Mercedes Benz E Class Diesel
By The Car Family
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We have owned a Mercedes diesel for over 35 years and it has proven both reliable and efficient even with 500,000 miles on the engine. We have also tested the new Volkswagen and Audi diesels and found them excellent. However, nothing prepared us for effortless and clean running Bluetec diesel engine that Mercedes is placing in its E Class sedan.
If you can afford the $50,000 plus price tag this is the way to go, but don’t let that price fool you. The resale on these diesels is awesome for many reasons. First, you get an engine that produces nearly 400 pounds of torque that turns mountains into hills while using less fuel. Secondly, you’ll have lower tune-up costs since a diesel does not have an ignition system. Finally, diesels have a well-proven reputation of being good for hundreds of thousands of miles.
If you want to challenge your kidneys, you can go over 700 miles before the sedan’s 21 gallon fuel tank needs replenishing. In other words, you can drive from the Los Angeles to Santa Fe, New Mexico without refueling. But what is most outstanding is the fact that the Bluetec isn’t smelly or noisy or even difficult to start. Once underway it is easy to get to 60 mph in less than seven seconds in a sedan that weights 4000 pounds thanks to its V6 turbo diesel and seven speed transmission.
Mercedes is offering some really trick options such as night vision, a Pre-Safe Brake that automatically stops the car if the forward-looking radar detects that a crash is imminent, and Highbeam assist that automatically switches between high and low beams based on the distance to other vehicles. There is also comfort and sport suspension setting available, a driver knee airbag, front pelvic airbags, and Agility Control. The headlights are terrific.
Mom’s view: Love at first sniff. No odor, no soot, and no waiting. This is the car for me. The ride is tight; the handling far better than any other diesel, and it has a small turning radius, too. Although I felt the steering was too light, it was very easy to park and on the highway had a good on center feel. The many safety features are reassuring and bank vault feel of the doors adds to that feeling. This Benz is easy to park, has an ample trunk, comfortable seats, and plenty of power for those trips to the mountains.
Dad’s view: Outside of a light chattering at idle, the Bluetec is quiet and energetic. Using Mercedes’ rear wheel drive layout the sedan is well balanced thanks to a four-wheel multilink system. Acceleration is linear, with the best performance coming in passing situations. The ride is firm and very comfortable over all road surfaces. The engine sound is well isolated and the E-Class cabin quiet and comfy. Overall, a special vehicle for those that like their comfort, economy, and performance in one package.
Young working woman’s view: Elegant, understated, wood and leather done with taste, and every control feels like sterling silver rather than silver plate. Of course, I constantly got the cruise control and turn signal stalks mixed up, but an owner would quickly learn the difference. The GPS is too complex for easy use, the seats are almost as good as those in a Volvo or Saab, and the lumbar support is perfectly placed for even us taller folk. The test car had heated and ventilated front seats that every woman needs to try.
You feel like you are in control of a fine yacht as the Mercedes E-Class cheerfully and obediently navigates life’s unpredictable waters. The security of the four year/50,000 mile warranty helps. If you feel the need to be different for $6000 more you can sooth your fanny with optional Nappa leather surfaces.
Outside of the Command system, a navigation monitor that sits too low to easily read, the poor choice of colors on the GPS and its very complex operating instructions and its slow response this is a perfect car for the professional woman interested in making a statement about individuality.
Young man’s view: The GPS didn’t work for me. The only good thing is that Mercedes has placed a dandy little LCD screen in the center gauge cluster that is easy to read and well located. The driver’s computer also has a readout that is very clear and provides information on everything, including the satellite station you are on since reverting to the Command system is tedious.
Our test vehicle had the $4000 plus Premium II package that equipped the E-Class with GPS, Sirius Satellite Radio, hands free phone capability, a power rear sunshade, a smart key system, and xenon headlights. I really liked the $500 electronic trunk lid closer. Just press the small button and its lowers or raises itself while you run inside.
The Harman Kardon 12-speaker 420-watt digital surround-sound audio system has a six-disc in-dash changer capable of playing discs and MP3s and the whole system is magnificent. If you feel adventurous try and find the auxiliary input jack. It took me a while before I found it in the glove box. Interesting choice as you can hide you iPod there, too.
Family conference: The perfect sedan for the frugal who also want performance. If you love your cake this is the Mercedes to own.
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