Generation next

The new generation E-class is finally here. And it's certainly been worth the wait.

Vikrant Singh        Print Edition: February 7, 2010

The BMW 5-series was hitherto the car to buy if you were looking for a powerful luxury saloon. But, with the new E-class now in the fray, the equation has changed. And there's no doubt that the E-class is the better looking car of the two, both inside and out. It has more road presence; the ridges on the hood, the strong shoulder line and the chiselled and flared haunches, not to mention the limousine-like stance, are attributes that draw stares in its direction.

Inside, too, the design for the dashboard is very tastefully done. Moreover, the plastics exude quality and a rich feel. The various switches and knobs feel taut in operation, be it for the climate control or the doormounted seat adjustment controls. Overall, the insides have a sense of occasion; it's more embellished. To top it all, the stowage management is well sorted out on the new Mercedes as well.

It doesn't have the best seats in the house, however. You won't find them uncomfortable, of course, but these are firm and lack the right contours to make you feel at home immediately. Also, the slightly raised floor pedals, particularly for the brake, doesn't feel natural. The new E runs a stiffer suspension setup compared to the car it replaces. Add to it a stiffer chassis, and it handles much better than the older car. The turn-in is sharp and the body control well reigned in. It also has a quick steering, even if light and less communicative. The car also tends to wallow over undulating corners if pushed really hard, but that's something one would rarely indulge in, especially in a luxury saloon like the E.

What an E-class owner would do, though, is traverse over imperfect roads. And its good ride is a boon here. The car, even though a tad noisy over broken tarmac, has good absorption ability and never sends a rude jolt to its occupants, no matter what the road might throw up. And it only gets better as the speeds rise — the E-class feels surer, more absorbent and relaxed over poor surfaces at speed.

It comes with two engine options—a 3.5-litre petrol engine and a 3-litre diesel. Of the two, it's the diesel we recommend. For a diesel car, it has a refined, easy revving engine that packs in oodles of torque. It delivers a good top-end performance, too. Touching 100 kmph, for instance, comes in about 7 seconds and it can register a top speed of 250 kmph. Driveability, again be it in kickdown mode or otherwise, never leaves you wanting for drive. Naturally, it's more frugal, too, and along with lower pricing for diesel, helps cut your running costs compared to the petrol.

The new E-class then is good looking, has a high wellness coefficient, and has good quality on its side, too. It's also comfy and handles decently. Plus, there's the three-pointed star to revel in.

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