What car experts say about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.

 

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

 

Now in its 10th generation, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class midsize sedan has been a well-groomed workhorse in the brand’s stable for decades. An extensive refresh endows the 2017 model with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder base engine, a more lavish interior, and the latest advanced safety features and semi-autonomous driving technology. The E-Class’s self-driving technology lets the car change lanes, stay within lane markings on the highway, and maintain speed limits and following distances in intervals of up to one minute.

The E-Class, which slots between the brand’s bestselling C-Class four-door compact car and its flagship S-Class executive sedan, enjoys a versatility that’s easy to maneuver and upscale enough to impress clients. The sedan comes with five drive modes that tune the throttle, brakes, and transmission to handle a variety of road conditions. Fuel economy is slightly below average for the class: 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for the base model.

Inside, Mercedes-Benz designers have devoted painstaking attention to details, creating a luxurious cabin with flowing lines, natural grain wood trim, and a 64-color ambient lighting system.

While the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class hasn’t been tested by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety yet, the 2016 model earned the group’s Top Safety Pick+ designation for its crashworthiness and advanced automatic braking system.

Starting at $52,000, the E-Class is more expensive than rivals such as the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, and Cadillac CTS.

 

What the experts are saying

Trailblazing, but still a sedan
“The latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a technological tour de force—as well it should be, as it is arguably the spiritual heart of the Mercedes-Benz brand. It offers some of the most semi-autonomous drive features in the marketplace right now; its interior displays are cutting-edge and offer some interesting new interface ideas, and of course the engineering of both the powertrain and chassis [platform] are simply immaculate. By all rights, the car should be a runaway hit, but it does face a significant challenge. With the luxury marketplace moving away from sedans and towards crossover SUVs, even the best luxury sedans like E-Class are having trouble retaining the interest of luxury customers, particularly the younger and more tech-savvy ones that Mercedes-Benz would love to attract.” – Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at marketing research and consulting firm AutoPacific

A leg up on its German rivals
“Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW have been locked in a battle for supremacy in the midsize executive segment for decades. The new E-Class vaults Mercedes to the front of the competitive pack because of its technical innovation. The sedan is a mechanized assemblage of radars, sensors, and processors that are tasked with keeping the vehicle on the road and its occupants out of harm’s way — even without the driver’s input. While the new aluminum-intensive chassis and body is noteworthy, the nine-speed gearbox is more fuel-efficient than ever, and its luxury quotient has been significantly raised. The W213-platform E-Class will be remembered as a giant step forward toward an autonomous automotive future.” – Michael Harley, director of automotive insights at Kelley Blue Book

More technology than the state-of-the-art S-Class sedan
“Mercedes-Benz launched the latest E-Class with a technology suite that improved on the latest S-Class, as technology migrates down through automaker lineups faster than ever. Even as U.S. and global buyers are increasingly choosing utility vehicles over sedans, the E-Class is one of Mercedes’ best-selling and core products. The brand’s best-selling product in the U.S. remains the C-Class, with the E-Class and GLC utility vehicle each vying for second-best. The E-Class offers the presence of Mercedes in a midsize sedan, with appointments more similar to its bigger brother S-Class than the smaller C-Class. While the C-Class is, within the Mercedes range, an affordable option, the E-Class offers formal Mercedes sedan presence.”  Stephanie Brinley, analyst for analytics firm IHS Markit

 

For more information on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class visit a Mercedes-Benz dealership near you.