Is the Mercedes E-Class Still Top Of The Class?

When it comes to Mercedes, there are a few things, in particular, you expect of the brand. You want a car that has real presence and caters to your every want for safety, connectivity, and a smooth drive. In the executive car market, the brand has always excelled in delivering and the E-Class has been the leader when it comes to leaving sportiness to the kids and giving you a real adult drive. Does the 2017 E-Class hold up? Let’s take a closer look.

MARIA CLARISSA FIONALITA

The look

The look of a Mercedes is undeniable, making it one of the most popular car brands, especially in the executive category. Its sharp profile is undeniable, but the looks of the E-class aren’t exclusive to that line of cars. With Mercedes, you know what you’re getting whether you’re going for the E, S, or C-Classes, with individual identity being a little lost in the lineup, but each being undeniably Mercedes. Fluted body sides and a gentler lift to the tail give it a smoother design than slightly boxer older models add a certain elegance. Besides that, there’s little innovation here. It has all the trademarks of the Benz, with the signature headlamps, grille, and windows. Here, Merc found their winning formula a long time ago and look set to stick with it.

Under the hood

The saloon is perhaps the most optimal model in the E-Class, even despite the stiff competition they face in that category from the Tesla Model S and the BMW 3 series. One of the more standard models, the E220 D, comes with a four-cylinder 2.0 liter putting out 191bph. It might not compete with the V6 powered 255bhp of the E350 D, but that doesn’t mean you’re not dealing with serious power. The 2017 E220 D alone has shed 100kg from its previous model. It offers a punchy drive that goes well with the nine-speed automatic gearbox.

On the road

The E-Class doesn’t quite have the handling to be a racer but offers more for the comfort and ease of the ride. Here, it’s hard to beat Mercedes. Even with the entry-level E200, there’s little turbulence in this ride. With the additional Air Body Control suspension of the E220 D, you will feel barely a thing even on the most worn and rugged of urban roads. When you first get off the road and drive at low speeds, there’s a little noise you have to accommodate, but once you get on that motorway, you’re dealing with an impressive quiet car.

Perhaps one of the most impressive optional features when it comes to handling is the forays they’re making into the world of self-driving. They’re throwing their hat in the ring with Drive Pilot, which works the cruise control with the active steering. Out of its competitors, it’s looking like one of the most genuinely self-driven cars at the moment. While it still needs some work, it’s making it clear (as if it wasn’t, already) that autonomous driving is the future and that Mercedes will likely be one of the trail-blazers in that world.

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Behind the wheel

There are few places where Mercedes excels quite as much as inside the car. All E-Class models come with an electric driver’s seat to make it much easier to find your optimal driving position. The optional adjustable lumbar support lives up to Mercedes’ promise of an easy ride and is one of the few additions besides the Air Body Control that’s definitely worth considering.

The dash is futuristic and gorgeous, especially with the huge (and optional) electronic displays keeping everything visible even if you’re on a midnight run. With the more standard but thoroughly recommended E 220 D version comes the Garmin Pilot sat-nav system. It’s not one of the fastest systems and takes some time to work out thanks to a few out-of-the-norm UI decisions, but it works. Control dials in the E 220 D are mostly kept conventional, but there are plenty of little extras like USB ports, DAB radio, and Bluetooth.

Mercedes provides, but in higher models like the E 350 D, it excels. Here, you get the Comand digital control system (also an option in the E 220 D). This is a much more responsive and better-designed piece of equipment with a wi-fi hotspot and software systems like Android auto.

The badge

If you’re buying a Mercedes, then you’re buying it for the name and not just the car. But Mercedes is one of the few brands whose badges have some genuine weight to them. More than brand power, you get Mercedes service, as well. Repair and service packages for Mercedes owners are always top-of-the-line, with access to a range of providers across the country that offer comprehensive checks and repairs using equipment and parts worthy of the name.

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The practicality

As mentioned before, it’s no sporty racer. The E-Class is dedicated to making your life easy, if not terribly exciting. You expect the practical considerations of the brand to be chief, and you would be right when looking at this car. There’s plenty of headroom in the plush and aesthetically pleasing cabin. One slight complaint would be that if you’re over six feet tall, you’re probably going to have trouble seeing some of the gorgeously lit displays over the top of the steering wheel. Leg room in the back is just as impressive and a bigger boot than rivals like the 5 series.

The E-Class also makes for an economic ride, despite the relative power in the engine and the costs associated with the brand. Boasting an impressive average of 72.4mpg, it makes a great choice for a prestige yet still affordable family car.

Mercedes continues to deliver in promising its drivers a ride that’s sensible without being boring, comfortable without being lazy, and for delivering a certain service and prestige with the badge you just don’t get with other cars. With 2017’s E-Class, it’s not reinventing the wheel, but continuing to define that approach better than any of its competitors.

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