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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Same high levels of performance as in the past
Seven-speed autobox...isn't responsive either
Steering accuracy is better and more BMW-like
Car and Driver
Mercedes-Benz significantly improves the overall performance characteristic of the Mercedes E-Class, but the E-Class shouldn't be confused with Mercedes' own sports car lineup. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that it's more of a luxury touring car than a true sports sedan.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is mostly new, but it still offers the same engine choices as last year's version. According to Car and Driver, "two engines will be offered: a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8." Both engines are quite capable, and Jalopnik says that the V-6 offers enough power "to propel the E to 60 MPH in 6.5 seconds." The V-8 is significantly quicker, with ConsumerGuide clocking the Mercedes E-Class E550 at "5.2 [seconds]" from 0-to-60. While the engines are quick, reviewers find that the V-6 is much more reluctant to be pushed hard; Motor Trend reports that "in the upper-mid rev band there are quantities of drab, tingly noise, and it doesn't rev especially freely." The E-Class 2010's V-8 is a more willing partner, however, and Motor Trend calls it "nicer by far to use...and happy to be taken by the scruff of the neck for a real power workout."
Regardless of the engine you choose, all versions of the E-Class 2010 lineup come with the same transmission. Car and Driver says that "both engines are connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission," and Cars.com expands upon the powertrain description by adding, "rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional." While seven speeds sounds like enough to find a sweet spot at nearly any velocity, Motor Trend comments that the tranny "isn't responsive...and despite the number of ratios still has a big gap between second and third." The only major change for the transmission on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is that "last year's floor-mounted shifter has been replaced with a column shifter," according to Cars.com.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class boasts a significant improvement in fuel economy compared to previous editions, something that Motor Trend attributes to "careful weight reduction, low aero drag, and powertrain improvements." The official EPA estimates for the new sedan are that the E350 will return 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the E550 gets a 16/24 mpg rating. Opting for the available 4MATIC AWD system drops the numbers to 16/24 mpg in the E350 and 15/23 mpg on the E550.
BMW has long held a handling edge in its battle with Benz, but Mercedes appears determined to catch up with the new Mercedes E-Class. Car and Driver is surprised to find that the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers "steering accuracy [that] is better and more BMW-like," featuring "more responsive tuning" than before. Jalopnik adds that "the Mercedes has newly found something called ‘steering feel,' which apparently has something to do with ‘control,' which when combined with ‘responsive suspension' actually makes it ‘fun to drive.'" Mercedes doesn't abandon its plush ride either, however, and ConsumerGuide claims that the new Mercedes E-Class "models respond well to dips and swells in the highway surfaces." As with many modern sport sedans, Motor Trend says the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a sport option that "moves the adaptive thresholds a little toward the liveliness direction." Large four-wheel disc brakes help the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class stop in a hurry; ConsumerGuide raves, "braking is highly responsive, easy to modulate, and impeccably secure."
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class adds a revised suspension to last year's engines and hits upon a winning combination.