Meet Mercedes’s bread-and-butter car, the E-Class, the brand’s highest selling car in India and across the world. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Mercedes gave its ageing model an upgrade so intense (with 2,000 new parts) that some even want to term the car as all-new. But, of course, it isn’t.
What it is, though, is a much nicer and younger looking E-Class. We love the new curvaceous and aggressive looking front bumper, the new alloy wheels, the new headlamps. The bonnet has been re-profiled, with a more in-your-face grille. The tail lamp and the rear bumper are new, as are the chrome lined dual tail pipes. The interiors design hasn’t changed much. And that’s not a bad thing. The E always had a subtle but elegantly executed and fantastically put-together interior.
The clocks have changed, so has the central screen. The Comand (Cockpit Management and Navigation Device) system has been upgraded, and incorporates satellite navigation and a DVD player. The equipment list is as comprehensive as ever. The top-of-the-line gets Park Assist, which helps the driver locate a suitable parking spot and guides him into the space.
The diesel E250 CDI, with a 2.1-litre engine, 204 PS and four cylinders will be the range topper among diesels. This engine is not the most refined or smooth in its class, and although you can’t hear much of it inside the clatter is audible on the outside.
The 250 CDI mated to the seven-speed torque convertor automatic is no scorcher. It takes 8.5 seconds from 0 to 100 kmph, while the quarter mile is achieved in 16.1 seconds. The top speed is a claimed 242 kmph. This gearbox is slow to respond. But 6.5 seconds for the 40 to 100 kmph is quite respectable.
The steering is light and cold. The car isn’t very happy or alert to go dancing around corners. It rolls, and if the corner is bumpy there’s a fair bit of wallowing. Being a rear-wheel drive, you’d think it would be happy to oversteer, but it doesn’t; its first reaction to any steering input is to understeer. The power delivery is smooth. It rides well, especially at higher speeds. The technology used for damping certainly deserves mention.
The upgraded E-Class looks younger and more aggressive, but retains virtues like the well built, well spec-ed, spacious and luxurious cabin.