Do you know that Mercedes-Benz has offered all generations of the E-Class in India. No, the E-Class is not just a mere 19-year old model, it’s much older but the E-Class nameplate was first used on the W124 which was officially launched in India when the German automaker entered the sub-continent in 1994. The E-Class is Mercedes-Benz’ most popular model in India which is the reason why the company has been very quick in getting the updated vehicle to our shores. The facelift to the current generation E-Class (W212) is not superficial and there is more than what meet’s the eye. With competition getting intense in the executive segment, is the 2014 Mercedes E-Class facelift the right weapon for the Stuttgart based manufacturer to keep its best seller on the top?
EXTERIORS AND STYLE
There has been a growing trend among the German car makers to abide by a family look and this E-Class (even in its LWB form) is very good example of this thought process. It picks up much of its looks from Merc’s flagship S-Class which is not a bad thing at all as nothing speaks presence and luxury like an S-Class. That being said, there is hardly anything to separate this E-Class 220d from its bigger sibling the E350d.
The face is dominated by the snake-like split head lamps and double slat chrome grille while the side gets a forward sloping sporty roofline, blacked out pillars and proportionate overhangs to give the car a complete look. This car gets a different design and more traditional five-spoke design for the alloy wheels as compared to the 350d. Finally, at the rear you get the distinctive LED wrap around tail lamps and chrome tips for the exhausts. Given the cars lengthy proportion, a shade like white makes it quite discreet and hides most of the lines of the car.
INTERIORS AND COMFORT
Once you step inside, the design for the dashboard, the incredible amount of space, the beautiful cushioning for the seats and the quality of materials make you wonder whether you are in the E-Class or the S-Class! Like on the S-Class the E-Class has a dashboard design that wraps onto the doors; there’s open-pore (or, un-lacquered) wood, and a large 12.3” infotainment system with a touch pad for the COMAND (Mercedes’ infotainment system) system.The seats are beautifully cushioned and shaped, and motorised functions include an extendable seat base and memory functions too.
The highlight, though, is the backseat. The rear bench is split into two reclinable seats. The electric adjust allows you to alter the headrest and at the click of a button you can control the front passenger seat too.On the whole Mercedes claim that you have 50% more legroom than before, and it feels that way too. With the front seat pushed away even 6 footers will be able to lounge comfortably. The seats also hold you well and have just the right kind of cushioning to keep you comfortable no matter how far you have to travel. However, there are a few aspects that the E-Class could do better. The use of Artico leather instead of genuine leather will bother some customers, as will the lack of soft door close functionality and infotainment controls at the rear.
The E-Class is offered with a panoramic sunroof as standard, with power controls for the sunshade as well. The Chauffeur Package, which allows you to adjust the front passenger seat, is standard too. You get motorised sunblinds for both rear windows and the rear windscreen. The small metal knobs twist with a solid feel as you close the airflow from the air-vents, the click from the roller that controls audio volume, and the rear armrest that folds out gently give you an idea of the quality and craftsmanship involved in making this car. The E-Class is also very good at cutting out the noise from outside and along with a smooth and quiet engine you feel almost as though you are sitting on some remote and lonely hillside. Technology & Equipment
The E-Class doesn’t get the full TFT display like the S-Class. While the central display is the same 12.3” unit from the S, the driver’s cluster is a combination of analogue and digital instruments. Nonetheless it looks plenty smart and can show tools such as navigation guidance on the driver’s cluster. While the infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the lack of a touchscreen reduces the ease of use. You can control the MB infotainment system through the scroll wheel, the touchpad (on which you can pinch and zoom), or swipe and flick your fingers using the touch pads on the steering wheel. But the variety of input options feels all the more confusing as the system doesn’t feel very intuitive to use. The Burmester sound system offered on the diesel provides clear and crisp audio.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The only available engine for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 sedan is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels on standard models, while 4Matic models feature all-wheel drive.In Edmunds testing, an E300 sedan accelerated to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, which is slightly slower than average among competing midsize luxury sedans. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway) for the rear-drive model and 24 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) for the 4Matic. These figures also trail the competition by a few mpg.
The E400 wagon and AMG E43 sedan both have a turbocharged V6 engine and standard all-wheel drive. In the wagon, the engine produces 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The E43 upgrades to 396 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. As with the four-cylinder, gear changing is handled by a nine-speed automatic.The E400 coupe and convertible are powered by the wagon’s 3.0-liter V6 engine (329 hp and 354 lb-ft) but have a seven-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. 4Matic is available as an option for the coupe only.
Finally, the E550 coupe and convertible get a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 that makes 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes estimates it will reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Mercedes has somehow managed to create something soothingly familiar while comprehensively rearranging the goalposts. The 220d majors on rolling comfort, with a supple ride and fluent body control; this is not a car you corner on its doorhandles, although it doesn’t lack agility. The four-pot diesel is a bit vocal during start-up and at low speeds, but impressively hushed at motorway speeds.
The 220d runs steel springs and passive damping as standard; Dynamic Body Control is an option, as is air suspension. Elsewhere on the vast options list you’ll find Drive Pilot, which marries the car’s adaptive cruise control with active steering to serve up the most authentic self-driving experience so far. Merc wants to be the industry leader with this autonomous tech and will no doubt succeed: we’d say it’s a work-in-progress.
Much like any modern Mercedes-Benz sedan, the E-Class is packed with air bags all over the place, as well as numerous driver assistance systems, many of which are new in this segment. Arguably the most impressive feature is the Drive Pilot, which can enable the E-Class to follow the car in front at speeds of up to 130 mph. The systems uses automatic braking and accelerating, as well as the Steering Pilot to handle moderate bends. There’s also a Speed Limit Pilot function that can automatically adjust the car’s speed according to on-the-road speed limits detected by a camera. These feature are part of the optional Driver Assistance Package Plus.
Other driver assistance systems include Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, and Remote Parking Pilot. The latter allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of garages and parking spaces remotely using a smartphone app.
The E220d is an E-Class with all the looks, badging and most of the comfort. But is priced at least Rs 10 lakhs lesser than its V6 engined sibling and is, in essence, a mid-level variant in that range. In its current guise, the car is big step-up from its predecessor, making it good value for money while its selling point is, of course, the extra space at the back. It competes in the mid-size premium sedan segment with the Volvo S90, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF and the Audi A6