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With over 14 million units delivered since 1946, the E-Class is the bestselling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz, with many regarding it as the ‘heart of the brand’. Now it is raising the bar even further: the latest iteration of the E-Class range arrives and sets new benchmarks with an even more dynamic design, sporty aura and raised levels of interior comfort.
I drove a variety of body style variants: the sedan, coupe and the cabriolet across a few engine options. Interestingly, eight out of ten customers of the E-Class sedan remain loyal to Mercedes-Benz when buying their next vehicle. The current model, launched in 2016 has seen with more than 1.2 million customers around the world buying a current-generation E-Class sedan.
The facelifted front end, with increased chrome content, shows the new E-Class means business, with two chrome louvres and vertical high-gloss black struts providing a sporty and elegant appearance. The designers also updated the sedan’s rear end with a new bumper, split tail lamps and a new boot lid, while the rear of the coupe and cabriolet sees smaller rear tweaks.
Inside, there is even more comfort, including a new steering wheel with touch controls, large display screens as standard (2 x 10.25 inches), and the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system. MBUX includes the now-familiar ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control and augmented reality that displays additional information, such as house numbers, in the video image of the surroundings.
The new E-Class features Urban Guard, which offers all-round surveillance of the parked vehicle. This includes functions like warnings for collision damage warning, tow-away protection and anti-theft. Additionally, the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, with route-based speed adjustment, recognises and responds to tailbacks and slow-moving traffic even before the driver becomes aware of them. When a traffic jam is detected (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100km/h as a precaution.
Other innovations include: Active Tailback Assist, which can substantially assist the driver with lane-keeping and maintaining a safe distance at speeds up to around 60km/h, with a high degree of availability. Active Blind Spot Assist, which lowers the risk of a collision with other road users, like passing cyclists. It also monitors the blind spot when at standstill, and can warn the driver of approaching vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles when opening the door. Parking Package with 360° camera: Side View gives the Parking package a new function that keeps an eye on the entire side of the vehicle. The extended side view makes it easier to manoeuvre alongside nearby parallel obstacles such as kerbs and garage walls.
Locally, the sedan range is offered in the following lineup: E200, E220d and Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+. The Coupe and Cabriolet is offered as an E200, E300 and Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+.
The E200 offers a 2 litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 145 kW and 320 Nm of torque. This results in a 0-100 time of 7.5 seconds. The E300 has the same engine, which is tweaked to deliver 190 kW and 370 Nm, with a 0-100 time of 6.4 seconds. E220d features 2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with 143 kW and 400 Nm 7.4 seconds. These are the foundation within the range. All three of these options are excellent examples of engineering prowess – the 200 is all you need, the 220d feels assertive and remans frugal while the 300 is what you may want for spirited sprints.
The cream and cherry are these options – Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ 3.0-litre 6-cylinder in-line engine with exhaust gas turbocharger and electric additional compressor offering 320 kW + 16 kW and 520 Nm that spins to 0-100 in 4.6 seconds. The E63 S 4MATIC+ 4.0-litre V8 with direct injection and twin turbochargers, 450 kW and 850 Nm with 0-100 time 3.4 seconds. I am partial to the E53 which strikes the perfect balance between power and refined balance, while the E63 S is just brutal.
All models are driven through Mercedes-Benz’s 9-speed intelligent automatic gearbox. Much like other electronic aspects of the car, the gearbox has the ability to learn the drives’ driving style and adapt the gear changes accordingly.
The E-Class epitomises all that the Mercedes-Benz brand is about, especially in 2021. Elegance abounds, there is great beauty in the details and as you would expect, it is luxurious to drive. Hard to fault – this is an iconic vehicle range.
E200 R920 000
E220d R984 000
Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+ R2 423 000
E200 R1 036 000/R1 164 000
E300 R1 131 000/R1 268 000
Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ R1 618 000/R1 756 000
Service and warranty
The E-Class range is sold with a 5 year/100 000 km maintenance plan.
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