2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC
2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC

Test Drive: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC

The Mercedes-Benz E 300 is a Technology and Luxury Leader

Within a few blocks of driving this week’s vicariousmag.com tester, two observations came rapidly to mind.

The first had to do with my disappointment in hearing a most annoying vibration-induced rattle from somewhere within the instrument panel; a minor issue but unacceptable in any car, and more-so in a premium ride that starts at $61,200 and climbs from there.

The second observation was met with a level of delight beyond expectation. Knowing that the new E 300 is powered by a four-cylinder engine, I anticipated something sluggish and not particularly refined beneath the hood. Boy was I wrong.

The E 300’s 2.0L turbocharged I-4 dispenses 241 horsepower along with 273 lb-ft of torque, the sum of which is allocated as needed to all four corners via the Merc’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive technology, which is among the best in the industry.

The delight in this small but mighty power plant is found in the extraordinary degree of operational refinement that Mercedes-Benz engineers have bestowed upon it, and in its willing to move the sizable sedan with surprising authority, due in part to its nine-speed automatic transmission.

Nine cogs in the box means that our engine “that could” is able to produce far greater acceleration – and potentially superior fuel-efficiency – than something spinning fewer gears, which would more typically number at six or so.

As with most small turbocharged engines fitted to conventional automatic transmissions, momentary response-delay has to be factored into a plunge of the throttle, especially if it’s from a dead stop.

In such cases the E 300’s auto stop/start technology must re-light the fire before take-off. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz supplies an auto stop/start defeat switch; something other manufacturers refuse to do.

The pleasures experienced when settled deep into the E 300’s supportive seats are commensurate with the best in today’s luxury class, including silky-smooth ride dynamics. That said, it’s the onboard technology that steals the show inside the E 300’s outstanding cabin.

According to Mercedes-Benz, 2017 brings us the most advanced E 300 ever, and I have no argument with that. The first indicator of this milestone is the pair of side-by-side 12.3-inch screens which come alive when the vehicle is entered. These are not touchscreens, and I can’t praise Mercedes-Benz enough for not adopting that inferior tech-to-human interface.

The screen directly ahead of the driver is the graphical instrument cluster, which is configurable to suit the driver’s tastes. To the right sits a matching 12.3-inch screen, which supports navigation and a broad range of info and entertainment functions. The image-quality among these screens is the best I’ve sampled in an automobile to-date.

As much as I decry the use of screen in cars, and most notably touchscreens, I am impressed with the E 300’s setup and the ease in using the interface controller to follow fairy intuitive steps in moving through the multitude of programs.

Yes, some adaptation time is required before even the basic functions become second-nature but the initial perception of complexity is soon abated. That said, I’m willing to bet the farm – well if I had a farm – that the vast majority of E 300 buyers will seldom delve into the depths of its programmable technology.

Whether one opts to reconfigure their electronic instrument cluster or change the colour of accent lighting in the cabin, or drive momentarily with hands off the wheel, is really immaterial to the how well a vehicle serves its operator day-to-day, traffic jam to traffic jam, or on the open road. And it’s in that day-to-day usage where, in my view, the E 300 shows its greatest strengths.

I enjoyed this week’s tester and was appreciative of its fuel-economy, which is rated at 10.8L/100km in the city and 8.1L/100km on the highway. My around-town frugality averaged 11.9L/100km, which missed the published mark but was not too bad overall.

Though its base price is sixty-large and change, various option packages can push the MSRP into the $80K range, which opens the door to many fine competitors. Still, the E-Class Mercedes-Benz continues its reign as the benchmark for others to chase in the premium mid-size sedan category.

For my preference, I’d skip most of the option packages and opt for the more powerful E 400 ($69,400) or E 43 ($79,900) versions of the E-Class.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC
Price as tested (before taxes): $72,900.00
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L turbocharged I-4 / 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 241 hp / 273 lb-ft
Fuel-economy ratings (L/100km): city 10.8, highway 8.1
Observed fuel-economy (L/100km): 11.9
Warranty (basic): 4 years / 80,000 km
Competitors: Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS

Related links:
Mercedes-Benz Canada
Globe Drive

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