The Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan was significantly updated for 2014. There are some new engines and safety features, and the styling is a little more feminine, less monolithic. Those are just the highlights, the most important fact has remained the same: this is one of the best cars, you can buy, period.
Once again, there are 5 E-Class sedan variants to choose from. This E350, the E550 and E400 Hybrid all largely carry over with the same engines. The diesel model is now the E250 Bluetec and has a more efficient four-cylinder, while on the other end of the spectrum, the E63 AMG has even more power in both its regular form and with the S-Model package. It's also all-wheel-drive now, which is good for traction but terrible for the tire industry.
No matter the engine, though, the E is just wonderful to drive. I could do without this somewhat crashy sport suspension, but it's still well-damped, and the whole car is both tremendously refined and still involving. All the controls are just perfectly weighted, including this steering that can be fingertip light yet it's precise and lets you know what the wheels are doing. This isn't trying to be a four-door sports car or some rolling isolation chamber. It's honest, it knows what it is and I could just keep on driving it forever.
Now, if I actually tried to do that, this cabin is definitely set up for the long haul. Construction's impeccable, these seats are very supportive and there's loads of space — both up front and in the huge back seat should I bring some friends along for eternity. Oh, and their stuff will fit in the trunk — there're nearly 16 cubes and a wide opening.
Like all cars in this segment, there's an enormous amount of available equipment. Much of it is controlled through the latest COMAND interface. There is some learning curve involved, but once you know the basics, it's very intuitive. Clever too. Check out this iPod interface. Most would have you twirling through all your playlists. With Comand, you can click over here and skip ahead by letter — just like an iPhone. Simple, brilliant.
Mercedes puts an emphasis on safety with more airbags than anyone else, a standard drowsiness monitor and an optional lane-departure system that'll actually steer you back into place. These optional LED headlights might be the most obvious safety feature, though — at night it's like having an actual star glued to the grille.
If this all seems remarkably positive, there's a good reason: this is a fantastic automobile. Something like a Lexus GS may be cheaper, but this is the better car. The Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series are closer in price and competitiveness, and perhaps they'll be more appealing to you for one reason or another, but on its own, you can't go wrong with an E-Class.
Now for more on the Mercedes E-Class and its rivals, go to Edmunds.com.