Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon E200 Exclusive Review
Business-Klasse

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
22 Jan 2021
 

Where the E-Class does its best work is in how it is built to spoil its occupants, with its refined and luxurious interior, supportive seats, and some very good noise insulation

The Mercedes-Benz E Class has grown considerably over the years, adding with it along the way, modern features, and at-times industry-first innovations. The E-Class has long been a must-have for the seriously successful towkay who has arrived; attracting them with its bonnet bling, road presence and when time to move on, very good residuals.

Personally my favourite “Merc” is the “pre-E-Class” W123, a car that predates the current Mercedes-Benz signary codification; where for the last time, chromed metal surfaces were still an in-thing, and there was plenty from the bumpers and in its signature body-coloured wheel caps.

The current Mercedes-Benz E-Class receives an extensive middle-of-life model refresh, with a design that is more cohesive with the in-coming S Class flagship. From its headlamps, inset grille, to its fully-reshaped rear end, featuring sleeker split elongated tail lights.

Those who many be interested in the sportier-looking Avantgarde and AMG-Line variants, will receive a more stylised hood featuring twin power domes (a nod to the mental AMG-badged E63), with the three-pointed star bonnet bling replaced by a flat emblem, and a large star plastered on the grille.

Inside

The refreshed E-Class retains much of the pre-facelifted car’s dashboard, that includes twin 12.3” digital displays, but now features the brand’s new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) with LINGUATRONIC voice control, that is even found in their entry premium range of cars like the CLA. The new interface is more intuitive, and can be activated by the phrase “Hey Mercedes”, which opens even more possibilities to how you can choose to work the car’s different functions.

Little touches like the passenger side cabin light turning on, when you reach over to the glove box, are just one of the thoughtful features embedded into the new E-Class. The front seats now also include ENERGIZING Seat Kinetics (that we first experienced in the B-Class), that makes minute adjustments in the seat cushions and backrest, with the purpose of ensuring good back health; but it does feel rather unsettling when the seat suddenly shifts while you are taking a corner. Speaking about adjusting, the driver’s side seat can now be moved based on your height to a “textbook-correct” position, with only minor adjustments needed for that ideal placement… but as for me, I tend to sit with a little more of a recline, meaning even more fine adjustments than I initially expected.

Physical control of the infotainment can be done via touch or through the trackpad on the centre console. We like that the previous curved one that visually blocks buttons on the opposite side, has been swapped out in favour of a flatter, more-elegant unit. 

With the added new features in the new E-Class, the steering wheel has also been redesigned, with its physical buttons replaced by twin touch-sensitive control pads. The trackball-like controls on both sides have also been fully integrated, and they have been moved, in my opinion way too high up on the wheel spokes; and with them not being recessed as they were previously, has caused many annoying radio station changes especially when making a turn. Furthermore, they have also become rather sluggish in operation. What i do like though, are the adjustment sliders located below them.

Following many of the new cars in the Mercedes-Benz model line-up, the refreshed E-Class now only has USB-C ports. Both Apple and Android phones are supported by the car’s infotainment system, while those who have QI wireless charging-enabled mobile devices will benefit from the charging pad, located in the compartment at the base of the centre console. 

The refreshed E-Class also receives the newly created ‘Mercedes me’ app, that extends control of some of the car's functionality to your mobile device. The app lets you track anything from tyre pressure, the next servicing interval, or even unauthorised usage when your vehicle is being parked by a valet service. Similar to the ‘BMW ConnectedDrive’ and ‘myAudi app’, ‘Mercedes me’ allows you to pre-plan and share your destination with your vehicle.

Beyond the additional advanced tech, passenger accommodation in the E-Class is excellent, even for occupants at the rear, in-part thanks to a near-flat roofline sweeping past where your heads would be, while the 2,939mm wheelbase ensures that legroom is more-than sufficient for all. Buyers can choose up to nine upholstery colours, and up to seven trim options, which includes open pore wood surfaces and sporty carbon-grain aluminium.

The Drive

The 2.0 turbocharged engine is the only one available in the line-up for the moment, though it now produces a slightly uprated 197hp and 320Nm, delivering its drive to the rear through Mercedes-Benz’s very own 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.

The four-cylinder engine does get slightly raspy at around 3,000rpm, but it does deliver its drive smoothly, with acceleration relatively linear for a turbocharged engine. The transmission however, does jerk a little when swapping ratios at lower speeds.

Even with its sizable footprint, the E 200 is decently nimble, and interestingly, it comes with a ‘Sport+’ drive mode for an even more entertaining drive. The fixed suspension on the ‘Exclusive’ trim model, which is the softer of the three variants on initial offer here, appears to sit within the sweet spot of delivering enough damping for a comfortable ride, while remaining taut enough for you to spend time around some challenging twists and turns.

Where the E-Class does its best work is in how it is built to spoil its occupants, with its refined and luxurious interior, supportive seats, and some very good noise insulation; and among the three variants currently offered, the ‘Exclusive’ trim model, with the more pliant suspension in my opinion, would be the car to go for.

Our Thoughts

While there is a growing trend by some buyers of going against the grain by switching over to an Executive-sized Luxury SUV, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class on the other hand, would be the car that actually cuts this grain in the first place.

In Summary

We Like

Attractive restyling adds to greater appeal. Opulent interior. Drives well. MBUX enhances ownership experience.

We Don't

Large wing mirrors block your view when making tight turns in confined spaces. New multi-function steering wheel design is a magnet for accidental radio station changes. Engine could still sound smoother. Transmission jerks during changes at low revs.

Verdict

Still very much the go-to car for the towkay, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class now has added tech for an even more seamless ownership experience.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1991cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 194bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1650rpm
Power to Weight 86.4 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 240 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.7 km/L
Drag Coefficient 9.800

Misc Technical Data

Drive Type FR
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4935 x 1852 x 1460) mm
Wheelbase 2939 mm
Turning Circle 11.28 metres
Kerb Weight 2245 kg
Boot Capacity 540 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 59 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs