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2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2016

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains at the pinnacle of midsize luxury. It offers something for virtually every premium shopper. Featuring several engines, rear- or all-wheel drive and no fewer than four body styles (sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible), the E-Class lineup is one of the most varied and versatile.

It also has a wide price range, with the range-topping AMG E63 S costing nearly twice as much as the entry-level E250 BlueTEC. Mercedes-Benz has an all-new generation due for the 2017 model year, but in the meantime, let's celebrate the 2016 car.

What's New for 2016?

The E400 Hybrid and the regular E63 AMG are no more. The top-spec AMG E63 S sedan and wagon are the only high-performance models. Garmin MAP PILOT is now standard in cars with navigation. And gray metallic paint is a new option.

What We Like

Invincible feel at top speed; variety of engines and body styles; plenty of technology

What We Don't

Pricey options; dull dashboard design

How Much?

$53,575-$105,225

Fuel Economy

The E250 BlueTEC sedan is motivated by a 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 195 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It's rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 28 miles per gallon in the city, 42 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive consumption is estimated at 27 mpg city/38 mpg hwy/31 mpg combined.

The E350's 3.5-liter gasoline V6 develops 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, returning 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (rear-wheel drive) or 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (all-wheel drive).

The E400 uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 for 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. Consumption is 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined regardless of the drive system. The rear-drive E400 Coupe and Cabriolet (convertible) fare slightly better at 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

A twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 endows the E550 Coupe and Cabriolet with 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque while achieving 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined (rear-drive only).

The AMG E63 S sedan and wagon enjoy 577 hp and 590 lb-ft from a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that gets through gasoline to the tune of 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined. Both come with all-wheel drive as standard.

All E-Class models have a 7-speed transmission.

Standard Features & Options

The lineup starts with the E250 BlueTEC ($53,575) and E350 ($54,025) sedans, which come in both Luxury and Sport trim for the same price. The Luxury trim has a grille topped by a 3-pointed star ornament, while the Sport trim gets a firmer suspension and a different grille with a large star emblem set into it.

All models in this group offer standard features, such as LED headlights and taillights, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, power front seats with memory, synthetic leather upholstery (which is actually better than it sounds), Bluetooth, an infotainment system with real buttons and an 8-speaker audio system with USB connectivity.

The E350 is also available as an all-wheel-drive wagon ($60,825).

The E400 sedan ($64,025) is Sport-trim-only, and standard equipment includes power-folding mirrors, leather upholstery, navigation and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

For the most part, the 4-seater E400 coupe ($55,125) and E400 convertible ($63,175) share the sedan equivalent's features.

The E550 coupe ($61,225) and E550 convertible ($69,625) step up to extras such as 18-inch AMG wheels and adaptive suspensions.

Offered as either a sedan ($102,625) or wagon ($105,225), the AMG E63 S 4MATIC receives extensive styling and performance upgrades (including a limited-slip differential) to complement its wild twin-turbo V8 and sport-tuned suspension.

The E-Class generally seems to offer more options than any other car on the market. Highlights (depending on the model and style) include a panoramic sunroof, an automated parking system, neck-level heating vents, kidney-vibrating Bang & Olufsen audio, sport front seats and carbon-ceramic brake discs.

Safety

The 2016 E-Class comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and driver-drowsiness alert. Airbags are seemingly everywhere in the cabin, although rear airbags are available as a separate option. The optional Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and a collision-mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.

In government crash tests, the E-Class sedan and wagon received four stars out of a possible five overall, with four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the E-Class sedan and coupe its top rating of Good in all categories.

Behind the Wheel

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup offers several levels of performance, from torque-rich acceleration in the E250 BlueTEC to missile-grade thrust in the E550 and AMG E63 S models.

Every version feels stable and secure, inspiring absolute confidence, yet there's also a little edge there for the driver who'd like to push things a touch further -- unless we're talking about the AMG cars, in which case there's a ton of edge.

The blocky, conservative dashboard is a bit disappointing because it's now showing its age, but there's no disputing the modern technology it contains.

Although E-Class convertibles don't offer the security and all-season viability of a folding hardtop, the optional AIRSCARF neck heaters get most of the way there. Haulers will love the wagon's capacious interior (maximum cargo space is 57.4 cu ft.), while most enthusiasts will respect the singularly awesome E63 AMG wagon. Incidentally, the AMG division has tuned the 4MATIC system to send 67 percent of torque to the rear wheels (the usual distribution is 55 percent), making the drive feel sportier.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Audi A6 -- The A6 offers serious competition with its sleek exterior, refined cabin and athletic driving character.

2016 BMW 5 Series -- Once a paragon of sport-sedan responsiveness, the 5 Series has shifted its focus toward the comfort end of the spectrum. It still has a BMW-like character, though, and its luxury quotient is impressive.

2016 Jaguar XF -- The XF is a new generation for 2016. It's supple, smooth and supercharged.

2016 Lexus GS -- The GS makes a compelling case against the German establishment by providing a surprisingly rewarding drive while maintaining that Lexus-signature smooth ride.

Used Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class -- In certified pre-owned form, this 4-door coupe is a viable alternative to the relatively staid E-Class.

Autotrader's Advice

You could wait for the new generation of E-Class, but you might actually prefer to get the last of this generation with all the wrinkles ironed out. Since there are so many variants, the version to choose is really up to you. It's ridiculous to recommend the diesel sedan if you want a high-speed convertible. One thing is certain: The E-Class cars are among the best cars on the planet.

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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.
2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader