beauty without the beast

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Mercedes- Benz E- Class -

Von San­den says the E220 CDI re­flects the grow­ing ac­cep­tance of mod­ern diesel tech­nol­ogy by Aus­tralian cus­tomers.

The E350 costs $2965 less than the out­go­ing model, yet has more than $10,000 in ex­tra stan­dard equip­ment. The E500 sedan is $11,232 more ex­pen­sive but gets about $21,000 worth of ad­di­tional stan­dard gear.

The E350 gets front and rear park­ing sen­sors with park­ing guid­ance, seven-speed G-tronic au­to­matic, the lane-keep­ing pack­age with blind-spot alarm, at­ten­tion as­sist, 18-inch al­loys, bi-xenon head­lights with adap­tive high-beam as­sist and cruise con­trol.

It also has split/fold rear seats, cuphold­ers, ca­ble for the iPod in­put, multi-con­tour front seats and mul­ti­zone cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing.

The E500 ups the ante with key­less en­try and go, more lux­u­ri­ous front seats, alarm and sun­blinds in the rear and side-rear seats.

It has enough room and lash­ings of leather to please all oc­cu­pants front and back.

The twin-head­lights front re­mains, but the front is more upright around the fa­mil­iar Mercedes grille.

The over­all look is ma­ture, but from some an­gles not as re­solved as the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. Time will tell how well the de­sign will wear.

Buy­ers ini­tially have the choice of the E350 3.0-litre V6 petrol or the E500 5.5-litre V8.

With the im­pres­sive tur­bod­iesels arriving in Septem­ber, the petrol 3.0-litre V6 may be over­taken in the per­for­mance stakes.

Both the E350 and E500 have gained weight, but the ben­e­fit is added safety and a qui­eter car. How­ever, with 200kW and 350Nm on tap it’s a lot to ask the V6 to pro­pel the hefty 1711kg E350 sedan.

On pa­per, Mercedes quotes a zero to 100km/h sprint of 6.3 sec­onds for the V6 and 5.2 sec­onds for the V8.

On the road, though, both en­gines do not feel very brisk. It may be be­cause the cabin is so quiet you don’t get any sense of speed.

The ride over­all in the V6 is com­posed, the di­rect con­trol steer­ing works well and the im­pres­sive seats set a bench­mark for other brands in com­fort and sup­port.

The E500 gets the lat­est air sus­pen­sion with adap­tive dampers. It de­liv­ers a plush ride on the com­fort set­ting, but feels best on the firmer set­ting, which adds pre­ci­sion.

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