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Mercedes E-Class 2013 Review

EXPERT RATING
8

Desire drives our buying behaviour. Want something bad enough and we’ll sacrifice and save to get it. Jimmy Choo shoes and Prada handbags sell at a massive multiple of their component costs because people aspire to own them, not because they’re necessarily better-built than their rivals.

Expectations are higher in the automotive world, where brand exclusivity and style is assumed to include engineering excellence. Mercedes-Benz has long appreciated that logic and the updated E-Class coupe/convertible epitomises the approach.

VALUE

The prestige pantheon has been inverted when Mercedes is priced lower than Audi. Entry to the two-door E-Class range starts at $79,900 for the E200 coupe, ascending to $96,400 for the E250 petrol hardtop, $98,900 for the E250 diesel and $128,900 for the twin-turbo V6 E400.

It costs $9000 to lose the roof on the E200, an E250 soft-top adds $10,000 to the petrol’s price and the E400 convertible plumps to the coupe’s cost by $14K. At first glance that’s a hefty premium over the roofed models but it is still cheaper than the rival Audi A5 line-up.

The Audi 2.0-litre Audi A5 coupe is $80,900; the comparable convertible is $96,400, albeit with an auto transmission _ which is standard across the Mercedes E-Class line-up. Infiniti leads the price-point battle, with buyers expected to pay $75,900 for the auto-equipped GT Premium or $87,900 for the cabrio. BMW isn’t in this game, given its 6 Series coupe starts at $177,800.

TECHNOLOGY

Software theft is a crime yet Mercedes let the E-Class steal an early lead on a lot of the tech from the yet-to-arrive S-Class flagship. Dubbed the Driver Assistance Plus pack, it is standard on The E250 up (and a $4600 option on the E200). It includes active cruise control, blind spot and lane-keeping assistance.

All of those features are integrated with the steering, which will move the car back into its lane if the driver is crossing white lines or about to sideswipe a car.  The sensors and cameras also detect crossing traffic and pedestrians and intervene as required to avoid them.

Should a pedestrian hit the E-Class, the active bonnet kicks itself clear of the engine to cushion the impact. Unlike most systems, which rely on an explosive charge, the Benz bonnet uses springs, meaning it can be reset without having to replace anything. A reversing camera, automated parking and infotainment screen with separate views  for the driver and passenger are standard on all models.

DESIGN

Rhinoplasty is usually a case of softening the nose but the face of the E-Class coupe and cabrio is now more prominent. The daytime running lights have been lifted from the air intakes to the headlamp assembly and the double-louvre grille is replaced by a more assertive and solid single strut.

The overall effect is to transform the car’s corporate attire to business casual, as befits a two-door grand tourer. The interior tweaks are good, with the exception of the auto transmission lever’s move from the centre console to the steering column. There’s only room for two in the back but they’re genuine bucket seats that will support a an interstate trip.

SAFETY

The crash-testing authorities deactivate the Pre-Safe systems that pretension seatbelts and close windows in the event of an imminent crash, so the real-world result is likely to better the simulations. Even so, the car earns a five-star safety rating and 11 airbags soften the blow in the event of a crash.  Its overall score, based on the 2009 launch models, is 34.88/37.

DRIVING

Sound is synonymous with speed so its absence in the E-Class dictates constant checks of the speedo.  Tyre thrum from the wide, low-profile rubber is a steady murmur at freeway speeds but even then it is relatively subdued. Unlike the engine. The E250 coupe Carsguide tested is a stonking powerplant that launches the car to 100km/h in 6.0 seconds. The Europeans build great four-cylinder engines and this 2.0-litre turbo mill is among the best.

The suspension set-up mirrors that performance bias with ride that’s firm and relays the road surface conditions back into the chassis without being jittery. A well-weighted steering wheel rounds off the package, even though the E coupe isn’t intended to be an outright sports car. Its brief is to be a stylish, sophisticated statement that can cover ground quickly, be that interstate runs or trips to the work.

Access to the rear doesn’t require a hip dislocation and the ride in the back is as cossetting as the front.  Opt for the soft-top cabrio and there’s around 130kg weight penalty to maintain rigidity in the absence of a roof, along with the a windscreen-mounted air deflector that deploys at 40km/h and an Airscarf neck-warming system. It is a more ostentatious look than the coupe and Mercedes says the split between the two will be 60:40 in the coupe’s favour.

VERDICT

Mercedes has few rivals in this market and, based on the price and performance of the new cars, no competition.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe/cabriolet
Warranty: 3 years/100,000 km
Resale: 57 per cent
Service interval: 12 months/25,000km
Capped price servicing: No
Safety rating: 5 stars
Engines: 2.0L turbo four-cylinder petrol, 135kW/300Nm (E200); 2.0L turbo four-cylinder, 155kW/350Nm (E250); 2.1L turbodiesel four-cylinder, 150kW/500Nm (E250 CDI);  3.0L twin-turbo six-cylinder, 245kW/480Nm (E400)
Transmission: 7-speed auto; RWD
Thirst: 6.0L/100km (95RON), 141g/km CO2 (E200, E250 coupe); 6.5L/100km, 151g/km CO2 (E200, E250 cabrio); 4.7L/100km (diesel), 122g/km CO2 (E250 CDI coupe); 7.5L/100km, 174g/km CO2 (E400 coupe); 7.7L/100km, 180g/km CO2 (E400 cabrio)
Dimensions: 4.7m (L), 1.8m (W), 1.4m (H)
Weight: 1560kg/1710kg (E200 coupe/cabrio); 1600kg/1725kg (E250); 1700kg (E250 CDI coupe); E400 N/A
Spare: None

 

Pricing Guides

$41,895
Based on 103 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$28,990
Highest Price
$125,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
E400 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $44,990 – 68,800 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E400 Pricing and Specs
E500 Avantgarde 4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $69,740 – 80,190 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E500 Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
E250 Avantgarde B.E 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $29,000 – 47,888 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E250 Avantgarde B.E Pricing and Specs
E250 CDI Avantgarde 2.1L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $40,260 – 47,410 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E250 CDI Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$28,990

Lowest price, based on 32 car listings in the last 6 months

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