Automaker Mercedes-Benz may be in the midst of a new-model frenzy, but the German luxury brand’s international mainstay is, was, and likely always will be the E-Class family of cars. With body styles ranging from coupe to sedan, convertible through station wagon, there is quite literally an E-Class variant to appeal to almost every automotive taste.
All deliver refined good looks (though to be frank, we’re glad Mercedes dropped the overdone pontoon rear fenders on the 2014 E-Class sedan redesign), comfortable and well-appointed interiors and solid build quality. Thankfully, the road manners of the current generation have improved, too, meaning that the E-Class now feels more capable and athletic than it has in the past.
The best-looking car in the family is still the coupe (thanks to its just-right proportions), though all models embrace a distinct and Teutonic design language. All variants are much more angular than the E-Class of the recent past, but we say that’s a step up from the wide-eyed headlight look of the previous generation. If we had to guess, we’d say that the E-Class’ designers were given instructions to make the car look more masculine, and we’d say “mission accomplished.”
The interior’s recent restyle pays dividends, giving it a more contemporary and upscale feel than in the last version. While base E-Class models make due with vinyl and inexpensive wood trim, available upgrades can wrap the buyer in premium leather, surrounded by furniture-grade wood or aluminum trim. The new E-Class’ cabin manages to blend traditional and modern luxury rather well, something that the brand hasn’t always been able to pull off in the past.
The E-Class’ choice of drivetrains is no less daunting than its choice of body styles. Engine options range from the base 3.5-liter V-6 (rated at 302 horsepower) found in the E350, to the twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8 (rated at 402 horsepower) found in the E550, to the AMG-built, biturbo 5.5-liter V-8 (rated at 518 horsepower) found in the E63 AMG. Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive complicates your choices further, since it’s now available on E350 sedans and the E350 coupe (but comes standard on the E550 sedan). A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard across the range, and even the E350 is capable of a sub-seven-second dash to 60 mph. If you want more schnell
in your sedan, the E63 AMG can hit the same velocity from a standstill in just 4.1 seconds.
Perhaps you’re more concerned with fuel economy than performance, in which case there are still two additional E-Class models to choose from. Those driving mostly city miles may want to consider the E400 Hybrid, while those who spend more time on the interstate may want to shop the E350 BlueTEC diesel, which serves up a generous 600-mile-per-tank range.
No matter which E-Class model best suits your tastes and budget, all get adjustable suspension settings, improved second-row room over the previous generation, a seven-speed automatic transmission that boosts both performance and fuel economy and the bank-vault-solidity that customers have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz. Major options include things like voice-controlled navigation, a rearview camera, a 610-watt audio system and massaging seats.
Safety is a key selling point, too, and both the E-Class coupe and sedan have earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS. Optional safety features include things like blind spot detection, drowsy driver alert, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
For a more comprehensive review of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class range, see our complete write-up on The Car Connection