My model is the CDI, or Diesel, version. It's a 4-door mid-sized sedan that looks basically like what a successful mid-level attorney or accountant might drive. Its styling is relatively conservativ...
My model is the CDI, or Diesel, version. It's a 4-door mid-sized sedan that looks basically like what a successful mid-level attorney or accountant might drive. Its styling is relatively conservative, though still pretty modern-looking and aerodynamic.
I also own an S-class (or two) of similar vintage. This car is in a different category. By design, it doesn't feel as sumptuous as the S. Also remember that the S-class was $25,000 more at the time, so this is to be expected.
With that said, this is still very much a Mercedes-Benz. The E-class is certainly comfortable enough and well thought out. You could take this car for a distance drive and be just fine afterwards. The controls take a little getting used to, but that's true with most German cars other than Volkswagens. It definitely shows its Mercedes-Benz heritage here ("quirky German charm", some might call it). There are a lot of features in the car, hence all the crazy buttons. Once you get used to where things are, though, it becomes second-nature, and that happens pretty quickly.
Reliability: that's an A+ here. Honda's reputation for reliability is, of course, enviable; it's #1 in the world. This E-class is Mercedes-Benz's version of a Honda Accord, with extra amenities. It runs and runs without complaint. It just does what you ask it to without fuss.
It is *not* a BMW and does not handle on rails like a BMW. If you want that, then buy a BMW. Mercedes-Benz clearly tune their sedans more for comfort than twisty mountain roads. It's simply a style choice. For the kind of driving I do, it's just fine. But performance enthusiasts seeking a mid-sized car might want the E55 AMG or possibly the BMW 5-series.
Let's talk mechanics. My car being an inline-6 cylinder Diesel, it's fairly simple to work on and has a clean engine bay...for a Mercedes-Benz, that is. :-) The car comes with the reliable 5-speed transmission with the "Manu-Matic" mode, which I actually use frequently.
Fuel efficiency is where this car is really a win. My car is rated at 37 miles/US gallon on the highway. I've seen 36 to 37, real-world, verified with a calculator. That's Honda Civic fuel-efficiency, folks...in a car the size of a Honda Accord and considerably heavier...with Mercedes-Benz appointments and Mercedes-Benz chassis strength/rigidity.
Acceleration is somewhat surprising, especially given it's a 3,900-lb Diesel. The car will do 0-60 in 7 seconds, which is just as fast as my S500(!). It gets up and gets out of the way. However, it doesn't feel all that fast, because the power comes up a bit more gradually due to turbo spool-up. It's a smooth, firm push, vs. the S500, E500, or E55, any of which immediately shove you fairly hard back in your seat. The engine, as expected of a Diesel, is torquier (369 lb-ft) than it is full of horsepower (201 hp). Acceleration starts to peter off at about 80 mph and gradually goes down from there (no, I'm *NOT* telling you how I know that!). But you will get to that 80 mph in a hurry, even though it doesn't feel like it. For the Autobahn, you'd probably prefer the E500 for its higher horsepower to sustain those high German speeds. But for any other driving, the Diesel is perfect.
So, to sum up, the car is a conservative, unobtrusively-styled, get-it-done car that doesn't shout out at anyone. It does not scream, "I'M FANCY!!" in any way. It just goes about its business and does what you ask it to do...kinda like the Germans themselves.