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Although it costs more than its peers, a combination of excellent driving dynamics, numerous safety and luxury features and high style make the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class one of our favorites.
Sleek and dignified design inside and out, pleasing blend of ride and handling, powerful V8 engines, sophisticated safety features, all-wheel drive available on both sedans and wagons.
More expensive than competitors, confusing control layout, electronically controlled brakes lack progressive feel.
Available E-Class Models
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Most of the changes to the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class relate to engine upgrades. Last year's E500 model is gone, and in its place is the 382-horsepower E550. Mercedes' AMG division has also renamed last year's E55 AMG as the E63 AMG in light of its more powerful 507-hp V8 engine. Additionally, there's an improved version of the diesel-fueled E320; called Bluetec, it promises reduced tailpipe emissions. Rounding out the changes are updated front-end styling, the addition of the PreSafe anticipatory safety system (from the S-Class), improved adaptive lighting, a new sport package and a few extra standard features that were previously optional.
For more than 20 years, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been one of the most successful and popular midsize luxury sedans. For many North American consumers, it represents the ideal middle ground between what could be seen as the plebian C-Class and the overly visible and expensive S-Class. Indeed, the current E-Class, which was last redesigned in 2003, has found about a million buyers worldwide. Such popularity in an increasingly arduous world market also makes it one of those rare cars that seems to be valued as much by those who purchase it as by the company profiting from its sale.
For the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a number of changes have been made to keep it fully competitive. Last year's E500 has been replaced by the new E550. Featuring the new 32-valve, 5.5-liter V8 from the redesigned S-Class, the E550 makes 382 hp, which is a considerable 80 hp more than the E500's output. It's connected to a new seven-speed automatic transmission. The E55 AMG performance model, meanwhile, has stepped aside for the E63 AMG. The E63 features an all-new 6.3-liter 507-hp V8 developed specifically by AMG engineers. Impressively, this power comes about without the help of supercharging or turbocharging.
For those interested more in fuel economy, Mercedes-Benz will be offering an improved version of the diesel-fueled E320 later in the year. Now called the E320 Bluetec (instead of CDI), this model has an all-new V6 in lieu of the previous inline six-cylinder. Though power output and fuel economy are similar, the Bluetec engine takes advantage of the U.S. government's new low-sulfur diesel fuel requirement. New technologies allow the 2007 E320 to produce fewer tailpipe emissions. In spite of those efforts, however, the E320 Bluetec is still a "45-state" car, meaning it didn't pass the very stringent emissions tests required in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New York and California.
The E-Class is not without fault. For one, it's expensive -- not S-Class expensive, but still dear, especially when compared to competitors from Japan. Nor can it match the handling athleticism of its chief rival, the BMW 5 Series. All told, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a dramatically appealing luxury car and maintains its position as one of the most capable, most luxurious and safest vehicles on the road.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available as a midsize luxury sedan or wagon. Available trim levels include the E350 (sedan and wagon), E550 (sedan only) and E63 AMG (sedan and wagon). On the entry-level E350 you'll find standard luxury features such as a sunroof, a power liftgate (wagons only), dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, 10-way power front seats, memory settings for three different drivers, interior wood trim and the COMAND (Cockpit Management and Data) interface. Also standard is a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary jack input.
The optional P1 package for the E350 adds heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system and satellite radio. The P2 package has these features plus bi-xenon adaptive headlights and Keyless Go. A no-cost Sport package features a sport suspension and 18-inch wheels. Stand-alone options include premium leather upholstery, a panorama sunroof, an electronic trunk closer and park assist. The E550 is similar but has an Airmatic adaptive suspension, four-zone automatic climate control, premium leather upholstery and optional ventilated front seats. The flagship Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG has special exterior styling and interior trim, sport seats, upgraded brakes and a sport-tuned Airmatic suspension. It's also the only model eligible for Distronic adaptive cruise control.
The Mercedes E350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The E550 features a 5.5-liter V8 capable of 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. Both models send their power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive versions, called 4Matic, are also available for those models -- they have five-speed automatics. The top-line E63 AMG has a 6.3-liter V8 developing 507 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque and an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic that routes all that torque to the rear wheels. Acceleration from either V8 model is exemplary; in testing, we found that the E550 hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Expect about a second less for the E63 AMG.
All E-Class models come with stability control, antilock brakes with brake assist, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and the TeleAid emergency system. A new feature for '07 is PreSafe; if the system anticipates an imminent crash, it automatically takes measures to better secure occupants. Whiplash-reducing front head restraints are also new this year. In government crash tests, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan earned four stars (out of five) for frontal impacts and a perfect five stars for side impacts. In IIHS frontal offset crash testing, the midsize Benz earned the top rating of "Good."
The five-passenger E-Class sedan provides an airy two-tone cabin, where supple leather seats and coordinating soft-touch surfaces are complemented by wood inlays, chrome accents and gathered sections of leather on the door panels. The attractive analog instrumentation is generally easy to read, but functions associated with the COMAND system take awhile to figure out. Rear-seat room is adequate for two adults. The wagon, a frequent top pick in our Editors Most Wanted awards, has a rear-facing, two-passenger third-row seat. Fold it and the 60/40-split second-row seat down and you'll have 69 cubic feet of cargo room available.
While certainly adequate in terms of handling performance, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class isn't a willing partner like a 5 Series can be. Pushed hard, the E-Class displays noticeable body roll, and the brake pedal's soft feel doesn't inspire confidence. That the car is better used for cruising city streets and highways probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. For going in a straight line, the new powertrains (new V6 last year, new V8s this year, new seven-speed transmissions) provide the E-Class with impressive amounts of power and refinement. The E550 and E63 can dust off most sports cars, while the E350 delivers acceptable acceleration and decent fuel economy.
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