Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class E200
It may cradle a smaller petrol heart, yet it manages to be a lot of fun to drive, while keeping the luxury legacy alive
Mercedes has launched the refreshed range of the E-Class limousine, and after driving the fast and furious E63 AMG, we get our hands on the slow and serious E200. Of course, when we say 'slow' our yardstick is the power drunk E63 AMG.
As this is a facelift, the over dimensions of the car largely remains the same. What Mercedes has done is, design changes (inside and out) to keep the E-Class looking fresh till the next generation car arrives in another few years.
As you can tell most of the design team’s effort has been restricted to the front. The E’s new single headlight unit ditches the twin headlamp design that had become the face of the E-Class over the last two generations. It also gets a sporty nose with the tri-star slapped right on the front grille. From the side the car largely remains unchanged, but on the rear, the E-Class gets a new pair of LED taillights and minor tweaks to the bumper, with a neatly integrated exhaust. Overall the design changes make the E-Class look in sync with the next generation family design of Mercedes, namely the A-Class and CLA.
The cabin is familiar territory, with most of the design layout largely unchanged. There are minor tweaks if you look closely, like the analog watch shifting to the centre console, and the mildly redesigned instrument cluster itself, which has three circular pods housing the speedo, tacho and fuel gauge meters.
The usual bits include the interiors wrapped in plush black leather (beige is an option) and matte finished wood (aluminium trim is optional). Overall the interior is large on space in the front, while the rear can seat three average size adults in comfort.
The direct injection, turbocharged 2.0 litre motor makes 181bhp, and 300Nm of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels via Merc's 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In 'Eco' mode the 7-speed tranny keeps the engine in higher gears and lower revs for better efficiency. If you are looking for fast paced action, switch to the ‘Sport’ mode where throttle response is sharper and the auto box holds the gear all the way to the redline before shifts. In our 0-100kph sprint, the E200 managed to cross the line in 9.2 seconds.
As you would expect from a car of this mass, the E-Class feels well planted cruising at triple-digit-speeds on the highway or even while clocking 223kph on our test unit. And it’s not just high speed cruising where the E manages to impress. Even on daily city runs the suspension does a good job of ironing out irregular road surfaces while keeping the passenger well insulated from the world outside.
Push the car into a corner, and the Merc feels agile on its feet. There is limited body roll and the two dozen safety systems on board make sure that the handling is almost idiot proof. The new E also gets a smaller three-spoke steering wheel. This not only makes the drive responsive but also helps weaving through traffic easier.
For most parts the new E-Class manages to impress, but there are some things that were a let-down. Like the engine noise at idle from the outside, or that the reverse camera and graphical park-assist does not come as a standard feature. We find this a bit ridiculous, especially when this kind of tech has started popping up in cars that cost a fraction of the E.
After spending a few days with the E-Class we must say it manages to impress. The overall design looks sporty. It can be the no nonsense German limousine chauffeuring people around from one board room meeting to the next in the day. But it can also be a driver’s car at a stomp of the throttle. At Rs 51.28 lakh on-road, Mumbai, (it’s around Rs 4 lakh cheaper than the diesel). Add to that the all so important fuel economy in which the E200 scored a 7.1kpl in the city and 10kpl on the highway and we think the E-Class makes a strong case for itself.
1991cc, 4-cyl petrol RWD, 180bhp, 300Nm, 7A, 0-100kph: 9.2s, max speed: 223kph, 30-50kph: 1.83s, 50-70kph: 2.34s, 80kph-0: 23.35metres (2.11s), city kpl: 7.1kpl, highway: 10kpl, Rs 51.28 lakh on-road Mumbai
Aggressive looks, fuel efficiency, crammed with a whole lot of safety features and the all so important three pointed star right in the middle. Does the E200 need any convincing?