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2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic: Around the Block

Jake HolmeswriterSandon Voelkerphotographer

It's no secret that turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines are in vogue, while V-8s have become the enemy of all that is green. We readily accept that boosted engines can provide more power with less fuel consumption, yet there are still times when we appreciate having a V-8 under the hood, such as while piloting the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic.

There is nothing wrong with the pleasant demeanor with which the 195-hp four-cylinder diesel in the E250 BlueTec goes down the road. The 302-hp V-6 in the E350 runs up to highway speeds just fine. Yet dipping into the throttle of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 and feeling the 402-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 immediately deliver a wave of torque through the seven-speed automatic transmission reminds us why we love big engines.

Around town, the V-8's low-end grunt lets the car slip away from a stop in second gear and deftly upshift way before 2500 rpm. Such relaxed power delivery befits a car we refer to as an "executive sedan." Leave the surging turbos to the CLA- and C-Class. With a V-8 on tap and second-gear starts, you glide from one stoplight to another without making the heads of your passengers wobble. Isn't that what luxury cars are all about?

The V-8 wins us over for another reason come Monday morning. Select Sport mode to force the transmission into first gear and blast away from crossovers at intersections with Mustang GT-like aggression. On the highway, the car's plentiful torque makes passing dawdlers easy. Simply lay into the throttle when a gap opens and the car will quickly build 10 mph without even dropping from its tall seventh gear.

Paying for the V-8 engine makes no sense when you see the extra cost and fuel consumption of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic. No one save F1 racer Lewis Hamilton will really find the E250 and E350 too slothful. But buying a luxury sedan isn't about financial decisions. We want the Mercedes E-Class because it's a wonderful, capable sedan that makes every drive easier. Fitting such a car with a V-8 only makes sense.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic

  • Base price $62,325
  • Price as tested $77,845
  • Engine 4.7L V-8, 402 hp, 443 lb-ft
  • Transmission 7-speed automatic
  • Drive 4-wheel
  • Fuel Economy 16/26 mpg (city/hwy)
  • Cargo Capacity 16.4 cubic feet