Mercedes' revamped E-class boasts better tech, more efficiency

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ByDave Kunz via KABC logo
Sunday, August 7, 2016
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The all-new Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan is offering more advanced technology than higher-priced models and improved engine efficiency.

It's Mercedes-Benz's bread-and-butter car, and it's been redone. For 2017, an all-new E-class sedan leads the charge as Mercedes' best-selling four-door.

Although buyers are flocking to sport utility vehicles like never before these days, Mercedes still counts the E-class as its most important model.

And it goes back a long, long way. Ten generations over more than 60 years are considered the timeline of the car, even though "E-class" is a relatively new designation in the long history.

This new one is ready to hit the road in a new era with a look that mimics the larger S-class, and an interior with an increased emphasis on driver information. All the better to compete with not only various SUVs, but other mid-size luxury sedans as well.

Cars like the Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XF, and Lexus GS all have their hats in the premium mid-size sedan ring, and frequently get cross-shopped with the E-class.

To do battle, Mercedes has put its engineering might into new efficiency and new technology.

On the efficiency side, the standard engine is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder, turbo-charged, and hooked up to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The payoff is EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg city and 30 highway, as well as a lower carbon footprint.

And here's something else the car features: a higher level of technology than even the larger, much more expensive S-class. When new advances are made in that regard, the next model to get a redesign gets the tech, and that means the new E-class benefits this time around.

For example, the latest version of Mercedes' Distronic cruise control called Drive Pilot is an option, besting the version on the S-class for now. An ultimate cruise control, it can follow the car in front at any speed, and keep you in the lane with automatic steering.

And the car can do a lane change for you after it checks to see that the next lane is clear.

Mercedes-Benz wants to be clear, however, that this does not mean the car is self-driving. You still have to drive it. Some early ads they recently ran for the new E-class suggested this, but the company caught some heat for it, and they've since pulled the ads.

Having all this technology isn't cheap. Option packages can raise the sticker price of a new E300 from just over $52,000 to over $70,000.

But the E-class should sell well, especially to buyers looking for the latest technology. And to buyers looking for a car with a long history behind it.