2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E350 Sedan Review


2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz Specs, Comparisons and Prices

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 4-door
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 268 hp @ 6,000 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 2,400-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 113.1 in.
Length/Width/Height: 191.7 x 75.9 x 57.6 in.
Tires: P245/45R17
Cargo volume: 19.1 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/18.2 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 21.1 gal.
Sticker: $49,475 base including $875 destination fee)

The Bottom Line: The new E-Class is pricey, but worth it. If you must have a Mercedes-Benz, save your pennies (a lot of them) and get the E-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the iconic Mercedes sedan. Sure, the C-Class is less expensive and the S-Class more luxurious, while other sedans and coupes may be sexier, but the E-Class is the car that defines the brand. It’s beautiful, powerful, smooth and luxurious.

At first glance, the E-Class looks “normal.” While Es of the past may have been boxier, this redesigned version is sleek, with curves where you don’t expect them. It’s also slick, with a coefficient of drag of just 0.27 (0.25 in Europe with narrower tires).

Under the hood of the E350 is a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Power reaches the rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel if you want to use them, but the E is so smooth that it doesn’t seem necessary. We used the paddles on a long, twisty hillclimb and, after playing around a bit, discovered we were in third or fourth most of the time. So I switched back to automatic mode.

The E-Class is filled with new and/or interesting safety features. One I found disturbing at first was the “rumble strip” that seemed to be built into the car. This is a Lane Keeping Assist that gently reminds the driver that he or she is drifting out of the lane they’re supposed to be in.

Another silent safety feature is called “Time for a Rest?” This alerts the driver to the first stages of drowsiness that identifies erratic steering corrections drivers normally make when they get drowsy and triggers an audible warning.

Adaptive High Beam Assist turns the high beam into an automatic feature. If a car is detected approaching the E-Class, the high beams slowly drop to normal beam. When there’s an empty road in front of you, they gently rise up to high beams again.

The new E-Class design is not only aerodynamic, it makes use of a long sun roof. The portion over the front seats functions like a normal sun roof. Over the rear seats, it’s just tinted glass, but when the front is closed the overall effect is of a large black roof, which contrasts nicely with the silver body.

The front seats are easy-chair comfortable, but not too soft. Mercedes-Benz has put a lot of effort into the design of their seats over the past couple of years, moving from almost-uncomfortable rock hard flat seats, to seats that coddle you. They also cradle you with side bolsters that inflate to offer increased side support in turns. Push a lever and a small glove-box type of storage area opens under the front seats.

A somewhat confusing feature at first is Direct Select shifting. A small lever located to the right side of the steering column moves the indicator on the dash from “D” to “P” with no other shift pints in between. To park the car you push the end of the lever to shift to park. It’s a simple system that only works with an automatic that you really don’t have to fool around with.

We drove the E-Class in autumn weather that varied from almost freezing to temperatures in the 80s. The HVAC system heated and cooled us with no problems, and convinced us that it could also do the job in more extreme temperatures.

For entertainment, we had AM/FM/CD/Sirius XM, so there was no lacking in sound choices. With most Mercedes-Benz models you can also choose your station by pushing * and the station numbers, no matter what the band.

In the center of the center console is a control knob that allows either the driver or the passenger to control what’s on the COMAND system’s seven-inch color display.

There’s a surprising dearth of cubbies and storage areas. The center console has a unique clamshell opening, but there’s really nothing else, and the glove box is filled with manuals.

One expects luxury from a Mercedes-Benz. One also expects exciting driving dynamics. The new E-Class meets all those expectations.

SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz Specs, Comparisons and Prices

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

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