PUSHING its understated sense of presence, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class knows it has pedigree and reputation to live up to.
This is the German marque’s biggest seller, having sold over 14 million units in several variants since 1946.
With the current 10th generation of the model, Mercedes-Benz understands the importance of continuity especially in times of change. With the world thinking of electric vehicles, saving the planet, going car-lite, being connected, there are many wheels in motion that could affect the future of the brand. While it’s important to be invested in the future, today’s needs still demand attention.
Best to play it safe when it comes to this important bread-and-butter model. The facelift thus focuses on technical enhancements and some minor tweaks to its looks.
The front of the *$288,888 Exclusive variant reviewed here sees more chrome in use and a wider look as the logo has been pushed to the bonnet, to some extent taking away the brand’s identity and rendering a more commonplace look. This is carried through to the back where the tail lights, bumper and boot lid have been reworked.
This sense of neutrality has been poured into the interior, with quality materials worked together in restrained tones, perhaps serving as a good contrast for the vivid colours of the digital displays.
Where the E-200 is hard to beat is the level of comfort and space in the cabin.
A sense of spaciousness and welcoming comfort beckon, even as wood, leather, metal, glass and plastic fold one into another in a pleasant mix of colours and textures.
By using the music, lighting and massage modes, Energizing seat kinetics makes minute adjustments of the seat cushion and backrest to keep you from sitting in one position for too long. If you’ve got on your Garmin wearable, you can sync it via the Mercedes Me app so it can remind you of your state of being, further ensaring users in the name of being connected…and inevitably dependant on it.
The sweep of glass and information on the dash is part of the push towards minimising control knobs and buttons, opting instead for touchscreen actions. That just means more time spent hunting for the right settings on two two large 31.2cm screens.
The simple task of setting the time made me late for my appointment as the clock in the car woke up in another time zone and I was only able to adjust the time +/- 60 minutes in that zone. Eventually, after much poking and sliding on the screen, the system must have woken up fully and the correct time came on.
That fear of machines taking over our lives could pose a challenge if the machine is not perfectly synchronised! But such is our dependence on smart technology, we will become way less smart as we leave things to the machines.
The turbocharged 4-cylinder, 2L engine that’s been loaded into this long car does the needful, albeit with a throaty struggle in Sport mode and a performance that is lacking in feel or feedback. The engine works with a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission that is reasonably efficient (7.9L/100km) and gets you from 0-100kmh in 7.5 seconds.
This is a car that’s best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, especially if you prefer a smooth, uninvolved and uneventful journey.
With so many assistance features — Active Distance Assist, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist — you could take a backseat, surely. It’s quite cozy there, too, though with much less by way of gadgets to play with.
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