2017 Mercedes

Many of today’s mid-kích cỡ luxury sedans fetishize sportiness, but there are still hordes of customers in this space for whom sports-car-challenging Nürburgring lap times, quiông chồng steering, & firm suspension tuning matters little. These folks would be well served by the newest Mercedes-Benz E-class, which boldly goes its own way by placing comfort before sportiness. Our first encounter with the 2017 E-class took place in crowded Lisbon, Portugal, and largely focused on its arsenal of semi-autonomous và active-safety technologies. We’ve sầu since had a much longer run at the new E-class in U.S.-spec E300 4MATIC form in California &, having already covered its self-driving features & tech in great detail from Portugal, this Đánh Giá homes in on the Benz’s merit as an automobile—one driven by a human.

The Incredible Not-Sporty Sedan!

Merriam-Webster’s definition of luxury is “a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, & wealth.” While the E-class’s (optional) ability lớn drive itself for up khổng lồ 60 seconds at a time would seem to fit that definition, so, too, does the car’s comportment when your hands are on the wheel & your feet work the pedals. Everything about the primary controls feels numbed to lớn minimize driver effort or fuss. In any drive sầu mode—a range that includes Comfort, Eteo, Thể Thao, Sport+, and Individual settings—the steering wheel spins with a positive, albeit liquid, damped movement. As cornering forces build, so does the steering’s sense of weightiness, but the delta in effort isn’t huge and there’s no pesky road feel to jiggle your fingers. The sportier drive sầu modes raise the baseline steering heft somewhat, but the E never requires that the driver throw a shoulder into lớn it. Similarly, the brake pedal moves through a squishy, pudding-like resistance after an initial zone of không tính phí play yet responds khổng lồ the first tap of pressure.

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Mercedes-Benz offers three suspension setups for the E300, a pair of traditional steel-sprung configurations with continuously adaptive (but not driver-adjustable) electronic dampers & a $1900 air suspension choice, all of which can be described as comfort-oriented. For the E300 Sport, the adaptive sầu dampers are slightly firmer, while the no-cost E300 Luxury trim is tuned more softly. (The Thể Thao and the Luxury are otherwise pretty much the same, although with different grille designs.) The E’s brain works with the dampers to continuously adapt khổng lồ changing conditions, firming things up in corners & relaxing them when driving in a straight line. For the most part the ride is compliant & composed. Over pockmarked pavement, however, the electronics weren’t quichồng enough khổng lồ stiffen rebound damping (the resistance khổng lồ allowing the suspension khổng lồ decompress, say, as the car crests a hill) or to settle the suspension after larger dips in the road, leading to some secondary bobbing.

The optional air springs tamp down this tendency while adding even more polish to the ride & additional driver control over the suspension’s stiffness. A slight bobbing sensation when quickly throwing the E300 inkhổng lồ corners or when the suspension settled on the far side of large road heaves remained present—even in the firmest Sport+ drive mode. Given the E300’s utter laông xã of sporting pretense, the cosseting tendency is easily forgiven, particularly given that it doesn’t take away from the car’s secure handling & confident braking. It may not reach the màn chơi of fun, but the E300 4MATIC doesn’t go all catawampus when thrown around.

Are You Not Infotained?

Sitting atop the E300’s suspension is an attractive sầu, if slightly too familiar, body. Simply put, the E-class looks lượt thích a C-class you’re standing too cthất bại to lớn, or an S-class you’re a few steps farther away from. But the familial relationship is welcome in the well-isolated and quite attractive sầu interior filled with soft-touch plastics, real wood, & slivers of metal. We sampled only the incredibly comfortable Active Multicontour front seats, a lovely pair of chairs filled with electronically controlled air bladders that offer a wide range of positions và back-massage functions. There are even six bladders in each lower cushion that support a butt-massage setting wherein air bladders gently juggle your cheeks like a grocery shopper determining the heavier of two cantaloupes.

The cabin’s centerpiece is a standard high-resolution 12.3-inch central display running Benz’s COMAND infotainment interface and Apple CarPlay và Android Aulớn integration, along with a 7.0-inch driver-information display between a pair of analog gauges, all of which is fitted to lớn a large rectangular pod mounted high on the dashboard. A second 12.3-inch screen can replace the gauge cluster’s pair of analog gauges and smaller driver-information display for $850, but this requires the most comprehensive sầu (và expensive) of the E300’s three available premium packages, effectively bringing the total cost khổng lồ add that second screen to $12,100. (The Premium 1 and 2 packages cost $3950 & $7650 and are supplemented by only a handful of individual options.) Based on the digital gauge cluster’s looks, as well as the Premium 3 package’s deep roster of must-have features, which include the semi-autonomous gear, we anticipate most of the E300s parked on dealer lots will be so equipped.

If you place stock in the luxury of choice, then Mercedes has you covered when it comes lớn operating the E300’s displays. In addition khổng lồ hard-button shortcuts to lớn key menus—radio, truyền thông, phone, navigation, and settings—the E300 also responds to voice-control inputs; clicks & spins of the COMAND knob on the center console; smartphone-style taps, clicks, and swipes on the touchpad mounted above the COMAND knob; and up/down, left/right swipes và clicks on a pair of thumb-operable touchpads on the steering wheel (intuitively, the left pad works the driver display, the right manipulates the central display). We preferred using the steering-wheel controls, but the knob & the touchpad work well, too, so long as you don’t delve too deeply into the system. Dig beyond the first two layers of the thực đơn structure, & things can get fiddly; luckily, comtháng settings such as radio-station tuning, zoom for the navigation map, và seat mas sa are easily accessed in the first tier.


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An Engine—It Has One

Outside of the AMG-fettled, higher-performance E43 & the expected E63 variants, the E-class comes exclusively in four-cylinder E300 guise. This is worthy of discussion only because most competitors offer optional six-cylinder engines without forcing buyers khổng lồ step inkhổng lồ AMG equivalents. Ultimately, customers will vote with their wallets on whether a vehicle capable of being optioned lớn more than $75,000 needs more cylinders, but the low-key engine is appropriately matched khổng lồ the rest of the E’s dynamic capabilities, even when mated khổng lồ the 4MATIC drive sầu system like the cars we drove for most of our time in California. The turbocharged 2.0-liter’s 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque are on par with the entry-level engines in BMW’s 5-series, Audi’s A6, and others, và it contends with an E-class that’s about 150 pounds lighter than before, so acceleration is uneventful but not terribly slow. The engine is almost diesel-like, with the nine-speed automatic transmission doing a fine job of firing off snappy shifts và selecting the right gear lớn take advantage of the low-down torque. With this sort of power, the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system goes unnoticed, not affecting performance in any way besides contributing traction, và then only in the slipperiest conditions. It adds about 140 pounds to the curb weight & $2500 to lớn the price.

The powertrain’s only vices are the fainthử nghiệm hints of four-cylinder booming in certain low-rpm, high-gear situations (entering a slight grade on the highway, for example) và the transmission’s insistence on passing through fifth gear during full-throttle downshifts. Floor the gas pedal while at a cruise, and the transmission will drop from seventh, eighth, or ninth gear all the way lớn third—but not before briefly hanging up at fifth. We fully expect that 99 percent of E-class buyers won’t notice or care, even if the foible adds a short delay khổng lồ red-mist passing maneuvers, as does the mass of the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive sầu hardware.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive sầu, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

BASE PRICE: $55,575

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged và intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum bloông xã and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 122 cu in, 1991 ccPower: 241 hp
1300 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 115.7 inLength: 193.8 inWidth: 72.9 in Height: 57.8 inPassenger volume: 98 cu ftCargo volume: 13 cu ftCurb weight (C/D est): 3900-4050 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):Zero khổng lồ 60 mph: 6.6 secZero to 100 mph: 16.5 secStanding ¼-mile: 15.1 secTop speed: 130 mph

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