What better to do on a mild Tuesday afternoon with light winds, 50-50 cloud cover and a little light rain in places, than get to know the latest version of ‘the heart of the Mercedes-Benz brand? Fourteen million Mercedes-Benz E-Classes later, there’s a new range of Sedan, Coupé and Cabriolet versions of the company’s best seller on the road.
Mercedes promises the facelifted E-Class re-sets the mid-executive benchmark ‘with an even more dynamic, sportier, more luxurious and the most advanced E-Class yet. The product of an extensive facelift is heralded by clean and appealing new lines and an exclusive, high-quality interior across the board. Two-door models combine the class and beauty of a grand tourer with state-of-the-art tech, with the cabriolet sporting a classic fabric top.
The new E gets a smarter, shinier front end, flatter all-LED multibeam headlamps and wider, flared wheel arches to accommodate bigger tires. The newcomer is further set apart by a fresh rear bumper, split tail lamps and a new boot lid too.
Step inside and you’re greeted by an all-new latest generation AMG Performance multifunction steering wheel with fresh touch controls ahead of a widescreen cockpit comprising a pair of standard large 10.25 inch MBUX display screens. They’re backed by latest generation augmented reality ‘Hey Mercedes’ multimedia with video navigation images. It will take some time to become familiar with, but will surely soon become a pleasure to use.
New E also gets route-based speed-adjustable Active Distance speed control with Active Tailback that responds to tailbacks before the driver even knows they are there, distance and lane-keeping tech up to 40 mph, Blind Spot assistants and a Parking Package with 360-degree camera. Lane departure correction inputs are quite noticeable, firm and direct, with firm input to go around slow vehicles turning right ahead.
These cars are all superbly well finished with great build quality in and out. We enjoyed the new Energizing seat kinetics that use music, lighting and massage modes to keep you happy as a bird through a wide range of feel-good programs. New E also gets Urban Guard parked vehicle surveillance.
AMG E63 S: Now with Rear Wheel Drive Mode
Top of the new E pops is the double-twin-scroll turbocharged 603 hp 627 lb-ft 16 mpg biturbo 3982 cc V8 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+. Good for 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and a massive 190 mph top end. It gets an AMG speedshift MCT 9-speed automatic with short shift times and fast multiple downshifts. A double declutching function adds an emotive gear shifting experience.
The E63 S’s AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive now includes a purely rear-wheel drive Drift Mode like its fierce rival BMW M5 with Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ Individual and Race modes. Add 3-stage ESP; Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes for the new three-chamber Adaptive Damping air suspension. It makes for an exemplary blend of driving dynamics and ride characteristics. All modes can be switched to manual.
Pedigreed from the ground up, the new E63 AMG has internally ventilated and perforated compound 15.8 14.1 x 1.41-inch brake discs with six-piston fixed callipers up front. And 14.1 and x 1.14-inch discs with single-piston floating brake callipers at the rear. If that’s not enough, there are optional AMG 15.8 x 1.53-inch Carbon Ceramic front and 14.1 x 1.25-inch rear disc brakes.
Fine Nappa Leather, High Comfort MBUX displays
E63 gets fine nappa leather interior trim and high comfort AMG-specific MBUX displays and settings. There are brushed stainless pedals with rubber studs. Add AMG monocled door sill panels and black floor mats with door sill panels. And black floor mats to accentuate the sporty look.
The E63 S is precisely the beast you expect with that huge torque coming on tap very early. Four-wheel drifting is easily initiated on to the skid pan with a hard turn and a generous boot of power. Not the easiest art to master, too slow and no drift. Too fast and you just spin out! It needs a delicate balance that will only be mastered by time in the seat. The pros make it look easy, even if there was a lot going on at the controls.
AMG E 53 4MATIC+ comes in Sedan, Coupé and Cabrio
Next up and probably the most significant of these new models. The AMG E 53 4MATIC+ in the choice of Sedan, Coupé and Cabrio. Propelled by an all-new 429 hp 384 lb-ft 2999 cc straight six hybrid. With an exhaust gas turbo and an electric charger too. Add an electric motor residing in its 9-speed gearbox for a bonus 21 hp 185 lb-ft EQ Boost additional output. Its good for a 4.3 second 0-60, 155 mph and 28 highway mpg in the Coupe.
All the new AMG 53s also come with Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution. We indulged in a series of drag race tests that brought the best out of it and the E63s’ user friendly launch control. Just plant it with your left foot on the brake, count down from three and let the brake go. Wow! Hold on tight.
Both AMG models launch with a mad and impressive sense of urgency and without any wheel slip. Traction is immediate and the cars track perfectly straight. Gear changes are unnoticeable and braking is urgent. All well under control.
Facelifted E-Class: Solid Feel
One has a solid feel of the car through the comfortable, thick steering wheel. That new damping system keeps it more than comfortable at all times — even on track. They are super stable with a solid and precise braking feel too. The gearbox box is lightning quick with rev matching blips that sound great through deceleration. Assisted by a small DC motor on launch, the E53 also makes brisk town commuting effortless.
The rest of the Facelifted E-Class range comprises an E350 Sedan and an E 450 available in all three Sedan, Coupé and cabriolet body styles. All the 450 models are optionally available with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The 255 hp 273 lb-ft E350 sedan is good for 60 mph in 6 seconds and consumes 30 highway mpg. The 362 hp 369 lb-ft 3-litre straight six E450 sips 30 mpg and tops 150 mph in the sedan.
Even the Base E350 Feels Solid, Sound on the Road
Out on the road, the E 350 Sedan felt solid and behaved very well. Acceleration is punchy and impressive, especially at high altitude and the engines rev freely through a silky smooth drivetrain. The Facelifted E-Class is stable on the road, even in hard braking. E-Class is well balanced and there are no surprises in the handling department.
Riding the Cabriolet with the top down and the windows up is a wonderful experience. Airflow is pleasantly mild with no buffeting at higher speeds.
Already voted Motor Trend Car of the Year, Mercedes’ Facelifted E-Class range may not be all new. But it also seems quite a bit more than just a facelift. All very much in keeping with the three-pointed Stuttgart star’s incessant pursuit of perfection.