New For 2014The E250 and the E63 AMG S-Model are new additions to the family. All E-class sedans and wagons were treated to fairly extensive restyling for 2014, despite this being only the midpoint in the car's life cycle. The new front end dispenses with the previous four-headlight setup, and the odd sculpting around the wheels on the rear fenders is gone. All E-Class models have more available electronics, highlighted by the addition of a surround-view camera, automated parking assist, more intelligent automated braking functions for collision prevention and mitigation, and autonomous steering for the adaptive cruise control.
Vehicle SummaryThe E-Class is the heart and soul of Mercedes-Benz. This model has defined Mercedes-Benz in America since the middle of the last century. The mainstay Mercedes is available in a broad range of body styles and trim levels, with a model lineup that spans coupes, convertibles, sedans, and station wagons (the latter being one of the last of its ilk). The engine offerings cover more bandwidth than ever this year, from the new four-cylinder turbodiesel in the E250 BlueTec (BlueTec denoting diesel at Mercedes-Benz) to the E63 AMG, now available in an even more powerful S-Model. In between are the higher-volume six-cylinder E350 models (coupe, convertible, sedan, and wagon), the turbocharged V-8 E550 cars (coupe, convertible, and sedan), and the E400 hybrid sedan.
OverviewThe entry-level E-class is the new E250 BlueTec. Its four-cylinder turbodiesel should get much better fuel economy than the previous, six-cylinder BlueTec. The E250 is available as a sedan only, with either rear-wheel drive or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive. The most popular E-Class is still the E350, whose 3.5-liter V-6 makes 302 hp. Buyers who step up to the E550 get an additional 100 hp from a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8. In between the V-6 and the V-8 is the E400, a six-cylinder hybrid. The E250 and the E350 sedan/wagon are offered in either Sport or Luxury spec. Luxury is the standard trim; the Sport brings with it a firmer suspension, different wheels, restyled lower body trim, and a revised front-end treatment (a more rounded nose with the star inset in the grille, versus the Luxury version's more traditional upright chrome grille). The E400 Hybrid and the E550 are Sport only. The wagon, which comes standard with a rear-facing third-row seat (suitable for children only) sells in tiny volume but is beloved in old-money suburbs, particularly on the East Coast.
The E-Class is also available as a four-place coupe or convertible in E350 or E550 variants. Both can actually accommodate adults in the back seat, which is often not the case with two-doors. The coupe features dramatic pillarless design and is available with rear-wheel drive or 4Matic. It also has a standard panoramic glass sunroof. The Cabriolet has a traditional fabric top (which is our preference over retractable hardtops, which hog trunk space). The soft top is heavily insulated for noise and sound and comes in four colors. To cut down on buffeting during top-down driving, the windshield header pops up to deflect air; additionally, a power screen can be raised between the rear headrests.
The E63 AMG stands apart from other E-class models. Whereas other E-class cars are refined and relaxed, the E63 is muscular and menacing. Incredibly, its 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 is more muscular for 2014, with output increasing to 550 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. Not enough? Then you'll want to know about the new S-Model, which bumps those figures to 577 hp and 590 lb-ft; it also increases the all-important top speed from 155 mph to 186 mph (electronically limited). All E63 AMG models switch from rear-wheel drive to a special high-performance version of the Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. It sends two-thirds of the power to the rear wheels to maintain that rear-biased handling balance while still maximizing grip. As before, the E63 is available as both a sedan and a wagon -- the latter offering the ultimate in performance and exclusivity.
- Broad model range
- Luxurious ease of use
- Heart-stopping performance (E63 AMG)
You won't like:
- High price
- Somewhat remote driving experience
- Looks that are more imposing than beautiful
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