All-Terrain? Maybe. Motorway? Yes
Whatever else it can do, the E350d is brilliant at getting you to the end of your journey ready for anything.
TRAVELLING FAIRLY calmly and in a mostly straight line might not seem the most demanding of tasks, but some cars manage it far better than others. It’s an overlooked and underrated talent, given how much of our driving is on multi-lane roads. My Merc’s motorway mileage has been racking up rapidly of late, with trips to Northern Ireland, northern France, Wales and the Isle of Man, some of which you’ll read more about in coming issues.
It’s hard to think of a better car for the job. Under the All-Terrain cladding this is still an E-Class, and the defining purpose of the E-Class has always been to demolish big autobahn journeys. Sure, an S-Class may be quieter and more spacious inside, but these are by-products of its main purpose, which is to be luxurious, which brings penalties of weight, size and cost. I’m not saying that the E-Class is light, small or cheap, but it’s perfectly optimised for its main purpose: rapid inter-city transport.
The All-Terrain comes on air springs as standard, which helps with steady-state ride comfort and noise, and my car’s optional Driving Assistance Plus package allows the car to self-steer and execute lane changes autonomously, subtly reducing the strain of a long trip. Seat comfort is superb too – this from a man with a spring in his spine. In Eco mode, which decouples the transmission to let the car glide down hills, the E350d will return something close to its claimed combined consumption of 41.5mpg, and I get around 450 miles between fills.
This isn’t just about being pampered. Any new car will carry you along a motorway. But if you do these trips regularly, the E-Class will deliver you in a better state and able to do more. An example: I cycled a lap of the Isle of Man before putting the car on the Steam Packet ferry for the two and a half hour crossing to Liverpool. After the ride, I was dreading my five-hour drive south and planned a hotel stop halfway. Instead, I was feeling so fresh in the E that when a friend rang and asked if I wanted to join a night out in Brighton, I agreed, diverted, and stayed up until 6am. Not, perhaps, why German executives have long loved the E-Class, but a good illustration of its ability to do a simple thing well.
Ben on a team outing with fellow members of the Casual Parkers Club