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Mercedes-Benz E200 Exclusive (W214) Review: Waftability and Agility in One

Mercedes’ new W214 E-Class battles for the hearts of towkays with more interior space and sharper handling.
James Wong
James Wong
17 Apr 2024
One thing that Mercedes ensured about the W214 is to maximise interior space – the wheelbase has been lengthened by 2cm compared with its predecessor, so there is noticeably more room inside now.
What we like:
Perky engine
What we dislike:
Ride over the harshest of roads

In the Singaporean context, the E-Class that probably set the benchmark for years to come was the W124. Even till today, there is a strong following of the Bruno Sacco designed car that was famous for being built with no cost limitations from bean counters. It is a testament to the car’s quality that plenty are still running about today, despite varying levels of attention that has been paid to the car’s maintenance and upkeep. I even had one myself, so driving the W214 was symbolic to me, a car that is a cutting-edge, modern interpretation of the illustrious nameplate.

Mercedes considers the W214 a bridge between tradition and digitalisation. In a sense, the EQE fulfilled the electric vehicle brief of the E-Class segment, so the E-Class is meant to take things forward a little slower, especially for its more traditional customers. Therefore, it still has the classic three-box saloon shape and even the star on the bonnet depending on which trim you choose (like this Exclusive model as tested). Nonetheless, it already incorporates some cues from the EQ models, like the black panel radiator grille. It is overall a rather handsome design, but some details take getting used to, like the bunched-up headlamps and the ‘DBS logo’ taillights.

On the inside, the Exclusive model as shown here has the full MBUX Superscreen that is essentially a large swathe of glass that stretches from the driver instrument panel all the way to the passenger side of the dashboard. There are several screens on this panel and the front passenger gets to have their very own to fiddle with. What you don’t see is that all this technology is now powered by a single processor that improves networking, performance and speed. It looks impressive and very coherent, a good application of technology while maintaining elegant design. A welcome change is the simplified main icons on MBUX which feels significantly easier to use than before.

You may notice a camera plonked right in the middle of the dashboard. This is meant to monitor driver fatigue but can also be used for video conferencing and even selfies. To be honest, I find it a little creepy and it’s something I could do without, but I am sure many more others would think it useful.

One thing that Mercedes ensured about the W214 is to maximise interior space – the wheelbase has been lengthened by 2cm compared with its predecessor, so there is noticeably more room inside now. Despite having no screens to play with in the back seats, there is hardly anything to complain about with window shades that allow privacy and a tranquil environment.

The 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with an integrated starter generator (ISG) mild hybrid system is very refined and is a good match for the W214’s chassis. Despite being just an E200, the car is very willing to move and the engine even enjoys being stretched to its redline. The engine is good for 204 hp and 320 Nm, assisted by the electric motor which contributes 23 hp and 205 Nm. It is an unusually sporty engine for the E-Class, but I am not complaining. Less sporty is the 9-speed gearbox, which is quick to upshift but a bit muddled when asked for quick downshifts. For most driving situations though, the gearbox is smooth and efficient.

Another highlight is the car’s handling. Now more than ever, the capabilities of cars in its class all seem to converge – they tend to be fairly good in most aspects. In the case of the E-Class, it is well-damped at speed but when it is faced with a particularly errant drainage hole it does transmit some disturbance to the cabin. The trade-off is that the W214 feels surprisingly willing to dance down a good road, light on its feet and precise. Its steering is too light for much involvement but it definitely can hold its own against competitors. With the optional rear axle steering I am expecting this to be even more apparent.

The W214 E200 is an E-Class for the current day, offering all the technology you could possibly wish for, but with enough tradition that you can still see its lineage from its predecessors. It has probably leaned more on the technology part than tradition compared to past generations, but it certainly will please current E-Class customers as well.

Photos by James Wong


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