With the E 300 (W213) in CKD-form, this is where fans and discerning customers of the German luxury carmaker will find the appeal of a somewhat sportier drive compared to the entry-level E 200 Avantgarde Line.
Priced at RM378,930 (without insurance and SST), its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine will provide a more effortless and sportier experience over the E 200 variant.
Here, the facade echoes this point through the inclusion of the AMG-line cladding that starts off with the most noticeable part of the vehicle - the front end.
The combination of the diamond grille and a more aggressively styled front bumper is accompanied and flanked by a pair of Multibeam LED headlights that properly illuminate the way forward.
Moving down its flanks, the larger 19-inch AMG twin penta-spoked wheels with an inner ring design adds a sense of departure from its elegant and curvaceous disposition.
Being dressed in Obsidian Black, the usual play of light and shadows gets muted here.
Towards the rear-end, there’s a nice amount of haunch before leading to the tailgate that’s now powered.
Other than that, there’s nothing that shouts “sporty” except for the chromed E 300 nomenclature.
Bringing everything together, the exterior becomes a nice blend of a sporty-yet-still elegant appearance and nothing seems out of place nor disproportionate.
What we still love about it though, is how well the arches are filled by the wheels that wear 245/40 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres - a definite step-up from the E 200’s Michelin-wrapped 18-inch wheels.
The interior is still a familiar one from the E 200, but what really stood out wasn’t just the sports pedals and additional use of open-pore Ashwood on the dashboard and door trimmings.
Rather, it’s the leather-wrapped flat-bottomed twin tri-spoked steering wheel with paddle shifters that brings with it a tender meaty feel during drives.
Additionally, there’s now a wireless charger available for the technologically inclined and some satin-finished aluminium speaker grilles of the Burmester sound system that will satiate the demands of audiophiles.
There are also the added white stitches for the door cards to help amp up that luxury feel along with the split moon roof and the added third climate controls (with B-pillar vents) to accentuate comfort levels for rear cabin occupants.
Space isn’t an issue with plenty of room and headroom while the 540-litre boot space will be more than enough.
Both E 200 and E 300 will feel competent, smooth and outright comfortable for a refined drive, but what really sets the two apart is their performance.
The E 300 will obviously outpace the E 200 with its 258hp (+61hp) and 370Nm (+50Nm) of torque that allows it to sprint from 0 to 100kph in just 6.2 (-1.2) seconds, but that’s just all on paper.
Out on the road, the feel is almost similar although the E 300 has a firmer ride.
In city traffic, both will feel effortless when taking off from a stand-still and cruising about on highways will have many properly satisfied with its refined drive that’s both compliant and well insulated against noise, vibration and harshness.
The larger wheels on the E 300 will be slightly more communicative due to the sportier and lower profile Goodyear F1 tyres. But the difference can be arguably deemed as marginal.
When carving up corners, E 300 will edge out a smirk from drivers with minimal body roll and the ability to provide a sharp steering experience, but this isn’t the main forte of an E Class that’s always been comfort-oriented.
The engine, along with its nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard, is tuned closer to the comfort spectrum of things as well and pairing provides for a smooth experience - regardless of the type of mode (Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual) chosen within the Dynamic Select menu.
Braking performance, although lacking crossed drilled discs up front that were found in some of its predecessors, still possesses a good amount of bite to them - allowing owners to come to a full stop with confidence.
Other than the inclusion of a 360-degree birds-eye-view camera system in the E 300 over the E 200, it also comes with lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control to really accentuate that sense of convenience from its list of safety kit.
Both function well with a somewhat firm stance when the system wants to stay within a lane and it’ll require minimal grip levels from the hands to stay active.
To sum it up, the E 300’s performance is one that will provide drivers with a good blend of comfort, convenience, practicality, power and agility for the money.
But if performance is demanded, then perhaps the fully-imported 612hp Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ may be ideal at RM1.12mil.
Although the E 300 came draped in Obsidian Black, it will certainly mean that scratches, rock chips and the like will be rather noticeable from a distance.
Not to worry though, authorised Mercedes-Benz dealer Cycle & Carriage Bintang provides its customers with their newly introduced Paint and Dent Protector Program from March 1.
The programme is an optional extra that is provided exclusively by the company and is designed to help owners keep their vehicles looking spick and span with the use of Glasurit water-based paint that comes with a 10-year warranty for workmanship and defects.
For starters, it is offered to Mercedes-Benz vehicles that are less than eight months old and/or have clocked less than 7,500km.
The vehicle must meet a prerequisite inspection and is only applicable to standard metallic colours which do not include Designo metallic, pearl lustre or Magno paint colours.
With four packages available for choice, the entry-level 12-month package (RM888) provides owners with the ability to make four claims within the duration.
The 24-month package (RM1,888) provides owners with up to 8 claims, while the 36-month package (RM2,888) allows for 12 claims.
A range-topping 48-month package (RM3,888) provides up to 16 claims. — Jay Wong
Engine: 1,991cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Maximum power: 258hp from 5,500 to 6,100rpm
Maximum torque: 370Nm from 1,650 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: 9G-Tronic automatic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 6.2 seconds
Top speed: 250kph (electronically limited)
Features: Airbags, Agility Control suspension, Dynamic Select, Multibeam LED headlights, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Electrically folding and adjustable exterior mirrors, black open-pore ash wood, flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel in Nappa leather, Tri-zone climate controls with B-pillar vents, rear window powered sunblind, dynamic reverse camera, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist, Adaptive Brake Lights, adaptive cruise control, Lane-keep assist, 360-degree camera, Keyless-Go, Pre-Safe system, Multimedia System Communications module (LTE) for the use of Mercedes-me connect services, Mercedes-Benz emergency call system, MBUX multimedia system, Widescreen cockpit, Touchpad without controller, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB ports in rear with charging function, run-flat tyres, tyre pressure monitoring system, 19-inch 5-twin spoke AMG light-alloy wheels with 245/40 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Goodyear F1 tyres.
Price: RM378,930 (on-the-road without insurance and SST)