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Merc’s latest Class act

2013-06-21 08:34

GETTING BETTER WITH AGE: Mercedes has given the E-Class a makeover and completely modernised the vehicle, raising the bar in the luxury car segment for sure. Image: Mercedes


It looks like car manufacturing giant Mercedes-Benz is beginning to enjoy 2013.

About three months ago it launched an all-new and very different A-Class to the motoring world – and what a hit that’s turned out to be in a really short time.

Now another of their alphabet cars has come under the microscope at the Stuttgart R&D department in Germany in the form of a complete makeover – and what a stunningly beautiful vehicle the E-Class has blossomed into.


If the radical Mercedes-Benz A-Class caught the world’s imagination that trend is set to continue with the latest 16-model, two-level line-up (Elegance and Avantgarde) with prices in South Africa ranging from R541 000 for the E200 to R1 396 604 for the flagship E63 AMG ‘S’ due here in time for Christmas.

With new, efficient engines, new assistance systems and a new design idiom that’s sure to please even the most exacting aficionado, Merc has comprehensively modernised the E-Class in sedan, coupe, cabriolet and wagon form – surely raising the crossbar that should give them a comfortable edge in the luxury vehicle segment for some time to come.

The buzzwords being bandied about by the techies at the launch referred to “intelligent drive” – a host of comfort and safety features – some taken from the existing S-Class and even improved, among them systems that really can help to prevent accidents with crossing vehicles or pedestrians, keep the car in its lane and avoid dazzling oncoming drivers with its headlights.

Take for instance the all-new engine in the “baby” E200. It’s a powerful BlueDIRECT four-cylinder with direct injection technology developing 135kW and 300Nm.

Another milestone for the brand: the whole E-Class range is available with two different front ends: the Elegance equipment line come as standard with the classic, three-dimensional radiator with its three-louvre look and conventional Mercedes-Benz star on the bonnet; the Avantgarde has a sporty front with central star and a rather more sporty profile.


The range portrays a broad, distinctive derriere with horizontal diode tail lights. Overall, I’d say the E-Class now looks more elongated and quite possibly more elegant – dynamic good looks that can only be found in a car of this stature.

A new dimension mentioned earlier and one of the components of “intelligent drive” definitely deserves a closer look – and rightfully so – because Merc seems hell-bent on continuing to produce arguably the safest cars in the world.

Called Distronic Plus, and to paraphrase some of the more salient technical jargon, this is the basis of new, state-of-the-art sensors and corresponding algorithms. Mercedes-Benz has made a major step forward with the introduction of the stereo multi-purpose camera. Just like the mono multipurpose camera fitted previously, it is positioned behind the windscreen near the rear-view mirror.

However, this camera features two "eyes" set at 45 degrees and with an overall range of 500m that produce a three-dimensional view of the area up to about 50m ahead. This provides data for various systems to classify objects – animals, pedestrian, reading road signs.


Mercedes-Benz is also introducing improved versions of the multistage radar system to help avoid a collision and even brake the car. There wasn’t time to drive all the models over the chosen route – suffice to say that if I had to choose a favourite it would have to be the E500 coupe.

Perhaps a little shy of the AMG 63’s 430kW/800Nm on tap, the E500 is still powered by a stonkin' V8 capable of 300kW/600Nm. The motor’s “soundtrack” remains much in evidence but it’s the all-round package that had particular appeal for me.

Standard equipment for your R938 465 is AMG styling, sunroof, dynamic handling package, the same 7G-Tronic gearbox as fitted across the E-Class range and a few optional extras that simply position the “cherry” right on its pinnacle such as lane-tracking (R9800), and ‘air-conned’ front (R13 100) – complete with full massage capabilities.

That takes the ticket price very close to R1 million, so feel free to keep the change!

PRICES (inc VAT, excluding CO2 tax)

Sedans and Estate
E 200  - R541 000
E 250  - R565 000
E250 Estate - TBA
E 250 CDI - R573 000
E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID - R634 000
E 350 BlueTEC - R716 000
E 40 - R736 000
E 500 - R928 604

Coupe and Cabriolet
E250 Coupe - R582 554
E250 Cabriolet - R657 211
E400 Coupe - R774 632
E400 Cabriolet - R858 032
E500 Coupe - R938 465
E500 Cabriolet - R999 445

E 63 AMG range
E 63 AMG R1 275 604
E 63 AMG “S” R1 396 604
(available third quarter 2013)

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