The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and wagon combine sporty looks with the latest in technology

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and wagon combine sporty looks with the latest in technology

Mercedes-Benz has given its E-Class a facelift together with a combination of price reductions and extra equipment additions that combine to improve their value, according to Benz, from $7000 to $23,000 depending on the model.

Earlier this year we were able to preview the coupe and cabriolet versions of the E-Class models in their home territory. They’ll be arriving here late in the year but have been preceded by the more mainstream sedan and wagon variants.

More mainstream they may be but in terms of styling the four and five-door bodied E-Class models lose very little in comparison to their sporty siblings especially with M-B Australia’s decision to only bring in the Avantgarde specification with its big, bold three-point star embedded within the aggressive two-bar grille.

External changes for the 2013 A-Class are minor with a new front end featuring one-piece headlamps and revised bonnet and bumper. The rear lights and bumper have also been changed with horizontal LED tail lights giving the new E-Class a lower stance that further enhances its sporty look.

The interior of the new E-Class retains the same overall design theme as before but detail changes to the colours and finish of the materials work well and increase the feeling of luxury and sportiness.

We’re used to new technology filtering down from more expensive models but in this case many of the latest features are making their debut in the E-Class prior to being passed up to the upcoming new S-Class.

Most of this new technology is centred around what Benz calls its Intelligent Drive system which uses twin cameras mounted at the top of the windscreen, angled outwards at 45 degrees.

These combine to provide a 3D view of the area around 50 metres in front of the car and work together with a radar sensor system to operate a range of advanced safety features such as Collision Prevent Assist which alerts the driver to a potential frontal collision and applies the brakes where necessary; Attention Assist (it monitors driver inattention and/or fatigue and issues an alert); Distronic Plus (keeps the vehicle centred within its lane on straight stretches); Cross-Traffic Assist (can detect crossing traffic or pedestrians and boost braking where a collision is imminent); Pre-Safe Braking (detects wayward pedestrians and applies the brakes if required); and Pre-Safe Plus which can recognise an imminent rear-end collision, activate the car’s hazard lights and trigger occupant protection features.

Once again we just sit back and marvel at the scope and effectiveness of the safety enhancements that modern car makers are providing, effectively at no additional cost to the buyer.

There are ten variants in the 2013 E-Class range, seven sedans and three Estates. Prices range from $79,900 for the E 200 sedan through to the spectacular E 63 AMG sedan at $249,900.

All engines in the standard E-Class models are now either four or six cylinders and turbocharged with the previous V8 E 500 now dropped in favour of a V6 in the E 400 sedan and Estate. Although the new V6 displaces just 3.0 litres it achieves V8-like performance thanks to the use to twin turbochargers with up to 245 kW of power and 480 Nm of torque all the way from 1400 to 4000 rpm, but with fuel consumption officially measured at just 7.4 litres per hundred kilometres.

The E 63 AMG sedan is the only V8 model remaining and it also uses a bi-turbo to reach its stunning peaks of 430 kW and 800 Nm.

All E-Class models get seven-speed automatic transmission with steering column mounted shift paddles.

Another first for the E-Class, indeed for any Australian Mercedes-Benz model, is the E 300 Bluetec Hybrid. While luxury car rivals such as BMW and Lexus also offer hybrids Benz is the first to do so with a diesel rather than a petrol engine. The combination of 2.1-litre turbo-diesel and battery pull fuel consumption down to a frugal 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres.

As before all E-Class Estate models are seven-seaters with the third-row bench seat facing rearwards. Benz are expecting a slight boost in sales with the previous seven-seat R-Class no longer being imported here.

With so many model variants in the new E-Class range our test drive options were limited however we will report in more detail when we carry out our extended tests within the next few months. We were able to drive the E 200 and E 250 petrol and E 250 CDI diesel during the launch in and around Melbourne.

Expectations are always high whenever we drive any Mercedes-Benz and the new E-Class certainly delivers even in the lower-specced models. The chassis feels solid and tight and the car is superbly balanced. Ride comfort is firm but comfortable even on some of the coarse surfaces that we passed over.

As is normally the case we’d opt for the diesel powerplant with the extra mid-range torque that all keen drivers savour. Having said that the 2.0-litre petrol doesn’t fall that much short if you’re planning to operate exclusively in commuter territory.

Safer, cheaper, stunning looks. All should combine to keep the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class around the top of the shopping list of anyone looking for an affordable prestige car.

The complete 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and wagon range is:
E 200 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $79,900
E 220 CDI 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-door sedan: $82,400
E 250 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $97,400
E 250 CDI 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-door sedan: $99,900
E 300 Hybrid 2.2-litre turbo-diesel / electric four-door sedan: $109,900
E 400 3.0-litre bi-turbo petrol four-door sedan: $129,900
E 63 AMG 5.5-litre bi-turbo petrol four-door sedan: $249,900
E 200 Estate 2.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon: $86,900
E 250 CDI Estate 2.2-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon: $107,700
E 400 Estate 3.0-litre bi-turbo petrol five-door wagon: $137,700
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mercedes-Benz dealer for driveaway prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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