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2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2017

To own a 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is to live on a level where luxury, technology and superb driving abilities commingle. The E-Class is packed with much of the company's newest technology, including features like evasive steering assistance, intelligent cruise control, active lane keeping and active blind spot monitoring. The car keeps a virtual hand on the controls.

Even without such advanced equipment, every member of the E-Class range is still a desirable and luxurious car. The sedan is a top choice in the premium midsize class, but the wagon, coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) versions occupy their own specific niches.

What's New for 2018?

An E 400 4Matic sedan arrives, joined by E 63 S sedan and wagon versions, plus all-new coupes and convertibles. These latter two body styles are real E-Class variants; the previous generation's 2-door models were based on the C-Class platform. There have also been some changes to equipment.

What We Like

Superb driving manners, quality and technology

What We Don't

Options can be expensive -- a common complaint about premium German cars

How Much?

$53,945-$107,945

Fuel Economy

The E 300 is propelled by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This goes through a 9-speed automatic transmission to either standard rear-wheel drive or an optional all-wheel-drive system (known as 4Matic).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for the rear-drive version at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. With all-wheel drive, it returns 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

The E 400 variants all use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. This is also linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard in the sedan and wagon, optional in the coupe and convertible. The EPA puts fuel use at 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined for the sedan and 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined for the wagon.

The rear-drive E 400 coupe is rated at 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined; the 4Matic version achieves 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. The rear-drive E400 Cabriolet returns 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined; all-wheel drive changes that to 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

The Mercedes-AMG E 43 sedan's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 develops 396 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Fuel consumption is 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

The AMG E 63 S sedan and wagon have a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 making a considerable 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Once again, a 9-speed automatic transmission is deployed, sending drive to all four wheels. The result is 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined for the sedan and 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined for the wagon.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class range encompasses sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) body styles.

The E 300 sedan ($53,945), E 400 4Matic sedan ($59,895) and E 400 4Matic wagon ($64,045) share similar equipment levels. They're separated into Luxury and Sport trims. The Luxury has a 3-pointed star hood ornament, while the Sport gets a firmer suspension, 18-inch AMG-design wheels, a black headliner and a different grille with a Mercedes-Benz star emblem set into it.

Standard equipment includes 17-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, push-button start, a sunroof, an illuminated entry system, rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lighting, power-folding/heated side mirrors, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, selectable driving modes, a rearview camera, ambient LED cabin lighting, a 12.3-in infotainment display, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, an 8-speaker audio system and HD Radio. The E 400 4Matic wagon also has a powered tailgate and 18-in wheels.

The Premium 1 options bundle has blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a self-parking function for parallel and perpendicular spaces. It also brings heated front seats, satellite radio, wireless smartphone charging, a Burmester 14-speaker audio system, keyless entry/ignition and hands-free/powered operation of the sedan's trunk lid.

Premium 2 takes the contents of Premium 1 and adds adaptive headlights, a fragranced cabin air system, automatic high beams and a powered sunshade for the sedan's rear window.

Premium 3 comes with Premium 2's features plus the more involved driver aids such as evasive-action assistance, forward cross-traffic assistance, rear/side-impact preparation, adaptive cruise control with active steering, lane-keeping, blind spot monitoring and forward-collision mitigation, speed-limit road-sign recognition, a 360-degree camera system and a head-up display.

Other options include an adaptive air suspension, 19- and 20-in alloy wheels, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, heating for the front armrests and steering wheel, a second 12.3-in screen as an instrument cluster and upgraded audio setups.

The E 400 coupe ($59,895) and E 400 Cabriolet ($67,295) enjoy extras like leather upholstery and 18-in wheels. Naturally, the convertible versions have wind deflectors and offer neck-warming vents set into the front seats (Airscarf).

The Mercedes-AMG E 43 ($72,595) comes with its own engine, all-wheel-drive system, air suspension and braking setup appropriate for a more powerful machine. It also has various AMG cosmetic additions, plus 19-in alloy wheels.

The E 63 S sedan ($104,995) and E 63 S wagon ($107,945) have most of the equipment found in the E 43 and E 400, along with limited-slip rear differentials, special suspensions, strengthened driveline components and high-performance tires. Carbon-ceramic brake discs are an option.

Safety

The E-Class comes standard with 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, driver drowsiness alert and a considerable array of airbags. Rear side airbags, though, are available separately, along with small airbags in the rear seat belts.

An impressive standard safety feature is Pre-Safe Sound, which, when sensing an imminent collision, sends out pink noise through the audio system, triggering a reflex in the inner ear and protecting occupants' hearing from the noise of the impact. It's kind of an audible equivalent of red-eye flashlights in cameras.

The optional side-impact protection automatically inflates the relevant seat bolster to move a person away from the point of collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the E-Class sedan and wagon its top rating of five stars overall, with five stars apiece for front- and side-impact protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet to publish crash-test scores, but it gave the previous-generation sedan and coupe its top rating of Good in all categories, so we expect the new model to perform similarly.

Behind the Wheel

The E 43 is just one star in this particular show. It has an authoritative power that sits well in a luxury/sport sedan and feels unshakably stable, virtually regardless of conditions. Yet its air suspension means it can be just as comfortable as sporty.

The E 300 and E 400 4Matic aren't so thrilling, but they still have the smooth ride that's a Mercedes-Benz strength. The E 63 S versions, on the other hand, are super-quick.

Every E-Class also enjoys plenty of Mercedes-Benz strengths, such as exemplary fit and finish, along with superb cabin materials. The coupe and convertible models are 4-seaters, offering more passenger space than their predecessors.

The sedan's trunk space measures 13.1 cu ft., about enough for three sets of golf clubs, but it's eclipsed by the BMW 5 Series' 18.7 cu ft. The wagons are far more commodious, with 35 cu ft. behind the second row of seating and what works out to around 64 cu ft. when the second and third rows are folded down. The E 400 wagon can also accommodate up to seven with a pair of rear-facing seats that fold flat into the loadspace floor.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Audi A6 -- Sleek exterior, refined cabin and athletic driving character. But ready to be replaced by another generation soon.

2018 BMW 5 Series -- Comes with its own suite of impressive tech features. It's no slouch to drive, either.

2018 Cadillac CTS -- Good enough to be a major consideration in this class.

2018 Jaguar XF -- Supple, smooth and supercharged.

2018 Lexus GS -- Makes a compelling case against German dominance by providing a surprisingly rewarding drive while maintaining that hallmark Lexus-smooth ride.

Used Porsche Panamera -- Luxurious and spacious. And who needs self-driving features when it can drive like a Porsche? Look for a certified pre-owned (CPO) model and rest easy with the extensive warranty.

Autotrader's Advice

There are so many versions that recommending one in particular might perhaps work for one buyer but end up as absolute nonsense to another. The best advice is to keep a careful eye on the options.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader