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Old 25th October 2009, 14:05   #1
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Default Mercedes E-Class (E350) : Test Drive & Review

What you'll like:

• Jack of all trades, master of some. All-rounded nature
• S-Class like quality inside out
• Best-in-class rear seat comfort
• Superb V6 diesel engine. Powerful as well as refined
• Thoroughly modern luxury sedan. Loaded to the brim with technology
• Balanced ride quality + handling (superior balance to competitors). Outstanding braking
• Top level of kit and equipment. 5 star safety features too

What you won't:

"Un-Mercedes" rear profile
• Not quite a 5 series to drive. Conservative rather than involving
• No “5 year all inclusive maintenance” packages. Only 2 year standard warranty
• Light steering at 200+ kph (especially in the petrol)

Take a look at the key points of the E-Class in our video overview :

Last edited by Rehaan : 1st November 2011 at 16:55. Reason: YT Fix
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:06   #2
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This is India's 4th all new E-Class in 13 years, about the 10th engine option so far and the torchbearer to approximately 10,000 E-Class' already sold in our market. In the premium car segment, the latest is the greatest. No one wants to spend 50 lakh rupees on an “old” car. Just look at the sales charts (September 2009 Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis), the 7 year old W211 E-Class has been outsold by the BMW 5 series for 11 of the most recent 12 months! Mercedes is all set to take a swing back with this thoroughly modern W212 E-Class. The E-Class is Merc’s bread & butter car worldwide; the model that gets them the most sales and a naturally critical product. In India too, surprisingly, the volumes of the 50 lakh sedan segment (E-Class, 5 Series, A6) are identical to that of the 30 lakh sedan segment (C-Class, 3 series, A4).

This is the 8th generation E-Class that has had its worldwide debut in Europe in March 2009. Mercedes India has launched only the E350 V6s (petrol and diesel) at the moment. The cheaper 4 cylinder engines are on the way. We’ve tested the top-loaded Avantgarde trim level.

The build quality is simply outstanding, inside out. Fit, finish and paint quality are top grade, and like all Mercedes, she will age well. On the flip side, the W212's looks are very un-Mercedes. Gone is the subtle timeless design of the W211 / W124 E-Class, nor does the new car look like its been sculpted out of the same iron block. Mercedes has gone futuristic. The new E-Class is wedgy, aggressive and very in-your-face. The front, especially, has striking presence. However, at the back, if you remove the 3 pointed star badge, it looks very Japanese (dare I say, Korean too?). You can spot some “Ponton” inspiration on the rear quarter panel. The E-Class has grown; this combined with the sharp front-end gives it phenomenal presence on our streets. Not only is the W212 E-Class larger on the outside, its larger than the older car on the inside too.The E350 petrol and diesel variants tip the scales at 1,732 and 1,825 kgs respectively.

NOTE : All pictures are thumbnail impressions. Clicking on them will open up a larger version of the picture (in a new window).

Rear end design is not to my taste at all. Doesn't look like a Mercedes. Notice the bright LED rear lights and meaty twin tail pipe arrangement:

Nice pic. Note the absence of a heat grille toward the top of the bonnet (nearly all Mercs till date have worn one):

Boomerang-styled LED daytime running lamps. The E has LED's everywhere. At the front, on the rear lamps, on the ORVMs...:

Bi-xenon headlamps. "Active headlamp system" i.e. they swing left or right depending on steering input (I found it an unnecessary gimmick). Windscreen-mounted camera can detect oncoming traffic and change headlamp angle to avoid blinding them:

Funky ORVM design. Note that the mirrors don’t swing the opposite way. Expect bikers & cyclists to contribute to your expenses:

Alloy wheels look eye-catching, but after-market'ish. Tyres are 245/45/17 Continental ContiSport Contact3 on the V6 petrol (pictured here). The CDI is shod with Pirelli Cinturato P7 tyres:

Built for the autobahn, umm, expressway:

'53 Ponton inspired rear quarter panel:

Last edited by GTO : 23rd November 2009 at 17:51.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:06   #3
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Merc’s taken a royal hammering due to compromises in quality over the last decade, but they commit that the new E-Class is a return to the good ol’ days. Dare I say, the interior quality of the E-Class is nearly up there with the mega S-Class! In fact, you will see a lot of the S-Class in here (column-mounted gearshift, center console, steering wheel design etc.).

Shut the door and you’ll hear that Germanic “thud”. One huge limitation of the outgoing E-Class were its compact interior dimensions. Fact : It was smaller than even its predecessor, the W210. Mercedes has addressed this issue and the new E-Class now matches the 5 series on space (Note : it doesn't have more room than the 5, both are about the same). It must be mentioned that the high transmission tunnel makes this car more suited to carrying 4 occupants rather than 5.

The colour palette used is really classy and a welcome break from the ubiquitous beige. The way that the tan brown leather has been co-ordinated with black plastics, dark veneer and dull / shiny chrome is sheer taste. Interiors look fab (down to the matt black roof lining). There’s also a super-rich wood veneer panel that runs the breadth of the interiors. Part quality is outstanding, each button feeling premium (again, S-Class like). The interior design, however, is not at all swoopy and modern. There is no curviness, rather the “squarish” theme of the outside continues on the inside. Except for the funky steering wheel, the overall design is fairly straight forward.

The driving position is spot on. We finally see an E-Class with full electric seats + memory (can store 3 driver settings for the seat, mirrors and steering). Even the neck restraint (head-rest vertical positioning), lumbar adjustments and steering reach / rake are electric. The chunky wood leather steering wheel is great to hold. It’s relatively compact too, by Mercedes standards. The wood paneling offers sufficient grip, even with sweaty palms. The gearlever is now mounted on the steering-column (a la S Class) with paddle shifts (on the steering wheel). The seats offer superlative support; after a 450 kms drive, we came out fresh. Despite a “COMAND" system, there are still too many buttons on the console. We counted 43 of them! The "comand" system by itself is simple to use and primarily controls only the OEM entertainment system. All of the crucial system / car functions are accessed via the MID (located on the speedometer console). It looks like the comand was only included to give the “large screen” gizmo effect that everyone else has.

Comfort is first-grade; there is such an obvious emphasis on comfort rather than sportiness (BMW 5 series). Chauffeur-driven owners (majority of E-Class buyers) will be pleased to know that rear bench comfort is best in the segment. The rear seat is oh-so-perfectly reclined. I’m a guy for whom the more the recline, the better (people say I drive in a sleeping position), yet even I loved the back seat. The support, especially from the top to the tail of your back, is spot on. The refined V6, stellar seat and ride quality make this the back seat to have from the 50-lakh rupee segment. The interiors cocoon you from the outside world, contributed in part by the high window sill and rolling curtains. Rear passengers are pampered with a single dedicated climate control zone and two additional air vents on the B-Pillar.

If you’re the type that is fond of the “small special touches”, you need to spend some time in this car. Example : the steering moves up when you remove the ignition key (for easier egress / ingress) and will come back to position only after you start the car. Even the rear door pockets are lined with carpet (flooring as well as sidewall). Everything is damped in here (including the rear ashtray). It's slow motion by design; right from the return action of the grab handles to the rear cup holders spreading out. The positioning of the door armrests (for rear passengers) is immaculate! Not a millimeter higher or lower will do, its just perfect to rest your hands on. The interiors are well-insulated from outside noise. The only thing you hear when cruising at 80 kph is the aircon blower. And you don’t need to raise your voice when talking to other passengers at that speed, regular conversation volume does just fine.

Mercedes sells the top-loaded Avantgarde variant with 6 airbags, traction control, ABS, a 7 speed autobox + paddle shifts, bi-xenon headlamps + washers, auto headlamps + wipers, sunroof, full electric adjustments + 3 seat memory for driver and front passenger, LED lights all around, rear air-con, sunblinds for rear doors + windscreen, entertainment system with DVD + USB compatibility, drowsiness detection system, parking sensors and then some more.

Rich dark tan leather seats. I like. Easier to maintain than beige:

Meaty steering wheel:

Console’s silver background is retro. Small temp / fuel gauges. MID throws out info on everything to do with the car, including service intervals, tyre pressure warning and brake pad wear:

Gearlever is like a toy to use. Light tap is all that’s required to shift. You will primarily use only P, R and D (though N is available). Press the chrome tip to engage P:

Best-in-class rear bench:

Roller curtain on the rear windows:

Quality evident everywhere:

OEM sound system has decent sound quality. DVD and USB capability. However, my 2008 generation iPod was not compatible with the system (!!!):

Air-con manual controls are outstanding in quality. The flip switches are exceedingly tactile to use and high on the feel good factor:

Classic Merc-style handbrake pedal:

"Comand" knob. The C <-> S button to choose between Comfort & Sport driving modes:

Center screen fonts are very 90’s. Easy to read albeit lacking in finesse. Graphical interface can't even compare with windows 3.11!!:

Bigger mirrors (current C & E Class owners will know what I’m talking about) but still NOT large enough. Angular design, I miss the flush fitting Mercedes trademark ORVM style here. Left side mirror (non-convex) is useless (too narrow). Blind spots a glaring reality:

Rear climate control with temperature and blower speed adjustments:

Deep center glove box:

Parking sensor display:

The boot runs long and is sufficiently wide. Tad too shallow though. 540 liter capacity:

Fab looking dials at night:

Subtle interior lighting is like that of a 5–star hotel room (thanks to fibre optics). Sheer class. No direct light (except when manually controlled):

Last edited by Dippy : 25th November 2009 at 09:12. Reason: Making changes as requested :)
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:07   #4
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E350 V6 Petrol:

Badging makes the engine size amply clear to others:

Petrol power comes from an S-Class sourced 3.5 liter V6 engine. It’s rated at 271 BHP (@6300 rpm) and 355 NM of torque (@ 4500 rpm). In keeping with the character of this car, the V6 engine is very refined and delivers its power in a seamless linear manner. With a power to weight ratio of 156 BHP / ton, you know this car will be quick. Throttle response is good (very non-Merc like) and outright performance fast (0 – 100 in 7.9 seconds. Racelogic timed). Keep the accelerator burried and the E350 will go on to its electronically limited top speed of 250 kph. The engine is pretty revv-happy for a German petrol and feels sprightlier than in the S Class (naturally, as the E Class is lighter). However, keeping its luxury positioning in mind, there is no “push in the back” feeling at any time. Even in straight-line acceleration tests, the power is transferred in an uninterrupted manner with no passenger feeling any g forces. At 3,000 rpms or less, the 3.5 liter V6 petrol throws merely a murmur to the insides. At cruising speeds, it’s really silent. However, floor the throttle, take the rpm to over 3,000 and the 6 cylinders develop a sporty note. Enthusiasts will enjoy, grey-haired CEOs will get annoyed. Its surprising that the petrol V6 engine sound is so loud on the inside, above 3,000 rpms. Get this, even the E350 CDI (diesel) made lesser noise under full throttle than the E350 petrol!

The 7 speed box (again shared with the S-Class) offers delectably smooth shifts. In fact, even when you are paying attention, it’s hard to tell when the box upshifts. Rear passengers will never know whether the car is upshifting or downshifting in a regular driving style (not pedal to the metal). The shift quality keeps S-Class owners happy, no surprises here at all. Kickdown response time is a GIANT leap ahead of the W211 (we tested back to back). Where the previous E took 1 – 1.5 seconds to respond, the E350’s 7 speed does so in less than half the time. The E350 willingly drops 2 gears to get you right in the middle of the engine’s power band. Paddle shifts support an aggressive driving style and even allow you to use engine braking effectively. It will downshift at a point when most other automatic cars won’t (too high an rpm post-downshift). Don’t entirely depend on the engine braking though. While the gearbox will allow fairly aggressive downshifts, it will still refuse to if the revvs are too high. When running at full song in paddle shift mode, the engine will stubbornly upshift at 6,400 rpms (despite your ordering it to do so earlier). And no matter what you do (say, keeping the throttle pinned), the engine will not revv above that level. There’s a reason for that, the engine makes peak horsepower @ 6,300 rpms. No point revving above that rpm mark. The E-Class gives you the option of two driving modes : Comfort and Sport. In sport mode, the gearbox downshifts aggressively and in-gear acceleration is nearly impossible to gauge. The gearbox drops a gear even if you moderately press the accelerator pedal.

The hydraulic power steering is super light at low speeds, and a toy in the right hands. Even at 0 kph parking speeds, the steering requires minimal effort (as little as a Maruti power steering). This combined with the smooth automatic gearbox make the E350 a breeze to drive in the city. The brake “hold” function is a vital tool in bumper to bumper traffic. The minute you press the brake pedal and come to a stop, the car stays in “brake” mode. That is, no need to keep the brake pedal pressed with the gearbox in D mode (as you have to in most other automatic cars) when waiting in traffic. Steering is quick in responding to driver input. The problem is, at high speeds, it stays light. Call me partial because I drive the C220 which has a solid / heavy steering at high speeds. Still, we enthusiasts will much prefer the steering to be heavier than it is now (just as it was with most older Mercs). Rehaan’s first comment at high speed was criticism of the steering lightness. Don’t expect any feedback either, the 5 series steering which seems to talk to the driver is in a different league altogether. The overall driving experience is more comfort than sport. I actually had to keep the windows open to hear what the front tyres are upto, and take judgement, on a spirited ghat section drive. It will suit the needs of regular owners, yet lacks the “on the edge” “seat of the pants” behavior of the 5 series that we so love.

Similar to the new C Class, the E Class is equipped with self-adjusting dampers. Translated, they go softer under easy driving conditions to maximize comfort. Throw the car hard into a corner, or get aggressive with the accelerator pedal, and the dampers immediately stiffen up to maximize handling. The adaptive dampers play their part in giving the E-Class its balanced ride & handling nature. The ride is taut at low speeds, you can feel the firmness. Yet it is composed and very compliant. Within the city and on the highway, the E-Class’ ride is decidedly better than the BMW 5 series. It is only the really large bumps that catch it out at city speeds (say, 50 kph). As the speedometer climbs, the ride quality further improves. This is one crucial area where the E-Class beats the 5 series hands down, and a factor that is top priority to chauffeur-driven owners. At speed, over broken roads, you don’t even need to slow down. The E will glide over the worst of Indian highways. The firmness at low speed can also be attributed to the 17 inch wheels + low profile tyres; the W211 on 16 inch wheels feels better within the city. We’ll have to wait for a test on 16 incher W212s (planned in the next quarter) to gauge how it really matches up to the W211. The chassis’ grip levels are solid and body roll exceedingly well controlled. While the car isn’t as involving to drive as a BMW 5 series (far from it), suffice to say that this car balances ride quality & handling much better. The 5 may have more driver feel, yet the E Class will match it in outright grip levels. I can imagine a 5 series owner driving down the Lonavla ghats with a permanent smile and the E-Class owner without an expression. Typical of all Mercedes, the high speed stability is excellent. 150 feels like 80 and 200 sure doesn’t feel like 200 kph. The only fly in the ointment, again, is the light steering (especially in the petrol variant). This new E is an absolute mile muncher (way more relaxed than the 5) and is perfectly suited to long distance cruising.

The ground clearance is satisfactory. Nowhere in our 450 kms drive, covering varied driving conditions, did the underbelly scrape anywhere. Brake pedal feel is superb (no mushiness of the previous E Class) and the stopping capability very confidence inspiring. Special mention here; we mashed the brake pedal at 130 kph and it came to a stop in a ruler-straight line with zero drama.

NOTE on tyres : The OEM Continental ContiSport Contact3 tyres make quite the noise on a concrete expressway. On tar roads, they are whisper silent, but at 150 kph on a concrete expressway, the tyre noise is significant. In fact, it’s the only sound when cruising at that speed. Lesser for the rear passengers than the driver, but still VERY annoying! Get back to tar road and the tyre noise is ZERO. The E350 CDI tyres (Pirelli Cinturato P7) were much better on the expressway.

Last edited by GTO : 17th March 2012 at 10:25. Reason: Typo
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:07   #5
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E350 CDI (V6 Diesel):

BlueEfficiency badging on either side:

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The E350 CDI is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 diesel. This is the same engine that was used in the previous-gen E280 CDI, albeit in a different state of tune, and is rated at 231 BHP (3,800 rpms) and a whopping 540 NM of torque (1,600 – 2,400 rpm). Mercedes uses the “BlueEfficiency” nomenclature on the E350 CDI, which is basically a marketing term for a combination of fuel / emission saving techniques encompassing the engine, aerodynamics, weight and design areas. Nope, this is different than the USA market BlueTEC (catalytic converter and particulate filter).

It is the diesel E350 that I was particularly looking forward to, as the CDI is more relevant and makes the most sense to the Indian market. To start with, the refinement is astounding; at idle, the engine sound is nearly inaudible on the inside. Even with the windows open, you’d be hard pressed to tell that it’s an oil burner under the hood. Shut the window and there is a minute murmur at idle, but again, the noise suppression is unreal. The CDI continues to stay absolutely muted when pottering about in the city and cruising on the expressway. In normal driving situations, the engine takes diesel refinement to all entirely different level. In fact, the air-con blower at (only) speed 2 is louder than the engine! Its only when you floor it, and the engine is at over 4,000 rpms, that you hear the 3.0 diesel. But even then (at full throttle), the sound is less than some petrol cars (including its sibling the E350 petrol). When cruising at 160+ kph, tyre noise is the only perceptible sound (engine noise is zero).

540 NM of torque gives the E350 CDI fantastic driveability within the city. A subtle touch of the throttle is all you need in your daily driving patterns. Keep the right pedal mashed to the floor, and the gearbox will revv freely until 4,300 rpms before upshifting. The 350 CDI is quicker to the 100 than the E350 petrol, while either have an electronically limited top speed of 250 kph. The mid-range, in particular, is amazing with the engine always feeling like it has a reserve of torque available. However, the Mercedes E350 doesn’t have the violent nature or urgency of the BMW 530d. As an example, the push-in-the-back feeling is very subdued, yet in line with the intended positioning of this car (luxury over sport). Torque delivery is more seamless and interrupts passengers lesser than the smaller C220, the previous gen E280 or the 530d. The only time that the E350 CDI gets violent is in kick down mode at low speeds, say 20 kph, where she will shoot forward. The E350 is fast, but not aggressive. Plentiful torque is always on tap, anywhere in the revv range. To overtake that other fast moving car on the expressway, it’s literally as simple as a point and shoot exercise. The diesel is better suited to our typically Indian highways than the petrol, where you frequently need “instant go” (overtaking trucks for instance). The mega mid-range is key here; power on tap is accessible easier than in the petrol.

This car is very relaxed at high speed cruising, more so than the petrol again. For reason too : The 7 speed gearbox seems to like this CDI engine better. There isn’t the constant up / down shifting as we experienced in the petrol when driving enthusiastically, and the computer seems to choose just the right gear on the CDI. No surprise, as the ready torque cancels out the need to downshift as often.

The steering is definitely superior at high speed in the diesel. It could be the additional weight upfront that is responsible. Though I must add, even though the E350 diesel’s steering is more liveable on the expressway, it still isn’t the “classic” firm Mercedes steering at high speed. It should be obvious why I think the E350 CDI is the superior. Not only does it have substantially more torque & driveability, but the diesel can also sip regular quality fuel (high compression petrol runs optimally on premium octane), is more fuel efficient and has a longer full-tank range (important for highway runs).

A Mercedes trademark. Bonnet opens to 90 degrees for easier access to the mechanicals:
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Last edited by Dippy : 25th November 2009 at 09:39. Reason: Making changes as requested :)
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:07   #6
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Other Points:

• Ex-showroom Delhi prices (E350 V6 Petrol) :
Mercedes E350 : 46.9 Lakhs
BMW 530i : 45.9 Lakhs
Audi A6 : 45.12 Lakhs

• Ex-showroom Delhi prices (E350 V6 Diesel) :
Mercedes E350 : 48.08 Lakhs
BMW 530d : 42.80 Lakhs. Highline variant : 46.50 Lakhs
Audi A6 : 45.12 Lakhs (3.0 Quattro)

• V IMP : Make sure you press the chrome button on the gear lever to bring the gearbox into “P” (Park) Mode. I nearly stepped out once with the gearbox in “Reverse”, since all the way up is the traditional "Park" position on most (american?) column shift automatics.

• V6 petrol runs a compression ratio of 10.7:1. High Octane fuel will allow you to extract the best performance of this car. Our 0 – 100 time of 7.9 seconds was on regular petrol. Bank on an improvement with 97 Octane petrol. Not a necessity though, as it ran just fine (no knocking etc.) on regular fuel.

• Aggressive pricing of the petrol variants compared to 530i / A6 3.0. 1 lakh more gets you a more modern, larger car. Merc wants its no.1 luxury brand position back (forfeited to BMW since Jan 2009). Unfortunately, the E350 CDI is not as competitively priced.

• Sales numbers will really climb only once the cheaper 4 cylinder E250 diesel comes through.

• Why did Merc launch the E350 first? All about premium positioning. Build the car’s premium image with a top engine + trim level, then bring in the lower engine / spec variants.

• We missed an engine start / stop button!

• Has supposedly undergone the most comprehensive testing program ever at Merc. Drag co-efficient rated @ 0.25 (0.28 for the CDI). Merc says it’s the lowest of any mass production luxury sedan.

• Merc (like other German manufacturers) sells the same car in all global markets. This is unlike say, the Japs, who develop entirely different models for different markets (e.g. European Accord versus USA Accord). Yup, this car is the MOST crucial car in Mercedes’ entire product range.

• Strangely, on the back seat, some wind noise is noticeable at expressway speeds.

• Hill start assist is standard. Will stop vehicle from rolling back on an incline.

• Factory recommendation is a whopping 38 PSI on the tyres! Reason? Yup, low rolling resistance and fuel efficiency (part of the Blue Efficiency nomenclature).

• Merc has taken the seats to an entirely different level. We sat in Yuvraj’s previous-gen E Class right after the 450 kms drive in the E350. Now, the W211 by itself had nice front seats, but they felt antique compared to the new E350! Splendid support.

• High transmission tunnel at the rear makes this a 4 passenger car at best. On the rare occasion that there is a 5th, he will have to sit with his knees at chest level.

• No glow plug light (prior to engine start up) on premium diesels anymore! Yup, the CDI doesn’t have one.

• Two kickdown modes : Say you are cruising at 80 kph and press the accelerator half-throttle, it will drop one gear. However, pin the pedal to the floor and the gearbox will drop atleast 2 gears in the petrol.

• Kick down response time improves with speed. For instance, at 100 kph, it’ll drop gears much quicker than say at 50 kph.

• Thank God we don’t get the air-suspension that the E is sold with in some other markets. Traditional layout works best in India. And is far more reliable too.

• E350 CDI has a throaty exhaust note. Pure muscle, you know it’s a 6 cylinder engine.

• You can’t merely feed a CD into the changer. One has to first navigate through the CD controls, get to the CD feed display and then load discs. Unnecessary additional steps.

• A welcome change from previous Mercs : The horn pad extends across the entire steering wheel, across the corners of all 4 spokes too. No longer will your thumb ache from using the horn pad (as in old Mercs). Considering how important a safety device the horn is in India, this makes the E Class way more user-friendly for our driving conditions (ask me as an owner of an older Merc). However, when driving in 10:10 position, you will frequently (and accidentally) press the MID-control buttons instead of the horn.

• Immediately upon wearing the seatbelt, it will retract just a little bit. The belt will give you a mild tug, gauge your body dimensions and then loosen up. Why did it just do that? To know exactly how much to lock up in case of an accident.

• E350 V6 petrol was also available in the previous-gen W211 E Class, but only as a limited edition (60 unit production). Was priced @ 60 lakh rupees!

• Identical 7 gear ratios between the two engines. However, the diesel has a taller final drive (2.47 versus 3.07 for the petrol).

• Electric lumbar support has fantastic range. Vertical adjustment is good, but the horizontal range is simply superb. Another Mercedes trait : The front seats have generous travel (front / back adjustment).

• No increase in the number of airbags. 6 in total (same as BMW 5). Safe enough I guess, though we expected 7.

• Windscreen washer nozzles are heated!

• Autobox has two reverse gear ratios!

• General cruising around town or the highway : Slushbox upshifts at 2,000 rpms or less. Relaxed behaviour + high on refinement.

• V6 Petrol : When driving aggressively, use the paddle shifts. Else, the auto-boxes constant down / up shifting will annoy passengers. You can instead use the paddle shifts to hold on to a gear.

• Point the key to the driver’s door sensor (next to the door handle). Press unlock twice to open all windows / sunroof. Press lock twice to do the opposite. Convenient.

• Take the badges off previous gen E Class’ and even a kid will be able to identify it as a Mercedes. Not so with this E Class (especially the rear profile).

• Seat leather is top grade and feels durable enough to last two decades.

• A little birdie tells us that Merc’s 4 / 5 year maintenance packages are on the way. WHEN, Mercedes, WHEN?

• Can switch the ESP (traction control) off when you want to have some fun. But not entirely, it’s always watching over the driver like a big brother and will kick back in if it senses any trouble.

• Fuel tank lid : Push to open, push to shut.

• At high blower speeds, the rear air-con vents get rather loud. Upto level 3 is acceptable, take the blower higher and it’s too loud for a luxurious sedan.

• Material of the seat back pockets is thick and durable. Contoured shape doesn’t make it a good place to keep your books or magazines (will deform).

• High-perched boot can affect visibility (especially when parallel parking).

• The climate control has a “REST” button that can be used to keep the interiors heated / ventilated for about half an hour. Though it may have some limited use in most parts of India, probably high value in cold climates (rare in India, more utility in the west) to keep the car warm.

• Light steering at high speeds is a direct result of market feedback (new genre of customers doesn’t like driving “heavy” Mercedes). Most people will be happy with the behavior at high speed, enthusiasts left wanting.

• I was happy to see an ashtray, lighter and placeholder for a single Marlboro stick

• Rear windscreen curtain has electric up / down controls. Also, when reversing, you can slide the rear seat headrests down via a button on the center console. Unlike older Mercs where they would drop, these slide down.

• Mercedes now has 29 outlets spread across India (dealership + service station combined).

• 80 liter fuel tank. The same petrol engine in the S350 gives about 5.9 kpl in the city and 9 kpl on the highway (according to our Ownership reviews). From the diesel, expect 8 kpl in the city, and atleast 11.5 kpl on the highway.

• Comes kitted with an "advanced parking guidance" + Parktronic. Mercs explanation of this feature "At speeds below 25 mph, the system uses discrete, side-mounted radar sensors to scan for spaces at least 1.8 m longer than the vehicle. Below 10 mph, a “P” symbol appears in the instrument cluster display if a space has been identified. When you begin your parking manoeuvre, steering directions appear in the display to guide you into the space. These show both your ideal and actual path, allowing you to correct steering until the two paths coincide. As with the familiar Parktronic system, audible warning tones alert you to the proximity of stationary objects."

Last edited by GTO : 7th December 2009 at 10:54.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:07   #7
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The Smaller yet significant things:

See the coffee symbol? Your driving is continuously judged on 70 parameters. And if the E feels you need a break, the MID will ask you to take a refreshment stop:

Full electric seats with memory function:

Dual sun-visors for driver and front passenger. Protection from glare at the front as well as the sides:

Air-con vents on the B pillar for rear passengers:

4-way electric lumbar support button. Neat looking Mercedes door scuff plate:

Storage drawers under either front seat:

Some things are still "Made in Germany" :

Retractable handbag hook in the boot. Can hold two:

Device on top is the rear parking sensor. The rear neck restraints / headrests are now soft (unlike the ultra-hard compound of yesteryear Mercedes). Well cushioned:

Headlamp washer in action:

Built to cruise:

Look closely at the cheap looking "neck-pro" branding. 4 of them (2 on each front seat)!:

Ditto for the "Isofix" brand. An oversight perhaps?:

Puddle lamps located under the ORVMs:

Storage + cup holders under rear center armrest. Car has 4 in total that can hold 1 liter bottles too:

V6 Petrol - Recommended RON is 95 (minimum 91):

Sticks out like a sore thumb. Cheesy looking white lamp above the rear bench:

Dual layer glovebox has the USB jack and a 12V connection:

Small touch. On the bottom of the mirror, you'll see an orange dot. That's part of the ambient lighting and subtly throws light on the center console:

Last edited by GTO : 23rd November 2009 at 18:54.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:08   #8
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Comments from BHPian Mad_Monkey, a previous gen E-Class owner (E280 CDI)

1) Both cars are different trim levels. The W211 is an "elegance" and the W212 is a higher "avantgarde". Money Wise and feature wise, the W212 is comparatively better value for money.

2) The W212 has more interior space and leg room at the rear .

3) The Head lights of the the W211 are much brighter and have way better throw , especially in full beam.

4) Personally I prefer the ride of the W211. The ride of the W212 is much more comfort orientated which is very good for the type of customer they are targeting .

5) The rear of the W212 is just to bland to my liking. I don't like the rear LED tail lights.

6) Like the front, but don't like the LED DRL on the bumpers. They don't go to well with the overall look of the car.

7) The power mirror buttons are too small and fiddly.

8) Left side outside rear view mirror is still flat and is extremely inconvenient.

9) Finally Mercedes Benz India is giving a full size alloy spare wheel and 2 Spare Osram Xenon bulbs.

10) Still no fire extinguisher below the front passenger seat. Standard with Mercedes Benz cars worldwide.

11) Finally they have fitted puddle lights under the outside rear view mirror . They were present in the W210 but not in the w211.

12) Prefer the 4 zone climate control of the w211.

13) The buttons on the dashboard of the w212 are just too small. The center console looks extremely cluttered. The dashboard overall feels a bit too crowded.

14) Front wipers can finally be lifted without marking the bonnet.

15) New bonnet release catch is cumbersome.

16) Instrument cluster has too much clutter in just one area.

17) Blend of the sportiness of the C-class and the luxury of the S-class.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:10   #9
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Racelogic Acceleration Timing Data (E350 V6 Petrol)

Speed : 100.12 km/hr
Time : 7.89 seconds
Distance : 128.26 meters

Mercedes E-Class (E350) : Test Drive & Review-w212-run1.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 23rd November 2009 at 18:54.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:22   #10
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AMAZING review GTO. One of the best you have done. It's a beauty!
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:28   #11
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Fantastic review GTO . Nice pics. Quality looks impressive. Tan leather seats looks fantastic (right word = GORGEOUS). Overall design is good (could have done better with the rear design).
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:38   #12
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Great review, Arush! You have covered each and everything bout this car!!
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:42   #13
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That is a highly comprehensive review on the new E-Class. I'd say it's even better than what Autocar India had reviewed!
This car is only meant for people who want rear comfort rather than someone who wants performance. It's not even a good looker, this E. As GTO said, the rear is Un-Mercedes.+1 to that.
IMO nothing in the class can beat the 5 series!
But I'm surprised why has Merc only launched just 1 trim, the E350 Avantgarde? Which was the best selling variant in case of the W211?
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:47   #14
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Wowww....Excellent review GTO.Really loved reading every bit of this review.I must say that the photographs are really awesome..Hat's off to you
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:50   #15
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Another great one for the review collection!

A few additional points & my perspective :

• The more i look at the front, the more it looks like a true-blooded Merc. Infact, to me the front looks more "traditional merc" than the earlier two Es. The rear on the otherhand is totally unrecognizable.

• The steering lightness means you have to be very conscious of steering input at high-speeds (even 120+). Add to that the belief that mercs always pull to the left = constant corrections required.

• The flat left ORVM is absolutely worthless. It gives you a small tunnel of a view of whats behind you and ends up being more of a waste of time than anything.

• This car was made for wafting around in "C"omfort mode. "S" mode is not as enjoyable as it could be due to the inevitable shifting and linear power delivery. Paddles help when trying to have fun.

• The engine sound was like a whine (didn't thrill me much) and i was surprised at how noticeable it was in the cabin at anything above 2500rpm.

• The ContiSportContact 3 (ie a fairly high performance / sport oriented tyre) are positioned on par with Michelin Pilot Sport 2. Its safe to assume that the other variants will not come with the same tyres - and therefore hopefully eliminating the tyre noise problem it had on concrete roads.

• Not much lateral support on the front seats - as they are very wide.

• The rear bench seat-back angle is really comfortable.

• Unfortunately, the large NECK-PRO branding (x4) on the base of the front headrests will probably be the first thing you notice when you get into the rear seats.

• My view on the "Comand" : it has potential for so much more in terms of functionality and interface - but its totally under-utilized. The graphical interface can't even compare with windows 3.11!

• Having a SWITCH to put the transmission into P (as opposed to having to shift) made it very easy and convenient to put the car in and out of Park, say when stopped at a signal. This is useful since the Brake-HOLD function does not work in "S" mode.

• Toggle controls on the AC for temperature / fanspeed etc are sweet and intuitive. Though the temperature control red/blue colors have a certain "hot-pink" neon cheesyness to them.

• The LED boomerangs give the front a very recognizable head-light profile when seen approaching in other cars' RVMs.

• Chrome key adds some premium bling!

• Split armrest storage door might seem like a gimmick, but they are very useful when one of the front occupants has to open the compartment to get something while the other occupants arm is on it.

• Loved the ambient lighting. Really made you feel like you were sitting in something special once the sun sets.

• No mudflaps on the recent Es! This leaves a mess on the body, behind the wheels in wet / dirty conditions.

Views after driving the E350 CDI :

  • The most unnerving thing about the petrol E350 we drove was the super-light steering at high speeds. This has been fixed in the Diesel. My guess is that tweaks have been made to the speed-sensitive steering to resolve this issue.
  • The engine is incredibly quiet, inside and out. Infact, when inside, it is quieter than the petrol (whos engine note was clearly audible post 3000rpm).
  • Even though peak torque ends at 2400rpm, the diesel mill pulls cleanly and effortlessly till 4000rpm. After that it runs out of steam and redline is around 4200-4300rpm.
  • In (S)port mode, the Petrol had an irritating behavior of the 7G transmission downshifting at every dab of the throttle. In the CDI this is not as noticable (wider torque, less engine noise to make it obvious when RPM changes, etc)
  • Unlike the petrol with came with comparatively noisier (on concrete roads) ContiContactSport tyres, the CDI has Pirellis that seem to handle them a little better.
  • You can turn this engine on right away, no need to warm up the plugs before cranking.
  • All in all, other than the slightly higher price, i really cant think of a single reason why anyone would choose the petrol over the CDI diesel!


Last edited by Rehaan : 1st November 2011 at 16:57. Reason: Video added
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