MERCEDES-BENZ E 350 d L
Longer and more luxurious, the all-new E-Class aims to be the new benchmark
ENGTHY PROCEDURES OFTEN INVOLVE mixed reactions. It’s one thing at the dentist’s, but when it comes to building cars, it’s a different story. In Germany, there are always procedures. Building cars entails particularly long ones. Sometimes you have to make something happen for yourself. That’s just what Mercedes of India have done.
Long-wheelbase models are a rage in China. Understandably, most European luxury car brands have at least one stretched model in their line-ups. MercedesBenz have two. The C-Class and the E-Class. Of course, the Chinese only drive petrol engines, while seated on the left. In a bold move, no less than a statement, MercedesBenz have introduced the E-Class L in India, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, produced at Chakan, near Pune, no less.
The 10th-generation E-Class, the W213, was given to the world not too long ago. It featured a host of styling updates to bring it more in line with the family resemblance, sitting — just as pretty — between the CClass and the S-Class. The headlamps, thankfully, are far different from its smaller and larger siblings, as they well should be. The E-Class has been recognised by its distinct split headlamps. Of course, the much earlier models and the more recent model, the W212, made do with unique light design inside a single light cluster. The new W213, or V213 as it is coded for its long wheelbase, features unique LED signatures that appear to split the headlamp cluster into two. Unique it certainly is, then.
The lines on the car are familiar, but new, and much, much longer. In fact, the 3,079-mm wheelbase of the new E-Class is a full 205 mm longer than the outgoing W212’s, 140 mm more than the W213 global model, and, wait for it, 44 millimetres more than even the standardwheelbase S-Class. However, with a body length of 5,063 mm, the E is only slightly shorter than the S by 49 mm. But before we forget, we only have the long-wheelbase S-Class here, so this E-Class, and in this case for the E 350 d L, its price of Rs 69.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) puts it in a sweet spot.
Inside, though, is a spread that sets it apart from the rest, and how! Borrowing quite a few elements from the larger S-Class, the new E boasts of a full-colour high-resolution information display with dual dials behind the steering wheel incorporating another smaller screen that acts as a selectable info-display. Light swipes of the fingertips is all it takes to operate the steering-mounted touchpads, too. The left controls the main display in the centre console, whereas the right shuffles through the driver info-display, displaying current speed, trip, odo, and even real-time fuel consumption.
The highlight of the new E-Class, however, is its extended form of luxury. The front leather seats are comfortable and supportive, thanks to multiple adjustment possibilities. While they are good to be in they will mostly seat a chauffeur. That’s because the rear seats are where one will enjoy spending time in the car. The reclining seatbacks allow for proper relaxation. That aspect is furthered by the 920 mm of room, enough to stretch, and the soft head-rest pillows that seem to be straight from the S. Needless to say, it is a veritable cocoon of luxury. The sound deadening is also far better than that in the outgoing model. The electric sunblinds on the windows and rear screen, the panoramic sun-roof, the climate control, and the overall quality feel do make it seem like a good choice. Then there’s the air suspension and ride quality.
The E 350 d L does seem to waft just as well as its elder sibling. It
runs 17-inch wheels with 225/55 Good Year Eagle relatively high-profile rubber. The double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear are paired with Air Body Control, which uses pneumatics and continuous damping control to filter out any unevenness in ride quality. The same setup also allows the ride height to be raised by 15 millimetres, from a rather low 120 mm to a reasonably high 135 mm. The car automatically lowers at speed or during dynamic driving. Which brings us to the other side of the coin...
The E-Class, long as it may seem, doesn’t behave like a barge on wheels. When you trade the rear seat for the one with a wheel in your hand, it doesn’t disappoint. The steering wheel is lightly weighted but offers good feedback and feels responsive. What also adds to the appeal is the Dynamic Select with fi ve drive modes, including ‘Sport+’.
Two tonnes it may weigh, but the E-Class really stretched its legs when set free. The 3.0-litre V6 delivers 258 PS at just 3,400 rpm and a full 620 Nm of torque that peaks from 1,600 rpm. The result is 0-100 km/h was dismissed in 7.5 seconds, and it comfortably broke the 200-km/h barrier; no doubting its 250 km/h electronically-limited top end, then. In ‘Sport+’ shifts occur at 3,800 rpm and it builds a noticeable surge. What’s more interesting is its agility on the move. It holds its line well and behaves predictably, inspiring driver confidence. The brakes were exceptionally effective at shedding speed with drama as well, getting from 80 km/h to standstill in 2.35 seconds over just 25 metres.
Another feather in its cap is its ability to cruise at highway speed. With the cruise control enabled, the E relaxedly stays at 70 km/h in sev enth gear at 1,10 0 rpm. Economy figures were also consistent with the previous car, though this one is larger and heavier: 8.5 km to the litre in the city and 12 km/l on the highway for an overall 9.4 km/l.
Interestingly enough, the new E-Class is a car that can handle multiple roles quite well. It can be a great luxury family car in the city or one that means business, eradicating distances using highways. It’s an elongated example of German engineering prowess, and it does indeed feel like the answer to those who longed for premium luxury without an eight-figure price-tag.
A great luxury family car in the city or one that means business, eradicating distances using highways
Undeniable air of quality all around the cabin; light and airy doesn’t get any clearer; (inset) Unique start/stop button looks like a medal
Beige leather, black wood trim and aluminium highlights with a choice of 64 ambient light shades
The 360° surround camera is a boon, especially for a car as long as this E
Power peaks at 3,400 rpm; red-line is well over the 5,000-mark
Turbo-diesel V6 has been tweaked to be even stronger all across the rev-range
Split light signatures mark this one out as an E-Class; beams reduce the count to just one
Rear seat comfort is amplified as much by the added room as it is by the reclining seat-back
Boot volume of 540 litres is more than adequate, but only with that spare wheel taken out