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German luxury carmaker Mercedes Benz has aggressive planning to push the volume models in the Indian market with a special eye on smaller cities and towns. After all, it is expecting that in the next few years, India will be one among its top ten global markets. The luxury models like A Class and B Class have fetched this company some instant success and now, with the launch of its flagship E Class sedan, it is ready to take on Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series. It has already sold over 11 million units worldwide and has made a similar success story in the Indian market that foretells that, if the company follows the same trail, soon it will be reigning over the mid-size luxury sedan segment.
Mercedes-Benz' E-Class collection combines all three - brand, performance and a highly innovative technology - in an attractive mid-sized package. It is available in wagon, coupe and convertible body types, along with Hybrid E400 and E63 AMG derivatives. It is expected that in near future, an ultra-efficient four-cylinder turbo-diesel model will also be added to this line-up.
The formal roofline and a three-box sedan shape continue to be the same with some cosmetic changes done to give it a more stylish and an eye-catching look. Instead of quad headlights, which are fitted in every E Class since W210, these mid-life face-lifted models adorn a single-piece unit with an elegant look.
There have been changes done to the rear end to bring a simple yet attractive look. Two different front ends are offered - the old-school luxury model has an elegant three-slat grille with a Mercedes emblem mounted on the hood, and the sport variant that has a two-slat unit with an enlarged badge fitted in the centre. This central emblem provides the desired sporty and sturdy look.
Along with a redesigned dashboard, this class also features a new multi-function steering wheel with gearshift paddles and better central console. Its cutting-edge technology along with the new design leaves the driver with no option but to enjoy the ride.
170bhp E220CDI, 204bhp E250CDI and 231bhp E350 CDI, have been provided with Merc's environment-friendly BlueEfficiency technology, to enable these engines to provide a good fuel economy that is, 53.3/52.3/41.5mpg respectively. This does not mean that performance or CO2 outputs have been compromised at any level. Some other figures observed are 21mpg in city and 30mpg on highway, in case of E350, 21mpg in city and 29mpg on highway for E350 4MATIC, and 17mpg in city and 26mpg on highway for E550. Not to forget, the non-BlueEfficiency, non-PC, old-school E500 V8 petrol engine that gives a 0-62mph in just over 5secs, and provides 8mpg instead of the Mercedes-approved 25.9mpg, if you drive carelessly.
Power Generation and Acceleration:
The E-Class sedan can be bought in E350 or E550 forms. The E350 uses a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine which produces a horsepower of 302 and a top torque of 273 lb-ft, whereas the E550 comes shipped with twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine delivering a horsepower of 402, and a maximum torque of 443 lb-ft. Both engines support a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission.
The two small diesel engines provide an acceleration of 62mph in 8.8 and 7.8seconds whereas the hefty V6 in the E350 CDI makes it possible to reach 62mph in just 6.9 seconds. Some more pairs are E200 CGI with 184bhp gets to 62mph in 8.6seconds, E250 CGI with 204bhp can hit 62mph in 7.8seconds, and E350 CGI with 292bhp reaches 62mph in 6.8 seconds. It is also observed that E350 CGI gives 33mpg while E350 CDI gives 41mpg but let us not oversee the 0.1second difference in their 0-62mph times.
Overall, there is no engine in this class which can be titled as 'useless/bad/not up to the mark' but, if you are planning for hilly paths, the base versions of 4-cylinder models can give a you a little struggle in terms of power generation and acceleration.
External Appearance and Dimensions:
There are mostly exterior changes done in this class to give it an eye-catching and, at the same time, an elegant look. The royal roofline and a conventional three-box sedan shape are kept the same. To provide flexibility to the buyers, there are two front ends available: first, the old-school luxury model with a three-pointed star protruding from its hood and second, a sporty variant with two-slat unit and Mercedes logo fitted in the centre. This AVANTGARDE equipment line gives a very sporty look to the front end. The swept-back bonnet and front bumper are also redesigned in order to have a sleek and straightforward look. This redesigned bumper is free of all the light functions, and has soft contour lines and shape. The headlamps are also newly designed and consist of all functional elements with a single headlamp lens. Nevertheless, the "four-eyed" look of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is graphically maintained with an extra option of providing full LED headlamps.
The side looks are such altered that this new Mercedes-Benz E-Class seems visibly stretched. The three-dimensional side trim is repositioned which makes the greenhouse look flatter and gives more dynamic proportions. In all the models, the roof-rails are chrome plated and the hardware used for mounting has a fine black finishing. The redesigned taillights have a two-tone look and focus on width. In case of Estate, a third brake light is fitted into the tailgate spoiler above the rear window, and its number plate illumination system forms a part of the LED technology. The basic version comes with wheels measuring 40.6cm and the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE lines are fitted with 43.2cm wheels. The AMG sports version comes with AMG light-alloy wheels measuring 45.7cm while wheels measuring 48.3cm are also available as an option.
Interiors and Comfort Functions:
The very first notable change is the two-part trim dashboard that spreads over the entire width of the interior. Some intriguing and highly appealing interior colours include silk beige, espresso brown, crystal grey, porcelain or the very new aluminium version with textured grain. The central console and the instrument cluster are some other eye-catching features. The instrument cluster has black back plates in case of Elegance and silver back plates in case of Avant-garde. The dashboard is adorned with an analogue clock that fits right in the middle of the two central air vents.
Moreover, the redesigning of the controls beneath the head unit enhances the high-class feel of the interior of Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It has 4 variants of the multifunction steering wheel such as the standard and Elegance features a 4-spoke multifunction wheel with a finished nappa leather and two silver-chrome inserts, the Avant-garde offers a sporty 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with nappa leather and perforated inserts, 12 trapezoid buttons and 2 silver-chrome inserts on the lower spoke. In addition, the AMG Sports package consists of a 3-spoke AMG sport steering wheel with nappa leather, perforated inserts, flattened bottom section, 12 trapezoid buttons and 2 silver-chrome inserts on the lower spoke. A wood/leather multifunction steering wheel is left as an option for other model variants.
The driver's and the front passenger seats are provided with the feature of being electrically adjusted for height, backrest angle and seat cushion angle. In addition, the Multicontour Seat Package for front passengers provides some more individual adjustment option.
The generous rear seats provide a space for three occupants in form of a bench seat with three rear headrests, an armrest and twin cup-holders. Also available are the heated seats for rear and front passengers, which can be adjusted via a controller and the head unit display. Some other features are the storage boxes beneath front seats, lightening under the dashboard trim and the four door trim strips, automatic dimming inside rear-view mirror, foot well lightening and the centre headrest in the rear can be lowered with a button provided in the centre console control panel. In addition to this, the Avant-garde line is equipped with Direct Control suspension. Overall, every feature added or reformed in this class provides a lavish and a royal look to the passengers.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is offered in two engine options - petrol and diesel. The E200, petrol variant, offers a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine that produces a power of 184bhp at 5500rpm and a top torque of 300Nm. The E250 CDI, the diesel variant, comes packed with 2.1-litre, 4-cylinder engine that delivers a power of 204bhp at 4200Nm and provides a top torque of 500Nm. All these engines are fitted with the same sophisticated technology as used in their six-cylinder engines.
E200 and E250, both the 4-cylinder petrol engines meet the future EU6 standards.
For the first time, the six-cylinder petrol engines provided in E300 and E400 are fitted with biturbo drive. The four-cylinder diesel engines in E200, E220 CDI, and E250 CDI feature the latest injection technology at such an affordable price. Same is the case with E300 BlueTEC HYBRID that is the most economical luxury-class car providing a 4-cylinder diesel engine and a 20kW electric motor under the bonnet. The V6 Diesel engines in E 300 BlueTEC and E 350 BlueTEC are now provided with environmentally friendly BlueTEC technology that enables it to attain such good fuel economy with no compromise done on CO2 output or performance.
A car of such high stature and reputation must have, certainly, kept passenger safety on priority while designing. All the models are equipped with Collision Prevention Assist that uses radar to analyse whether the car is in danger to collide with other objects or not, a radar-based collision warning system with brake assist systems. The Attention Assist warns the driver about the inattentiveness and drowsiness, thus preventing some major mishaps. Some other safety-focused kits are the Lane Tracking Package which includes Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist, and the Driver Assistance Package which includes Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane keeping Assist, an active cruise control system with steering assist and Pre-Safe with Cross-Traffic assist.
The Distronic Plus proximity control system allows the driver to maintain a desired distance from the vehicle in front that is travelling at some odd speed. Any speed between 30 km/h to 200 km/h can be selected as the desired speed and a green steering wheel symbol appears on the instrument cluster just to intimate that the Distronic Plus control system is now activated.
The Active Lane Keeping Assist warns the driver if the car is getting off the lane or is getting into an adjacent lane. It can actually steer the car to prevent the collision of the driver has, accidentally, started to merge into a vehicle. The Pre-Safe Brake detects the collisions and can apply 100 percent of the E-Class' braking force to avoid some severe crash. The major introduction in safety features is the use of Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera that is positioned behind the windscreen near the rear-view mirror. It keeps track of the position of the vehicles/objects moving ahead of this car. Along with this, it also keeps a look at the pedestrians and calculates the path. This position allows it to have a 3-D view of up to 50 metres in front of the vehicle and in an overall situation, is able to monitor up to 500 metres. Artificial Intelligence implemented is far capable to evaluate all the data received like the positioning of the vehicle in front or some oncoming or crossing object or traffic signs within large field of vision.
Advantages: Eye-catching exterior looks, cutting-edge technology implemented in every new feature introduced, best safety options for the occupants and a mid-size package.
Disadvantages: Though this class is introduced by removing almost all the drawbacks of the previous models like the Pneumo-suspension of w211, the buyers can see fuel economy and the price as pit holes.