The Mercedes-Benz E-Class gets a bigger heart, but is it worth the extra sum?
Mercedes-Benz launched the E-Class last year and made it available in both petrol and diesel engine options. Powered by a 2.0-litre and a 2.1-litre engine respectively, the E was quick to get the kind of number that the Stuttgart-based manufacturer expected out of it. And while it ticked all the right boxes, it missed out on a ‘big’ diesel heart. Now with the launch of the E350 CDI, Mercedes has addressed this need. The question then remains, is the difference of over Rs 7.50 lakh more than the E250 CDI Launch Edition justified?
Exterior Styling and Design:
The E-Class sure looks good, there’s no denying it. The long bonnet that leans into the twin-slat grille has class written all over it. And flanked by those beautiful LED headlamps and the massive air dams on the bumper, the E looks simply fabulous. At the rear too, the E-Class with its sharp boot line, LED tail lamps and the twin exhaust proudly boast the Mercedes DNA. It might look similar, but what’s new on the E350? Well, there isn’t much to differentiate it from the other models except for the 20-spoke alloy wheels and the E350 badge on the boot lid. And while the E-Class is quite an attractive mid-sized sedan, we would have loved it if the E350 had a few more details to set it apart especially considering the difference in price.
Interiors and Space:
Step inside the E350 and you will be greeted by a very familiar office. The overall layout of the dashboard is the same as on the other variants. As opposed to the matte silver accents seen on the E250, this top-of-the-line trim gets black gloss wood finish on the dash and on the door panels. The upholstery too has been changed from back to beige and we have to admit it makes the cabin feel a lot roomier. Seats are comfortable and there is ample of space at the back too. In fact, for those who love to be chauffeured around, the rear seat of the E is a comfortable place to be in.
Features and Equipment:
With respect to features, the E350 has all that we have already seen on the lower variants and then some. This top-end trim comes equipped with the Mercedes Comand Online media system with high-resolution display with TFT technology. The media system is supported well by the Harmon Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system. To make parking an effortless task, quite literally, Mercedes has installed the E350 with an auto park system as well as a 360 degree camera.
Engine and Performance:
This is the part where the beauty of the E350 comes to fore. While it might be the same engine from the previous E350, thanks to the engine remapping, the improvement in performance is evident as soon as one steps on the gas. The 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 capable of 266PS and 620Nm is not just refined but also fun to drive. The 7-speed dual clutch ‘7G-Tronic Plus’ shifts pretty seamlessly and comes with the convenience of paddle shifters. However, the ‘box isn’t the quickest one out there. The Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI can cross the tonne in just 6.6 seconds and record a top whack of 250kmph.
Numbers aside, the engine makes the E350 absolutely easy to drive, mainly for the fact that it makes its peak torque from as low as 1,600rpm. It accelerates quickly from standstill; and even if you find yourself in need of punch to make a quick overtaking manoeuvre, a jab on the throttle is all it takes to get it going. And even when you are at it, the cabin is extremely quiet thanks to the superb noise insulation.
Ride and Ease of Driving:
Driving position from behind the wheel is easy to find thanks to the electronically adjustable seats and steering wheel. Visibility all round is good due to the thin A-pillar and large windows and windscreen, and surprisingly you don’t really feel the length of the car. The 360 degree camera helps this cause further. And you know it’s a well engineered car as all controls are well within reach for the driver.
The suspension is setup well to absorb most bumps with ease but blitz over road joints and one can actually be hear the noise in the cabin. That being said, the bumps don’t really seep into the cabin and onto the back. The three-spoke steering wheel is good to grip and light which makes it easy to use in the city, however it is not as communicative as we would have liked it to be.
Handling and Braking:
This is one aspect where Mercedes could have stiffened things up a little, quite literally. The McPherson axles up front and the independent Multi-link setup at the back could have been a little firm in order to make it a little more fun to drive. Its current setup just doesn't do justice to the power that the engine makes. While it does take on a series of bends at decent speeds, you just don't feel confident enough to push it a bit further. That being said, it does brilliantly at slower speeds and in city driving conditions.
The Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI sports 245/45 section R17 tyres and disc brakes on all four corners which work together bring the car to a standstill from 100kmph with a blink of an eye but it could have done with a little more feedback.
Price and Efficiency:
For the E350 CDI, Mercedes-Benz claims an overall efficiency of 13kmpl which is marginally less that its immediate competition the BMW 530d M Sport, but consider the fact that it makes more power and torque than its compatriot then the drop in efficiency feels justified. At Rs 58.50 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) the Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI is almost at par with its competition.
Since the time it has been launched, the E-Class has proved it mettle. It has the looks, comfort and class, - things you expect from a car in this category. And now, it even comes with a more powerful heart. So is the larger engine worth the money you spend to buy it? If you are one of those business honchos who is chauffeured around town then maybe not, but if you like playing the captain of your ship and can put that extra bit of power to good use, then the Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI is worth every penny spent.