The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been an unqualified success for the German manufacturer, as it's sold more than 74 million sedans and coupes since its introduction.
In a bid to liven up the lineup, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is now available with a choice of two faces for the first time: the more pedestrian Luxury model or the spicier Sport, which also incorporates faster steering and stiffer suspension settings.
With six engines across 10 configurations, it's fair to say there's something in the 2014 E-Class lineup for every premium shopper, especially considering the entry-level model is just over half the price of the most expensive version. So which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.
What's New for 2014?
The E-Class model's mid-cycle facelift adds softer and curvier bodywork, a slew of new safety-assistance features, a 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine and subtle improvements to its interior trim. The E63 AMG model enjoys a power boost and, for the first time in any AMG sedan, standard all-wheel drive. The E-Class also gains numerous safety features.
What We Like
The tried-and-true E-Class platform receives new safety features for added peace of mind; sensual styling cues are a welcome relief from previous hard-edged design
What We Don't
Options packages quickly inflate MSRPs; revamped styling is polarizing for some; despite the facelift, bits of traditional Mercedes-Benz stodginess remain
The E250 BlueTEC sedan is powered by a 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 195 horsepower and is rated at 28 miles per gallon city/45 mpg highway. All E-Class models have a 7-speed transmission. Opt for the E350 sedan, and you have a 302-hp 3.5-liter gasoline V6 that gets 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy. The E400 Hybrid sedan combines electric assist and a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 24 mpg city/30 mpg hwy. The E550 sedan trades the humbler powerplants for a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 with a 402-hp output, and returns Environmental Protection Agency estimates of 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy. The E63 AMG (550 hp) and E63 AMG S-Model (577 hp) both pack a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8, and are rated at 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
The E-Class coupe and cabriolet models are powered by two engines: both hardtop and soft-top E350 versions get a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 302 hp and delivers 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy, while the E550 variants feature a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 with 402 hp and 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The E-Class sedan lineup starts with the E250 BlueTEC ($51,400), which can be ordered with a premium lighting package ($1,500). A no-cost sport styling package delivers a sportier suspension and trim as well as 17-inch wheels, while leather upholstery increases the price by $1,620. Interior options include a Premium 1 Package ($3,870), which includes a navigation system, Harman/Kardon Logic7 surround sound, heated front seats, a rear power sunshade and a rearview camera. Additional options include an electronic trunk closer ($560), Keyless Go ($650), split folding rear seats ($440) and active ventilated front seats ($450). Also available is a panorama roof ($1,090), an active multi-contour driver seat ($660), rear entertainment ($1,910) and an AC power outlet ($115). The 4Matic all-wheel drive can be ordered for $2,500, while blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist can be ordered together with the Lane Tracking Package ($875). Order the Driver Assistance Package ($2,800), and you'll get blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist, along with adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic assist and pre-safe plus braking.
The E350 ($51,900) is incrementally more expensive but quite a bit quicker, with a 3.5-liter 302-hp V6 and essentially the same options packages as the E250 BlueTEC.
The E400 Hybrid ($56,700) is equipped with more aggressive bodywork and offers most of the same options as lower-priced models, but adds an available parking-assist package ($1,290) and Parktronic ($970) with active parking assist.
The E550 4Matic ($61,400) offers more standard items such as leather upholstery, while its Premium 1 Package comes at a steeper premium ($4,320) and includes ventilated seats. As indicated in the model name, all-wheel drive is standard, while an Airmatic air suspension can be added for $1,610.
The E63 AMG 4Matic ($93,695) comes with a Premium 1 Package and is available with pricey options such as an exterior carbon-fiber package ($5,500) or an AMG Night Styling Package ($750), while the leather inside is upgraded to a softer Napa selection. The only interior options are the panorama roof ($1,090) and the premium Bang & Olufsen sound system ($5,400). Lane-tracking ($875) and Driver Assistance ($2,800) options are augmented by Surround View ($800) and a carbon-fiber engine cover ($1,500).
The E63 AMG S-Model 4Matic ($99,770) boosts 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, and mimics the options package of the non-S-Model variant.
The E350 Coupe ($52,200) is available with a Sport Package ($1,490) which includes 18-in AMG wheels, a sport steering wheel and a lighting package ($1,500). A Premium 1 Package ($3,270), active ventilated seats ($450) and Keyless Go ($650) round out the interior convenience options. The 4Matic all-wheel drive can be added for $2,500, while a Driver Assistance Package ($2,800) is also available. The self-parking Parktronic system with surround view runs at $1,290, while Parktronic can be ordered by itself for $970.
The E350 Cabriolet ($60,200) offers essentially the same options as above, with added options such as a wind stop ($550).
The E550 Coupe ($59,000) offers a Sport Package ($870) with multi-contour seats, brushed aluminum pedals and a premium lighting system ($1,500). A Premium 1 Package ($3,270) is also available. The same Driver Assistance Package ($2,800) as on the E350 can be ordered, though blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist ($875) can be ordered separately.
The E550 Cabriolet ($67,300) features essentially the same options list as the coupe.
The new E-Class boasts no fewer than 11 new safety systems, which Mercedes-Benz brands as Intelligent Drive.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Behind the Wheel
Though they're no land missiles, the 2014 E-Class coupes behave respectably well within their segments. They offer competent performance while delivering smooth, comfortable and Mercedes-Benz-like composure over the long haul.
On the other hand, the sedan models vary wildly in performance, with 0-to-60 miles per hour times ranging from a leisurely 7.9 seconds for the entry-level clean diesel E250 BlueTEC model to a blistering 3.6 seconds for the AMG versions.
The E350 coupe and cabriolet models offer decent acceleration to 60 mph (in 6.1 and 6.5 seconds, respectively), while the E550 versions have considerably more grunt, hitting 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
The ragtop versions don't offer the insulation of a folding hardtop, but convenience features abound, which help make top-down driving feel civilized and sedate. These include Mercedes-Benz's Aircap system, which deflects turbulent air away from the cabin to ensure quiet cruising.
The steering feel and handling feedback has been improved across the board, thanks to a new electromechanical steering setup, though the setup is more biased towards isolation from jarring responses than all-out road feel.
Other Cars to Consider
Audi A6 -- The midsize luxury sedan from Ingolstadt offers serious competition for the E-Class and BMW 5 Series, with a more contemporary cabin treatment, though its exterior styling isn't quite as cutting-edge as we'd like. Looking for a coupe equivalent? Audi's A5/S5/RS5 versions offer more performance options, mostly because Mercedes-Benz doesn't lend its E-Class coupes the AMG treatment.
BMW 5 Series -- Once the paradigm of sedan driving dynamics, the BMW 5 Series has shifted its focus toward a cushier, Lexus-like ride. Nonetheless, at least the 5 Series still manages to feel like a BMW when you're not lead-footing it, though we wonder if the following generation might attempt to recapture the car's sporty soul.
Lexus GS -- The Japanese manufacturer has made strides toward redefining its midsize luxury offering, and the GS makes excellent headway in forging a compelling case for itself against the German establishment. Thanks to a stiffer body and more aggressive suspension tuning, the Lexus offers a surprisingly rewarding driver experience while maintaining much of its signature smooth ride.
It may not be the most emotional choice in the segment (unless you opt for the AMG versions), but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans, coupes and convertibles offer plenty of likable personality traits in a package that's designed for optimum comfort, luxury and safety. If you need to have all-out performance, your only options are the 4-door AMG versions, which do stellar jobs of feeling powerful yet planted, thanks to their monstrous V8s and confidence-inspiring all-wheel-drive systems. But if you can handle lazier acceleration and don't want to break the bank, we'd suggest opting for a V6-powered E-Class sedan or coupe with a Premium Package, which should deliver many miles of driving satisfaction and leave you with a decent residual value when it's time to trade up.