By: Mike Ginsca
Quite possibly the biggest update in the E-class’ history, this 5th generation E250 features new electronic driver and safety aids, a new diesel engine, and a radically redesigned exterior.
Performance – Starting with the new diesel engine, it replaces the 3.0L V6 from the E350 with a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4. The new engine produces 201hp and a mindboggling 370 lb-ft of torque between 1600 and 1800 rpms. To put into perspective of just how much torque the tiny 4-cylinder engine produces, a V8 BMW M3 produces only 295 lb-ft of torque. Obviously these are two completely different engines but it just goes to show how far technology has advanced that you can now buy sports car levels of power in a normal sedan. But outright power is not the main reason why people choose to buy a diesel over a gasoline powered vehicle, it is the fuel economy. This small yet powerful engine achieves a fuel rating of 7.4L/100km in a city and 4.6L/100km on a highway. To drive, the engine gets the 1,845kg body moving off the line with very little effort thanks due to the massive amounts of torque that is available at low rpms. There is a slight amount of turbo lag when applying full throttle but the average E-class driver will most likely never notice it. Also there is a noticeable rumbling from the engine when compared with its gasoline counterpart. Diesel engines have improved drastically since the days of the old Mercedes-Benz 300D from the late 70’s and early 80’s but they’re just not quite on the same level as gasoline engines in terms of smoothness.
Through corners the car feels very stable and surprisingly fun to drive as well. The steering doesn’t feel as artificial and numb as in previous models and there is good feedback to the driver as to what the road surface is like. Also the all-wheel-drive system provides exceptional grip to ensure that all 370 lb-ft of torque from the engine gets to the road. The suspension has also been adjusted a bit to provide more sporty characteristics but at the same time not lose the superb comfort that Mercedes-Benz’s are known for. Regardless of how badly potholed a road may be, the E250 Bluetec glides over the bumps with a minimal amount of disturbance to the occupants in the cabin.
Comfort – In addition to the supple suspension, the seats of the E-class add to the level of comfort of the occupants. Covered in fine black leather, the seats are infinitely adjustable so that every person, regardless of size, can sit comfortably behind the wheel of the E250. Space in the back is also plentiful and trunk space is massive. The design of the dash and center console is greatly improved over the last generation E-class. While the center dash is still festooned with buttons, they are neatly arranged in groups for ease of understanding and use. On the center console, the rotary control for the COMMAND system is still in place but quick navigation buttons have been added for ease of use.
Odds and Ends – Other updates for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 are the electronic driver aid and safety programs. In addition to the industry standards of traction control and stability control, the new E250 is also fitted with Distronic Plus, BAS Plus, and Pre-Safe Plus with Pedestrian detection along with standard features such as Collision prevention and Adaptive brake assist. I’m not going to go into too much detail as to what each system does but in essence these features working together can keep the car in a lane by itself, brake if it detects and imminent crash or if a pedestrian walks in front of the car, adjust the seat and seatbelt for optimum positioning to prevent major injuries in the event of a crash, and can modulate the brake pressure so that enough braking force is applied but not so much that a vehicle would rear-end the E250 Bluetec. With all of these features working together the Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec can almost drive itself.
Thank you to the owner of this car for the opportunity to test drive and photograph it.