• 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."