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Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 2017 Car of the Year Finalist

By Wheels Staff, 31 Jan 2017 COTY

Merc’s technology flagship ushers in the brand’s latest and greatest, and makes a persuasive case for itself in our COTY top six.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 2017 Car of the Year Finalist

LONG before the W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class went into production, Mercedes-Benz set out to convince the world a technology superstar was about to be born.

There was, this strategy implied, a brain-swelling amount of innovative excellence packed into the new E-Class. More, even, than in the still-youthful and higher ranking Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Inevitably, many of the new E-Class’s advances rely on digital technology. There are programs, processors and sensors behind so much that this car can do, and Mercedes-Benz clearly has invested immense effort in engineering and developing them.

The E-Class’s handling is confident and capable, though this isn’t a car that does exciting intimacy. But behind its haughty remoteness from the driver, there’s a lot of fundamentally sound and nicely polished engineering. The effectiveness of its ESC and ABS, for example, point to expert and painstaking calibration work.

2017-Mercedes -Benz -E-Class -Car -of -the -Year -Finalist -rearAt cruising speeds on decently surfaced roads the E-Class is regal. Refinement is outstanding. Its slippery shape generates little wind noise – Mercedes-Benz claims a Cd figure of just 0.26 – while road noise levels are minimal. The engines are hushed unless rushed, too.

Among them, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 of the E400 stood out for its sometimes eerie silence. The new-generation 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in the 220d is also remarkable, and not only for the 7.4L/100km consumption we recorded. As well as seeming to reset the refinement benchmark for its class a notch higher, this diesel also equals or bests the new E-Class’s turbo 2.0-litre petrol fours.

2017-Mercedes -Benz -E-Class -Car -of -the -Year -Finalist -interiorAlso noted was the excellence of the new Mercedes-made nine-speed automatic used in the E-Class. Always alert but never intrusive, it’s so good that it’s easy to overlook. Complaints? Some judges noted their unshakeable loathing of Mercedes’ steering-column-mounted selector wand.

There’s very little else to dislike inside the new E-Class. Even better than the S-Class, thought some. Mercedes-Benz Australia’s decision to equip every model with the luscious Widescreen Cockpit display certainly lifts the techno-tone, but this car also gets so many of the mundane things right.