivals which we have driven, we can’t say. The BMW 5 Series ranges from $77,900 t0 $230,000.