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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
The $6,400 Bang & Olufsen sound system is more than 5 percent of the car's base price, but the pillar-mounted tweeter is a beautiful piece of industrial design--and it's just one of 14 speakers rendering 1200 watts of sound like so much aural bacon fat in a pan.
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 similar systems from Audi or BMW.
To make the experience a bit less breezy back there, Mercedes has introduced a gizmo on the E-class called Aircap. This is a retractable spoiler that’s mounted on top of the windshield, intended to divert air over the passenger compartment.
Car and Driver
Enhancements to the business end of this newest W212 series station wagon include a now standard power tailgate, programmable to a maximum height for use in low-clearance garages (the cargo shade even rises automatically).
the rear-wheel-drive E250 Bluetec will become the most affordable E-class of all
The latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class saw most of its infotainment features updated this past model year, so it's largely carried over, with the new 2014 E250 BlueTEC rear-drive sedan becoming the entry-level model.
All E-Class models get the standard-issue package of features and equipment, including cruise control; power windows, locks, and mirrors; power front seats; tilt/telescoping steering; dual-zone climate control; ambient lighting; a sunroof; rain-sensing wipers; an AM/FM/CD/DVD player with an SD car slot; Bluetooth; and a multi-function instrument display. Every E-Class also sports the mbrace2 smartphone connectivity suite, which integrates streaming audio via Pandora, and a host of other connected-car features.
The basic E-Class also comes with M-B Tex synthetic upholstery, while leather is an option, and burl walnut or ash trim are offered. Wagons all get a power tailgate and rear air suspension, along with a small fold-out third-row seat.
Most E-Class sedans and wagons are trimmed out as Sport models, which means sport exhaust tips, 18-inch wheels and tires, and distinct gauges, along with a trimmer grille with an outsized Mercedes logo at its center. A minority of E-Classes are Luxury models, with 17-inch wheels and tires and a three-slat grille with a discreet Benz badge at the top.
Major option packages include features like a rearview camera; the new surround-view camera; a navigation system; satellite radio; surround sound; and heated and ventilated front seats. Parking Assist and Lane Tracking are their own packages, as is a new Keyless-Go package with pushbutton start, a power trunklid closer, and a trunk opener that works by waving a foot under the bumper--a system like the one found on the Ford Escape.
Stepping up to the top-of-the-line E63 AMG gets you upgraded materials throughout, including a flat-bottom steering wheel and Alcantara trim, plus AMG badges and performance-tuned stability and traction electronics--in addition to a high-performance transmission and the AMG-built 550-hp or 577-hp V-8. A nice, round, 200-mph speedometer is also included. We'd definitely recommend the "S" upgrade, with carbon-ceramic brakes, red brake calipers, and the higher output--but we'd also save room for the $6,400 Bang & Olufsen sound system, with 1200 watts delivered through 14 speakers.
Satellite radio and a rearview camera are options now, but the E-Class wins with surround-view cameras and 1200-watt audio options.