“The Understated Executive Saloon“
It’s a little known fact that at one time an E-Class Mercedes was the fastest production Sedan in the world. In fact the year was 2003 and the model was the E55 AMG. Under the sleeper exterior hid a forged from fire supercharged 5.4-liter V8 pumping out no less than 469 hp and 516 lb-ft. When new, it was the fastest four-door vehicle in the world. It accelerated from 0-100 mph in less than 10 seconds, faster than anything else with four doors and faster than a Corvette Z06. It sparked the sports sedan wars that resulted in the horse power numbers we have in cars today.
Fast forward nearly two decades and in comes the E450. An equally intriguing piece of machinery that surprises its driver in ways the E55 did. The E450 utilizes a 3.0L V6 Biturbo to generate its forward momentum. This is good for 362 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque, available from almost idle at 1,800 rpm. This translates itself into a 0-60 time of 5 seconds flat. Now let me step back to the E450’s forefathers figures for a moment. The E55 had a 0-60 sprint of 4.2 seconds. That’s a difference of just 8 tenths of second, insignificant in real world terms. One of the reasons for this negligible difference is Mercedes intelligent 4Matic all wheel drive system, which allows the system to channel all that forward thrust to all four wheels when required which is capable of sending power to the wheels with most grip, even if that’s only one wheel.
The E450 has always been a class leader. The more driver focused executive saloon that gave you the comfort and class of its bigger brother S, but was leaner and smaller proportioned to better fit its driver tool function. The new E450 does not disappoint in this respect. Mercedes has endowed the E class with a host of comfort and luxury features that will not leave you wanting, including what one would consider normal luxury fair. The E-Class ups the ante with features like the following:
- Drive Dynamic Multicontour front seats (multi massage with active drive lumbar support)
- Heated armrests
- Soft close doors
- Heated rear seats
- Air balance cabin fragrance
To ensure driver safety while the comfort is being enjoyed, the E450 surrounds its occupants with features like:
- Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
- Active Steering Assist
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist
- Evasive Steering Assist
- Active Blind Spot Assist
- Active Lane Keeping Assist
- Active Lane Change Assist
- Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
- Congestion Emergency Braking
- Active Emergency Stop Assist
- Route-based Speed Adaptation
- Car-to-X Communication
- Active Brake Assist
- Attention Assist
- Crosswind Assist
- Blind Spot Assist
- Traffic Sign Assist
- Active Parking Assist
The most notable of these features are Car-to-X communication, which is Mercedes’ next generation inter vehicle communication system, that utilizes information broadcast by the E-Class to a Mercedes Cloud system that can prepare other vehicles from road hazards, changing road conditions and emergencies. The other is Route-based Speed Adaptation which allows the vehicle to adjust speed based on navigation if upcoming corners, turns and road alterations are detected. The combined systems are all working toward a utopian system that will avoid car crashes at all or at minimum ensure that lives are not lost in a car accident. On paper and in practical application the system sounds incredible, however, the sceptic in me screams an increasing reliance on these systems to the point that we have drivers avoiding their primary role to be responsible alert operators, but I digress, this is better left for a discussion on another day.
The piece de resistance of the E450 has to be the interior. It’s a remarkably serene place to be. The combination of the port hole like air vents, natural finish woods and satin brushed aluminum switchgear creates an air of opulence. You feel pampered while driving and can suit the environment to your needs as they change, with 64 colour LED ambient lighting and Air Balance Cabin Fragrancing, that fills the cabin with mood specific scents be it night out on the town or relaxation. The abundance of technology can be accessed by the primary 12.3 inch panoramic central display. This screen integrates seamlessly with the 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster. The result is, flabbergasting, with over two feet of screen spanning the dash of E Class. The system can be accessed by no less than five methods (touch, armrest dial, armrest touchpad, steering wheel touch pad and voice commands). The systems are all integrated by MBUX, Mercedes seamless AI system. It truly gives the most user friendly experience in the industry and provides for over the air updates and features like augmented reality navigation.
The E450 is a remarkable combination of brawn and brains and makes a compelling argument for not going full blown S Class. With an as tested price nearing $86,000.00 the E Class comes in significantly less than the S450 starting at $109,000.00. It does not come across brash or loud, yet provides an owner who wants to enjoy the process of driving a German engineered machine in the lap of luxury. Who doesn’t want that?