It used to feature an imposing and stately styling, making it a favourite luxury car for the “uncle” businessmen.
But with changing times, Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class have evolved to take on a more youthful and sporty persona, thus broadening its appeal to a wider reach and younger crowd.
While the previous E-Class model (W212) was already considered the sportiest of its lineage, especially when dressed up with Avantgarde and AMG bodykits,” the latest generation nameplate (W213) has not only raised the styling bar but also cranks up the luxury and smart features factor phenomenally.
Our test vehicle was the E 250 Avantgarde with 211hp/350Nm, the mid-level variant of the three-engine option line-up offered by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.
Its large three-pointed star badge on the radiator grille, short trunk in a coupe-like rear, long bonnet and short overhangs inject a sporty proportion into the executive car.
The other two engine choices were the E 200 Exclusive with 184bhp/300Nm and the E300 AMG Line with 245hp/370Nm.
There is also the E 250 Exclusive variant with the traditional radiator grille design and free-standing three-pointed star bonnet ornament.
The new generation E-Class is longer and roomier compared with the previous model.
Wheelbase has also been increased by 65mm so all-round legroom is not an issue.
To keep the weight of this large car down, Mercedes-Benz has increased the amount of aluminium and ultra-high-strength steel components while adding body rigidity.
Inside, the dashboard is styled to flow onto the front doors in a continuous fashion and create a feel of cosiness and “oneness.”
The full leather seats are well contoured and supportive, and do not tire out passengers during long distance drives.
The panoramic sliding sunroof allows more light to enter the cabin and increase the airy feel of the vehicle.
With generous helpings of leather and open-pore black ashwood trimming, circular air vents, an analogue clock and a “Widescreen Cockpit” featuring two 12.3-inch high resolution displays, the luxury level of the E 250 Avantgarde is arguably at par with the flagship S-Class.
The “Widescreen Cockpit,” which are controlled through the touch-sensitive Touch Controls on the steering wheel, is easily the centrepiece of the E 250 Avantgarde.
All infotainment and satellite navigation data as well as view from the 360° camera are a joy to watch as they are delivered supersharp, like in expensive HD televisions.
In addition, the instrument panel can be customised with three layout choices of Classic, Sport and Progressive.
Classic reprises the original analogue look of E-Class speedometer dial with white numbering against a black background while Sport allows a bolder dial styling with yellow numbering.
Set Progressive and the speedometer moves to the centre and the readout becomes digital with a bluish tinge.
The E 250 Avantgarde also has wireless connectivity and charging for mobile devices.
Each headlamp comes with 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs which will shut down automatically if their light beams hit other road users.
At the same time, other LEDs will continue to lit up dark portions of the road.
The headlights also have a “bending” feature to lit up dark winding roads and intersections.
It’s also at night driving that the ambient lighting feature could be fully experienced.
The ambient lighting strips which run around the car along the dashboard and door trims has a 64-colour option.
We chose purple as this colour was easy on the eyes when in the dark.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine 211hp and 350Nm of torque which powers the E 250 Avantgarde, has also been used in other Mercedes-Benz models such as the A, C, and GLC to name a few.
This engine, which is known for its punchy performance in smaller Mercedes-Benz models, still has more than enough oomph to deliver a satisfying driving experience for the relatively plus-sized E-Class in comparison.
Power comes in smoothly without noticeable lag and the exhaust emits a muffled roar when the throttle is floored hard.
Its 0-100kph acceleration time of 6.9 seconds means that the E 250 Avantgarde can outrun a whole lot of passenger cars.
Drive too close to the vehicle ahead and a red triangle will light up on the instrument panel along with warning beeps to alert you to slow down and keep a safe distance.
While the engine emits a mild diesel-like clatter especially at idle or low speeds, the interior of the E 250 is easily as quiet as any high-end luxury car once the windows are rolled up.
The new nine-speed 9G-Tronic transmission delivers silky smooth gear changes and there is also the Dynamic Select driving modes where the driver can choose programmes to deliver best fuel efficiency or performance or a blend of both.
During a high speed drive to Putrajaya for a photoshoot, the E 250 Avantgarde’s class leading low drag co-efficient of 0.23 along with generous amount of noise insulating materials managed to keep wind and tyre noises to a minimum.
Steering is responsive and sharp, but while the suspension of the E 250 Avantgarde is set with a slight bias towards sporty driving, the ride on 19-inch low profile tyres is still comfortable even when driven over rough stretches and broken tarmac in Petaling Jaya’s old town.
With an on-the-road without insurance price of RM420,888, the E 250 Avantgrade, fully imported from Sindelfingen, Germany, seems to be a compelling choice with just the right amount of features and performance thrown in.
The E 200 Exclusive which costs RM395,888 may save buyers RM25,888 but loses the 12.3-inch HD digital instrument panel and has a less powerful engine.
The E 300 AMG Line, though will have the most powerful engine of the line-up, lowered sports suspension, flat bottom steering wheel and even a head-up display, and costs RM30,000 over the E 250 Avantgarde.
Regardless of the variant, an E-Class always hits the right notes.
SPECIFICATIONS - Mercedes-Benz E 250 (W213) Avantgarde
Engine: 1,991cc, four in-line, direct injection, turbocharged
Maximum power: 211hp at 5,500rpm
Maximum torque: 350Nm from 1,200 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Acceleration (0-100kph): 6.9 seconds
Top speed: 250kph (electronically controlled)
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 5.9-6.3 litres per 100km
Features: Airbags, anti-lock braking system, active brake assist, electronic stability programme, Keyless-Go package, dual 12.3-inch high resolution display, Multibeam LED headlamps, Parking Pilot + 360 degree camera, Pre-safe, Dynamic Select, paddle shifters, panoramic sliding sunroof, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, tyre pressure monitoring system, 19-inch wheels
Price: RM420,888 (on-the-road plus GST without insurance)