Ok, so bit of a curve ball. I’m reviewing the most ‘grown-up’ of cars to date on our platform… after all those long hours of hard work trying to build our characters as opposites: Me being the ‘as long as its fast’ kind of guy and Matt being the sensible, comfort and family-oriented type. And if that isn’t enough, he got to review the latest Toyota Supra… I’m not mad… if you missed that one, read all about it here.
Back on track: ‘Smart’, ‘stylish’, ‘sophisticated’ are just a few words that come to mind at the mere mention of the words ‘Mercedes E-class’. Sure, the S-class is the flagship for the company, but funnily enough the E-class always gets the toys that its older brother gets, just a bit later… aaaand for cheaper. Both models are always at the vanguard as technology advances, getting all the latest gadgets.
The beauty of the E-class line is in its diversity. The range of body styles available is just staggering, including an Estate, a Coupe’, a Cabriolet and the CLS, which is just a fancier E-class… don’t @ me.
All of these models are in addition to the traditional four-door saloon, which I have had the pleasure of taking for a ride thanks to Kind’s Malta. Now, just like all models mentioned, this one also has a variety of engine types and sizes from which to choose from. Diesel, petrol, hybrids… the lot basically. I was given the opportunity to drive the most ‘well-received’ option on our island (their words, not mine) :the 220d. At least it was the avantgarde version.
As we’ve come to expect from Mercedes these days, this car looks stunning. The car just exudes a mature attitude and an executive feel. Sure in black you look like a taxi but that’s more of a local problem. Thanks, Malta.
Mercedes have changed up the front end making it more elegant and sporty, I guess. They have also added what they call ‘power domes’ (basically just ridges) on the bonnet of the AMG lines for a more aggressive look. The front also changes depending on which version you go for. Obviously its too much to show in this review, but trust me, they’re all an improvement in my opinion.
All cars now come with LED headlights as standard. The new taillights also mimic the ones on the A-class which go into the booth. My biggest complaint, the fake exhausts man. Why do we still have fake exhausts?? I kind of understand it on the smaller engine models like this one. But not the AMG versions. Mercedes .. shame.
Here comes the fun part, the interior is mesmerizing. Soooo sophisticated. Just sitting down in the front seat looking at it was just a treat. There are a few key updates from the previous iterations of the E-class’ interior.
First of all, the steering wheel has been updated. There are a few different versions of the steering wheel, but the entry level one which we tested out left nothing else to be desired. The infotainment system has also been updated and is now fully digital, sporting two 12 inch screens with the new Mercedes MBUX system which we’ll talk about later.
The biggest improvement comes when looking at the infotainment system’s controller, which is now a very comfortable and ergonomic touchpad on the centre console. The previous iteration’s jog wheel was pretty weird I have to say. The whole infotainment system can be controlled using the touch sensitive screen, the touchpad on the console and the touch sensitive controls on the steering wheel which I found to be fairly uncomfortable and relatively un-responsive when comparing to the very user-friendly touchpad.
The seats were very comfortable, covered fully in man-made leather with an amazing finish and feel. The interior also sports LED lighting running through the dashboard, door cards and centre console, which gave the car a surprisingly homey feel to it (I have loads of LED lights at home, don’t judge) Needless to say, the whole experience of it was extremely comfortable.
It’s impossible to mention all the technological aspects that make this car as comfortable and as safe as it is, but here are my two cents.
The MBUX system I mentioned earlier is a multimedia system which uses AI and augmented reality to not only improve safety while driving but also the experience. If for example I drive to work everyday while listening to a specific radio station, the MBUX system will somehow figure that out, and once I start up the car the next morning, the radio will automatically switch to the mentioned radio station, and the SATNAV will direct me to work automatically.
The E-class also has the Mercedes Urban Guard, which is a system that communicates with you through the Mercedes app when the car is parked. If someone is trying to tow, steal from or damage the car, the system will alert you through the app.
Testing this thing was something out of the ordinary for me. I was left conflicted by the end and not for the reason you might expect.
Ok, so… can a car be TOO comfortable? I don’t know yet. I had an OK time driving this car. The steering wheel was very responsive, the adaptive suspension was jaw-droppingly comfortable and the overall experience was relaxing. But that’s just it, sure the 2.0L Diesel engine isn’t one that I might call slow, it offers acceleration speeds that are more than enough for our roads, but the dampening of the suspensions, the noise-cancelling interior and the non-existing engine sound just made the experience for me kind of bland.
Something I must praise Mercedes for is the placement of the shifter, which instead of being placed on the centre console, it is located now behind the steering wheel where the indicator toggle would be on a Japanese car (right side). Maneuverability of the car was also impeccable, all round cameras paired with the light steering wheel made it so easy to park such a big car.
Fab’s Rating: 7/10
This by all means, is an amazing car. One I’d happily drive everyday as a daily driver, but the petrol-head in me tells me that this isn’t the type of car you’d want for a weekend drive. Sure, you can always go for a bigger engine, which I can imagine is miles ahead when it comes to driving experience, but that would mean spending more. You can decide that for yourself… comfort or performance?
N.B. This car will be featured in the upcoming season of Revved.