When you think about executive sedans, there are only really few that come to mind. The E-Class is certainly on top of that list, but with the every growing SUV sector, this market is often overlooked, especially by those who really never use their premium SUV to its full potential. When we talk domination, there are only a few that can hold a candle to the majestic E-class. The new Volvo S90 which was launched a few weeks ago is certainly a strong contender but does feel slightly larger.
The highlight of the E350D is certainly the engine; the 3.0 V6 Turbodiesel chums out an incredible 620nm of torque which will rocket this understated sedan to 100 at just under 6 seconds. The mammoth powerband is also well managed by the 9G – Tronic automatic transmission. There are also steering paddles, but I found myself hardly using them as it just does not suit the nature of the car.
The overall claimed consumption on this car is mid 5l/100km, but we could only just get it to 6.5l/100km on the open road. Overall, though, you are looking at about 8l/100km, which is great when you consider the performance left in reserve, especially when you need to overtake.
The interior is typical E-class and I really liked the woodgrain finish of the dash. When you combine that with a bespoke ambient lighting, the E-Class really becomes a personal space, especially at night. The Steering wheel has also been fitted with touch-sensitive trackpads to scroll up and down through menus. This is an interesting concept and takes a while to get used to. If you have used the MB infotainment system previously, it’s easy to navigate and simple to use. It’s a pity our test car did not have the optional stereo installed as the standard system sounded a little flat for my liking.
The leather wrapped climate controlled (optional – both head and cooled) are very comfortable and offer superb lumbar support, but I was disappointed to discover that they were only partially electric.
Our test car was also fitted with the optional driving assistance package which included Distronic control, Lane assist and Drive pilot, which is a semi-autonomous system, but not completely hands-free yet. When combined with Steering assist it lets you relax a little because it should essentially brake and accelerate for you on the open road. You do however need to keep your hands on the steering wheel. Active safety features as Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Active Brake Assist, rear Cross-traffic Alert (I found it very useful), Active lane-change Assist and Blindspot Assist we’re all fitted to our test car and while you don’t initially notice them, they’re there watching over you.
The E-class with its electronically adjustable damping and higher profile tires offer a comfortable air like ride and will stiffen up progressively when you select its sportier modes. The E350D, while no sports sedan, feels dynamic and willing to take any bend with ease. It’s well balanced and carries a certain poise. The sunroof did create a bit of unwanted wind noise at high speed which was a little concerning.
When you drive the E-Class you will immediately know why It’s been such a desirable car for so long. It’s very good and offers plenty of options and combined with this amazing engine, that offers both a muscle car like torque figures with the superb economy it makes you wonder why you don’t see as many on the road. This car is no longer your granddad’s car.
The E350D comes in at R973 936 and a 2-year unlimited km warranty with a 6-year 100 000km maintenance plan is included.
For more info and a up to date price list, check out Mercedes-benz.co.za