Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Devon leaps into luxury with a Mercedes E-Class




The BMW 5-series and Audi A6 are both great sedans. Both are fun the drive and offer distinct personalities. But what if you don't want a conventional 5-series or an A6? You can always choose the Mercedes E-class.

Performance: The E-class comes with three gasoline engines and one diesel. The E350 comes with a 3.5liter six-cylinder with 268hp. Mid-range E350 BlueTech has 3-liter turbo-diesel with 210hp. Near the top is the E550 with 5.5-liter V8 with 382hp. Top of the range E63 AMG has a hefty 6.3-liter V8 with 518hp. Pick of the bunch is the turbo-diesel. It offers plenty of torque for city and motorway speeds. While offering better fuel economy than the base six-cylinder. The V8s are loads of fun to drive, but command a premium price.

Ride & Handling: The standard sport suspension on our tester car made the ride feel firmer than usual. Although it helped a lot in terms of handling, and even made the E-class feel well balanced on curves.  We'd stick to the standard suspension. There's an air-suspension system available, but it comes at a cost.

Refinement: At highway speeds, the E-class feels at peace. There's little wind and road noise. This is a very refined machine. The turbo-diesel produces very little rattle at idle and low speeds. When revved hard, it produces a nice snarl that's not intrusive or tiresome on long journeys.

Behind the wheel: The front seats feel comfortable with plenty of adjustments for one to get comfortable. Some will find the seat doesn't go low enough. The steering adjust for reach and height, making the ideal driving position very obtainable. Many of the fucntions are controlled with a central dial, but the on-screen menus can be distracting. The foot-operated parking brake and single stalk for the indicators and wipers can be a bit annoying as well.

Space & Practicality: There's plenty of room for four adults. Adding a fifth adult will be pushing it. The transmission tunnel is bulky and makes comfort for the middleman hard to obtain. The boot is big with a square floor, but the folding rear seats are an option.

Equipment: As with most luxury cars, the standard equipment list is extensive. There's plenty of options that will custom tailor to your desire. However, the price will jump up quickly if you're not careful with the options.

Buying & Owning: The E-class is a bit pricey compared to rivals. But with strong resale value, your investsments will be protected. The E-class offers competitive fuel economy and the eco-friendly diesel engine gets a tax credit from the government.

Quality & Reliability: The cabin of the E-class is sheer luxury. Something you'd expect from the company. Everything feels well put together, and the quality is what you'd expect from Mercedes. In terms of reliability, Mercedes has improved over the years. However, all the technology equipped on most E-class models may cause worry of electrical problems.

Safety & Security: The E-class comes with loads of safety features for your money. After all, if you're paying for luxury one would expect nothing less. A driver drowsiness detector and pop up bonnet to protect pedestrians in collisions are both standard. Lane-change and blind-spot warning systems are optional, as well as a night-vision camera. There's an engine immobilizer and alarm system. However, Merceds rejects deadlocks on safety grounds.

Likes: Turbo-diesel impressive performance and fuel economy, excellent fit and finish, prestige image of owning one.
Dislikes: Not as engaging to drive as you'd think, sport suspension has a firm ride, expensive compared to rivals, on-screen menus are distracting.
It's classy, stylish and offers a prestige image for those who seek traditional German Luxury. It's all luxury and conservative feel makes its rivals feel more engaging to drive. If you want a saloon that's roomy, comfortable and offers a good blend of style and luxury. Look no further than the E-class Saloon. However, if you desire more driver entertainment we suggest looking at the 5-series.

Devon M

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