First Drive Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class | Catalog-cars

First Drive Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class

27 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Glenn Butler

2013 Mercedes-Benz E-class

2013 Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan

With the arrival of the new#160; Mercedes-Benz #160;E-class this week, we’re one step closer to the driverless car.

The E-class includes various active driving systems which can accelerate and brake and even steer the car . which Benz says is all about making driving safer and less fatiguing. But the car cannot totally drive itself, not yet at least – the driver must still hold on to the steering wheel.#160;

The E-class is one of the first cars on sale in Australia (closely following the launch of#160; the updated Honda Accord ) that can steer itself.

Previous systems from Benz and other carmakers prompted the driver to make steering corrections should the car stray from the lane, either by vibrating the wheel or making a sound. Some systems even gave a gentle push in the right direction to get you started. The Benz system goes one step further, steering for you.#160;#160;

This Active Drive system worked well during#160;Drive’s#160;firsthand test on a 10km-stretch of Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway this week. It provided gentle directional adjustments, keeping the E-class centred in the lane even though it was sometimes hard to see through the rain and spray from cars ahead. The system only failed once when standing water completely obscured lane markings.#160;

This self-steering system will not maintain lane position in anything more than a gentle bend, and is never so forceful that the driver cannot easily override it with their own steering inputs #8212; when swerving out of a lane to avoid a cyclist, for example. The system is also cut if the indicators are activated.

Self-steering is just one of many active driving features available on the new Mercedes-Benz E-class as part of a significant mid-life update for Benz’s middle child. The car can also brake itself to a complete stop to avoid a collision with other cars and pedestrians, and can now also park itself.

All of these features are standard on all sedan and wagon models except the entry-level petrol E200 and diesel E220. Prices are up between $90 and $9,000 depending on the variant, but Benz claims these increases are more than offset by improvements to equipment levels, performance and economy.#160;

Styling changes to the new E-class loosely follow the theme debuted by the A-class earlier this year, and are designed to give the E more visual presence. The previous model’s sports bodykit is now standard on the base-model E200, as are 18-inch alloy wheels.#160;

The E-class’s interior has also been modernised, though the changes aren’t dramatic. One big difference, however, is the standard fitment of three rear-facing seats in all wagon models. Mercedes-Benz was keen to keep a seven-seater option in its passenger car range after the recent demise of the R-class.

The new E-class range kicks off with the E200 sedan at $79,990, just $90 more than before. It’s powered by a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 135kW – 10kW more than before. Peak torque remains the same at 270Nm, though it’s now available from 1200rpm to 4000rpm. It’s not an particularly powerful engine to drive, but is smooth and refined in its delivery, and the seven-speed automatic transmission drops gears quickly to help acceleration.

The E200’s 6.4-litre/100km fuel economy rating also puts it below the luxury tax threshold.

This engine is also in the new E250 sedan and wagon, though in a stronger 155kW/350Nm tune, up 5kW and 40Nm on the old E250. The extra grunt doesn’t radically transform the driving experience, but it is noticeably more willing in response to the accelerator. It also makes for a more relaxed drive because the extra torque means the transmission doesn’t need to change down as often.

Surprisingly, this stronger engine tune has no impact on fuel consumption according to official fuel figures provided by Benz. The E250 carries the same 6.4L/100km rating as the E200.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The $96,400 E250 comes standard with all the Intelligent Drive systems (pedestrian avoidance, self-steering, self-parking), which Benz believes will make it the most popular model with consumers.

A close second will be the E250 CDI turbodiesel which carries over the previous generation’s 2.1-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. This 150kW/500Nm engine is a real sweetie to drive; effortless, enthusiastic and surprisingly quiet, yet its fuel consumption rating of 4.9-litres/100km is not the best in the new E-class range.#160;

That honour belongs to the new E300 Bluetech Hybrid, Australia’s first diesel-electric passenger car. It wasn’t so long ago that getting 1,000km out of a tank of fuel was impressive. The E300 Hybrid raises that benchmark to 1,850km from its 80-litre tank.#160;

It combines the 2.1-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine with an electric motor and battery pack to achieve a fuel economy rating of 4.3-litres/100km on the combined city/country cycle. Even better, says Benz, the hybrid components which add 70kg to the vehicle’s mass all package around and under the drivetrain, so there’s no adverse impact on boot space like BMW’s system, for example.#160;

The E300 Hybrid was not available to drive at the launch. It will carry a $108,900 price tag when it arrives in July.

Also unavailable for test was the E400 that replaces both the V6-powered E350 and V8-powered E500. The E400 introduces an all-new twin-turbocharged V6 engine from Mercedes-Benz, with 245kW and 480Nm. It’s capable of hitting 100km/h from rest in 5.3 seconds, just one-tenth slower than the 300kW/600Nm E500 it replaces.#160;

There’s good news for AMG fans, too, with Mercedes-Benz making the 20kW power Performance Pack option standard on the#160; new E63 AMG . This means it’ll have 430kW, exactly#160; the same as the HSV GTS unveiled earlier this month .

The E63 gets all the safety and driver assistance updates and a price of $249,900, $9k more than the old E63 but roughly $8,500 less than the old ‘performance pack’ version. The E63 AMG is due in September.

Poll: Do you trust a computer to help you drive?

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

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