Full 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review
What's New for 2010
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup sees several changes for 2010. The E-Class sedan has been redesigned -- highlights include revised styling, a higher-quality interior and a lower base price. Also, a new coupe body style (it replaces the previous CLK-Class) joins the roster. Lastly, the previously available wagon body style and diesel-fueled V6 engine option have been discontinued, but they are expected to return to the lineup at a later date.
A lot has changed on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, from body style availability to interior design and quality. But nothing is more significant than this tidbit: The new, redesigned Mercedes costs less than the vehicle it replaces. And not by a little, either. There's a $5,400 difference between a 2010 Mercedes E550 sedan and the outgoing '09 edition. After years of rising prices and diminishing quality, Mercedes has dramatically reversed that trend with a cheaper car that's better in every way than its predecessor. Oh, and there's also a new E-Class coupe that's cheaper than the CLK-Class it replaces. Truly, there's good news all around.
When an automaker reduces the price of a redesigned model, there's the concern that quality has been sacrificed to achieve the price break. But those concerns seem unfounded in the new E-Class. The car feels solid and over-engineered in nearly every detail. The ride is remarkably buttoned-down and just as comfortable as before, but the new E is now a commendable handler with a taut chassis and communicative steering to boot. Inside, the interior benefits from a new look that in many ways apes the more expensive S-Class. Added up, these changes make the 2010 E-Class feel like the world-class automobile that the Mercedes three-pointed star is supposed to represent.
New for 2010 is the E-Class coupe, replacing the old CLK-Class in the Benz lineup. Although it's technically an engineering mishmash of the C-Class and E-Class platforms, the coupe shares the sedan's 3.5-liter V6 and 5.5-liter V8 engines that were carried over from '09. The wagon body style is gone for now, but returning to the E-Class lineup is the high-performance E63 AMG. This model can keep up with most exotic sport cars in a straight line and even bests smaller sport sedans when the road gets curvy.
There are too many improvements and updates to sufficiently describe in this space, but suffice to say, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan is a thoroughly better car than the one it replaces. Some competing cars are sportier (BMW 5 Series), some are more stylish (Jaguar XF) and others are cheaper (Infiniti M Series), but none offer the same level of all-around excellence. The new E-Class is a big leap forward, with its lower price being icing on the cake.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in sedan and coupe body styles. The sedan is available in E350, E550 and E63 AMG variants, with the numbers indicating different engine choices. The E-Class Coupe comes in E350 and E550 trim levels only.
The E350 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats with memory functions, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirrors, the COMAND electronic interface system, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with in-dash six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. The E350 Coupe is similar but has a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, sport seats and a single-CD player.
Compared to the regular E350 sedan, the E550 adds a V8 engine, an air suspension, an upgraded braking system, leather upholstery and heated seats. The E550 coupe adds 18-inch wheels, a sport body kit, a sport suspension and shift paddles, but deletes the heated seats.
Both the E350 and E550 sedans are available with Sport packages that add 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, sport steering wheel and different interior trim. The Premium 1 Package available on all E350 and E550 models includes a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice commands, a rearview camera, heated front seats (E350 sedan, all coupes), ventilated front seats (all sedans), a power rear sunshade and a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with digital music storage, HD radio, satellite radio and an iPod/MP3 player interface. The Premium 2 package adds all the Premium 1 items, plus adaptive bi-xenon headlights, adaptive high-beam assist, LED daytime running lamps, a power trunk closer (sedan only), keyless ignition/entry and ventilated seats (coupes). The sedan's Driver Assistance package adds a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system.
Stand-alone options on the sedan include parking sensors, infrared night-vision display, a panoramic sunroof, split-folding rear seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, expanded leather upholstery and a multicontour driver seat with massage.
The E63 AMG includes all the E550 equipment plus a larger V8, sport transmission, adjustable drive settings, adaptive sport suspension, high-performance brakes and sport steering wheel. The E63's Premium 1 package includes only the navigation system, rearview camera and voice commands, as the rest of the equipment is standard on the AMG. The Premium 2 package and most of the stand-alone options are also available. The AMG Performance package adds 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, even sportier suspension tuning and a leather/Alcantara steering wheel.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan and coupe are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard and sends power to the rear wheels. EPA estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the sedan, while the coupe gets 17/26.
The E550s are powered by a 5.5-liter V8 good for 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The seven-speed auto is again standard. In performance testing, the E550 sedan went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.3 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 16/24 for the sedan and 15/23 for the coupe. Both the E350 and E550 sedans are also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive.
The E63 AMG has a 6.2-liter V8 that pumps out 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. It's coupled to a sport-tuned seven-speed automatic with a paddle-shift manual mode. According to Mercedes, the E63 will go from zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds, which is stunning for a large, four-door vehicle.
The E-Class comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, front pelvic airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Also standard is Attention Assist (a driver drowsiness and alerting monitor) and PreSafe (it anticipates an imminent crash and automatically takes measures to better secure occupants). The sedan's Driver Assistance package adds a blind-spot warning system, a lane departure warning system and PreSafe braking. Rear side airbags are optional on both the sedan and coupe, while an infrared night vision system is optional on the sedan.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class features a cabin indicative of Mercedes' blocky, bulletproof designs of yore. Angles are sharp, the materials first-rate and when adorned in monotone color schemes and dark wood trim, the look is decidedly somber -- in other words, very German. The general design is the same regardless of body style, except for the available three-spoke sport steering wheel and electric gear selector (column-mounted on the sedan; console-mounted in the coupe and AMG).
All E-Class models come with Mercedes' COMAND electronics interface, which combines a large display screen, a control knob and dash-mounted buttons. There's a bit of a learning curve involved, but it's generally neither better nor worse than Audi or BMW's similar systems.
In terms of space and comfort, the E-Class sedan is excellent. The seats are firm, but offer endless comfort and support over the long haul. The coupe and AMG's sport seats offer a closer fit, designed to keep you in place through turns. The sedan's backseat is incredibly spacious, matching the BMW 5 Series as the most welcoming rear quarters in the midsize luxury class. The coupe seats only two people, but overall rear seat comfort is better than that in most luxury coupes.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class strikes a brilliant balance between ride quality and handling ability. Within its segment, the E is by far the most adaptable, rewarding and confident car for the widest variety of surfaces and situations. Although it's not the most athletic car to drive, it nevertheless offers highly tactile steering, strong engines and a chassis that inspires confidence. Regardless of body style or engine, the 2010 E-Class is a remarkable luxury car to drive.
The E63 AMG is even more remarkable. Anything that can seat five people in comfort and go from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds would certainly warrant that descriptor. Its myriad performance upgrades -- suspension, steering, brakes, wheels, tires and transmission -- make for a car that's more than just a straight-line wonder. This is a serious performance machine.