2014 Mercedes Benz E350 Sedan (3.5L V6 7-Speed Automatic)
Driven On 8/5/2013
The slightly refreshed 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides a luxurious cabin that isolates passengers in quiet comfort. We felt our Sport package-equipped E350 4Matic test vehicle lacked some driver engagement compared to rivals, but it remains a top-shelf sport/luxury sedan worth serious consideration.
PerformanceThe E350's 302-hp 3.5-liter V6 is comparable to other mid-range luxury sedans, but overall the E-Class lacks some performance versus a few rivals. The sport-tuned suspension did not quite live up to our expectations in terms of athleticism.
0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds is a few tenths slower than some rivals but still plenty fast for most drivers. Gear shifts are incredibly smooth and passing slower traffic is effortless.
Panic stops from 60 mph needed only 110 feet, which is expected for sedans like these with summer tires. The pedal remained moderately firm with little nosedive.
Steering effort is far too light and lacks feedback. The wheel is slow to center, and we occasionally outran the power assist during slalom testing, resulting in a weird squishy resistance.
Odd rebounds were evident during hard cornering, made worse by mid-corner bumps. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive kept it on the intended path, but handling lacked confidence.
Engine auto start/stop is fairly smooth and quick to respond. The E350 is best suited to the daily commute and leisure touring. The light steering does make parking in tight spots effortless.
ComfortThe E350's cabin puts an emphasis on comfort and luxury. Average-sized adults will find all seats acceptable for long periods, but taller folk may lack thigh support. The optional Sport package compromised ride quality slightly.
Front seats are well shaped and padded, and were still comfy after many hours in the saddle. Taller drivers may find the seat cushion lacks thigh support. MB Tex faux leather is very convincing and breathes well.
The optional Sport suspension smoothes out smaller road imperfections, but moderate bumps on the highway cause an unsettling lurch followed by a few odd rebounds.
Road and wind noise are barely detectable at highway speeds and over a variety of surfaces. Creaks and squeaks from the interior were non-existent.
InteriorThe E350 is stately with old-school luxury and new-tech capabilities. Materials are top-notch and all controls are right where they should be. After a very short period, the quick-reacting COMAND interface becomes second nature.
All buttons and knobs are thoughtfully placed, particularly the single COMAND dial that rests perfectly under your right hand. The display is sharp and easy to navigate.
Appropriately sized doors make access easy in tight parking spaces and the door frames don't obstruct, either.
All seats have enough head- and legroom for the average adult, though seat cushions are low and slightly reclined.
Excellent forward visibility. Angled A-pillars to make them seem thinner. Rear visibility is good, but backing into small spots requires reliance on the optional rearview camera.
Good-sized pockets, bins and removable cupholders. Generous 15.9 cu-ft trunk is larger than most and features a low liftover, remote rear seat releases and no obstructions.
ValueAt $65,300, our generously optioned E350 4Matic is priced right with similarly equipped AWD luxury sedans in its class. The Sport package (sport suspension and styling) is a no-cost option that we would skip.
Build Quality (vs. $)
There is no doubt the E350 is well built. All interior elements are well constructed and free of squeaks and creaks. Previous E-Class generations did feel a bit more solid, though.
Standard features and option pricing are comparable for the class, but navigation and a rearview camera are only offered with the $3,870 Premium 1 package, not as standalone options.
The base E350 $51,900 sticker is a few thousand less than the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, but about $5,000 more than a Jaguar XF. Adding options eventually evens the playing field.
With an EPA-estimated 24 mpg Combined (20 City/29 Hwy), the E350 4Matic is typical for the class. We averaged 25.8 mpg on our evaluation loop, but only 18.7 over our two weeks with the car.
The E-Class' 4-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty is the same as other mid-sized luxury sedans in this class. Factory extended warranties are available at added cost.
Prepaid Mercedes maintenance is offered at additional cost but BMW offers it for free. 24-hr roadside assistance is included, as is six months of mbrace emergency telematics.
Fun To DriveEven with the Sport package and its sport-tuned suspension, the Benz isn't quite at the performance standards of Audi and BMW. All-wheel-drive keeps it solidly on the road, but this car should be thought of as a luxury sedan, not a sport sedan.
Think of the E350 only as a luxury sedan and it will certainly satisfy, though we would again caution against the Sport package's stiffer suspension that degrades the ride.
The E350 is as luxury sedans should be: stately, warm and sophisticated. The Sport package adds a slightly disingenuous visual athleticism that isn't backed up on the road.