If ever there was a showcase for both where an automaker is coming from and where itís headed, it would be the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
It sports all the characteristics that have helped make the E-Class the standard-bearer of executive sedans, but itís also leading the charge for Mercedes towards more efficient engines and innovative autonomous safety technology. In short, this Mercedes is at the nexus of the car universe, and itís called the E-Class.
One ingredient in Mercedesí recipe for success is its design. Each vehicle appears evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Park any one of the nine previous generations of the E-Class next to each other and some semblance of familiarity will shine through. That continues with this new E-Class, though it also ties in well with the rest of the brandís current lineup, most notably the smaller C-Class and larger S-Class sedans.
Like its siblings, the E-Class features an elongated hood and swooping roofline that carries into powerful-looking shoulders. Itís a strong but sophisticated look that manages to fit in with the rest of the family without stepping on any toes. It has also been stretched somewhat, with its overall length growing about two inches and its wheelbase closer to three. Those numbers are more evident inside than out, particularly when it comes to rear passenger legroom.
Despite the added dimensions, the 2017 E-Class actually weighs about 150 pounds less than the outgoing version, thanks to the expanded use of aluminum. And while that might not seem substantial, every little bit helps for a car that tips the scales at more than 4,000 lb.
Powering the big-bodied sedan in E 300 guise is an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine is the antithesis of everything buyers have come to expect under the hoods of their premium sedans, though thatís not necessarily a bad thing. With 241 hp and, more importantly, 273 lb-ft of torque, it makes plenty of power. But most important of all, the full breadth of that torque comes on line at a ridiculously low 1,300 rpm.
Mated to a nine-speed automatic, the four-cylinder certainly doesnít feel like a four-cylinder, though the mapping of the throttle-by-wire system can feel slightly disconnected depending on the drive mode. Applying the accelerator in Comfort or Eco modes sees smooth-but-slow power delivery that is very even-keeled, while stomping on the skinny pedal in Sport or Sport+ changes the game completely, with the engine feeling more like a naturally aspirated V6.
Sure, some will bellyache about the engineís size, but those complaints should be confined to what they see on paper, as driving the new E-Class proves itís more than enough engine for the job.
The E-Class certainly isnít short on choice when it comes to suspensions, with three setups available on the order sheet. Riding on comfort or sport steel suspension, or a multi-chamber air system, the car is sure-footed, comfortable and confident no matter the drive mode. It was business as usual cruising around Californiaís Monterey County until the more winding roads in and around Laguna Seca, where an unexpected eagerness was revealed. Even in Comfort and Eco modes, this new E-Class is more than willing to take a corner tighter than one would expect from an executive sedan.
Likewise, the steering was both light and tight, and proved exceptionally responsive in Sport and Sport+ modes.
Read More Here: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review - AutoGuide.com News