- V-6, V-8, or diesel-your choice
- Maxed-out interior room
- Much richer interior treatment
- All-wheel-drive option
- Busy styling cues
- Techno features' steep learning curve
- Vinyl seats standard?
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan swings to the masculine side of the pendulum and sharpens its driving appeal in the process.
With more ridges and resistors than ever, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the edgiest and most technologically complex mid-size sedan ever produced by the German automaker. It takes more time to become familiar, but once you do, the ninth-generation E-Class' better performance, higher refinement, and more efficient powertrains show clear progress-even if the styling confuses fans of the softer silhouette of old. This review covers the E-Class V-6 and V-8 gas-engine cars; TheCarConnection.com reviews the 2010 E-Class Coupe separately, and an AMG E63 sedan, a diesel, a wagon, and a convertible are still yet to arrive in North America. Sedans start at $49,475 for the V-6; a V-8 version starts at $57,175. All-wheel drive is offered on both the V-6 and the V-8 sedan, but won't arrive until later in the year.
With this E-Class, Mercedes-Benz drops the goggle-eyed look of the past two generations and significantly sharpens the edges on its most traditional sedan. It's a divisive look-there are lots of lines to draw your attention and lots of shiny jewelry in the design. While BMW is toning down its Bangle butts and Lexus drifting into a more elegant ether, the E-Class is striking out in a risky direction. The creases remind TheCarConnection.com's editors of the large S-class sedan-and the GLK sport-ute. Two versions offer distinct touches: "luxury" versions have four slats in the grille and a stand-up hood ornament, while "sport" versions get three slats and a large badge on the grille. Eighteen-inch wheels are common to both, but the Sport also wears a lower air dam and a more pronounced trapezoidal shape on the air intake below the grille. The cabin's been polished, too, but in a more traditional way. A hood over the gauges also mimics the S-Class, but plenty of polished wood graces the dash, door panels, and console. The transmission shifter stays discreetly planted on the steering column; the two-door E-Class moves it to the console.
The edge shows up in the 2010 E-Class' dynamics as well. Engines are familiar to fans of the last version, but a seven-speed automatic, revised steering, and a new suspension give the E-Class a lighter, more precise feel. The E350 drives into the new model year with a 268-horsepower V-6 that injects a bit more growl in the cabin than you'd expect, and the simmering 382 hp of the V-8 E550 broadcasts its intentions. It sounds purposeful and runs effortlessly up to a 130-mph top speed. While either engine pulls cleanly and quickly to those triple-digit speeds, the new suspension setup maintains a steady sensation. Mercedes' "Agility Control" uses a mechanical valve to set V-6 cars into a firmer suspension feel under sporty driving; the V-8 car uses an AIRMATIC air-shock suspension to do the same. A general improvement in sensation and driving fun permeates the new car, and it's a welcome change.
With a stronger, roomier body, the new E-Class grants more space to its passengers-and feels more luxurious than before. The 2010 E-Class sedan is longer by about 1 inch and wider by 1.5 inches, and it has almost 1 inch more rear legroom to go with almost 2 inches more elbowroom. Wide, adult-shaped seats in the front grant plenty of space, and the back bench fits three adults with minimal griping. The front seats are power-adjusted, by the way-and while vinyl seats are the standard material, most U.S.-market cars will be fitted with leather. Making up some points on the luxe scale are the more lavish use of wood trim on this new E-Class, better cup holders, a more tightly constructed feel, and increased quietness all around.
Safety equipment is a point of pride for Mercedes-Benz; E-Class sedans can be fitted with 11 airbags (including a driver knee bag, standard, and optional side airbags for the rear seats), stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and brake assist. Add to that list a new feature called Attention Assist, which interprets driving patterns to judge when a driver may be falling asleep at the wheel. Options include a blind-spot alert system; Night View Assist; and automatic high-beam headlamps with bi-xenon lamps. Adaptive cruise control, another available feature, can apply 100 percent braking power to stop or mitigate an accident. And lastly, the E-Class' lane-departure warning system will vibrate the steering wheel to alert drifting drivers. The preliminary safety score for the E-Class will be finalized when both NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) crash-test the new vehicle. Neither has performed tests to date.
As with safety features, Mercedes-Benz has luxury and entertainment features in the 2010 E-Class sedan covered. Luxury versions come standard with 17-inch wheels; COMAND controls for the entertainment and climate systems; oval exhaust pipes; air conditioning; cruise control; a sunroof; power windows/locks/mirrors; and almost shocking, vinyl seats. Sport versions are outfitted with 18-inch wheels, distinct gauges, and trapezoidal exhaust pipes. Option packages include a navigation system with voice control; Sirius and HD radio; a rearview camera; heated seats; automatic headlamps and high beams; Keyless Go push-button starting; adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warnings and parking guidance; a panoramic sunroof; split-folding seats; massage seating; Bluetooth; a Harman/Kardon 610-watt audio system; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; and a full leather interior.
2010 Mercedes-Benz E Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class gets a drastic restyle that brings it back to a more masculine shape.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class marks the ninth generation of this venerable German sedan, and the new four-door features a drastic styling change that most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com appreciate.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan is a four-door, five-seat vehicle that comes in either Sport or Luxury trims. The new sheetmetal that adorns the E-Class is still recognizable as a Mercedes, but the latest mid-size sedan has clearly evolved from the previous generation. Car and Driver reports that for 2010, the E-Class lineup is "thoroughly redone," with styling changes that include "four parallelogram-shaped lamps that look unique but still make sense on an E-Class." Motor Trend isn't quite as impressed, asserting that the E-Class 2010's "design sits somewhere between crisp and boxy, with a bluff front end desperate (almost too desperate) to imply status." Cars.com thinks some elements are at odds, noting the "eyebrow-like fog lights sit in the three-piece lower air dam," while, "in comparison, the taillights seem much more reserved." Overall, however, reviewers are impressed by the Mercedes E-Class' new styling elements, and Car and Driver says "the roundness of the rear fender flare and the horizontal line that sits above work far better in person than in a two-dimensional photograph." Consumers likely won't be turned off by the new design, which Automobile Magazine contends "comes off as genuinely German in a way no other brand can quite capture."
The interior of the new E-Class is more conservative than before, and many reviewers consider it to be more luxurious than on the 2009 model. Motor Trend finds that the interior is "equally [as] bluff" as the exterior, but they rave about the "high-mounted center ICE/Navigation screen with superb control logic and graphics." Car and Driver appreciates the upscale elements that abound inside the new Mercedes E-Class, remarking that "many elements look as if they were borrowed from the more luxurious S-Class," including "LED lighting that glows at night." One of the most accurate descriptions of the interior comes from Automobile Magazine, where reviewers note that the 2009 Mercedes E-Class' "attempts at being avant-garde and organic" have disappeared, replaced by "a severe dash that looks as if it were drawn with a t-square." In all, most sources concur the sharp corners and well-pressed creases inside give the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class a more traditionally luxurious look that meshes well with the new exterior.
2010 Mercedes-Benz E Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class adds a revised suspension to last year's engines and hits upon a winning combination.
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."
2010 Mercedes-Benz E Class
Comfort & Quality
For 2010, Mercedes-Benz upgrades the E-Class' interior room a little bit, and its quality feel nearly to S-Class standards.
The Mercedes-Benz cachet has lost some ground in recent years, as cost-cutting measures dented the brand's image for quality. For 2010, the E-Class recaptures much of the fit and feel of old and, based on reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, takes big steps to returning the brand to the top of the luxury class.
The interior of the E-Class 2010 lineup is quite comfortable, even when filled with five occupants. Although the latest Mercedes E-Class is slightly larger than its predecessor, Car and Driver reports that, "subjectively, interior volume seems about the same," with a "few fractions of an inch" more headroom and slightly more rear legroom. Similar dimensions aren't necessarily bad, however, as ConsumerGuide reviewers find that "headroom and legroom are ample" up front, "even for taller or longer-legged drivers." The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers an optional sunroof, but unlike with most glass tops, ConsumerGuide says the E-Class 2010's version "moves up and back over the top of the car, so sacrifice of headroom is required." The front seats are a hit with reviewers, and Motor Trend is particularly fond of the buckets, claiming they are "shaped for a perfect long-distance driving position." The rear seats earn similar praise, with ConsumerGuide vouching that "two adults fit nicely across the rear seat," which boasts "a comfortable seat back angle and good headroom."
The extra volume afforded by the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class's larger exterior has to manifest itself somewhere, and Car and Driver reviewers find that Mercedes boosts the trunk capacity "up 2.2 cubic feet to 19.1." That expansive rear compartment is now more accessible as well, since Cars.com states that the "optional folding rear seats no longer require you to flip the cushions forward first." If 19.1 cubic feet doesn't quite get the Mercedes E-Class to the top of the class, it is sufficiently large for most applications. Interior storage is impressive as well on the E-Class; ConsumerGuide reports that front passengers will get "a console box with a split top that can be accessed from either the driver of passenger side."
As mentioned earlier, Mercedes takes serious steps with the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class to improve the sense of quality and upgrade the finishes in the sedan. Car and Driver says "the quality of the materials are all very close to what is found in the" more upscale S-Class, and the "new seats have more padding and feel more supple and richer than the previous car's thrones." Automobile Magazine has charted Mercedes' quality decline over the years, but with the new car, they assert that "the brand finally emerges from its build-quality funk," noting that Mercedes "was the only European automaker to win quality awards from J.D. Power & Associates in 2008." Even the conservative reviewers at ConsumerGuide declare that the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is "made up of top-grade materials," with "wood and metal highlights [that] raise the chic factor."
One noteworthy improvement over some Mercedes-Benz models from earlier this decade comes in the category of cabin noise. ConsumerGuide reports "wind and road noise are well suppressed in all models," and even "when the optional panoramic sunroof is open, wind rush is well contained up to about 70 mph." TheCarConnection.com's editors notice that the only real noise coming into the cabin during their test drives is the sound of the engine, which growls nicely under acceleration.
2010 Mercedes-Benz E Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class hasn't yet been crash-tested, but it sports the longest safety-feature list of any E-Class to date.
Mercedes-Benz was one of the first automakers to put a major emphasis on safety. For evidence of that philosophy carrying through today, just look at the safety features available on the 2010 E-Class, which sets a new standard when it comes to occupant protection.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has not yet been tested by either NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), but its lengthy list of safety features is more than enough to earn a high overall score in this category from TheCarConnection.com. Car and Driver says "Mercedes is quick to point out that the E's new structure passes future crash legislation and enjoys a 30-percent improvement in structural rigidity." TheCarConnection.com will update this safety score when crash-test results are posted.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class arrives in showrooms with more standard and available safety features than ever. Cars.com says the list includes "antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system." Car and Driver adds that nine airbags are standard, along with the "standard Pre-Safe system that will prepare the car for a collision by cinching seatbelts, adjusting the seat, and flashing the warning lights under heavy braking."
The standard features alone are enough to put the Mercedes E-Class in the elite field, but the optional safety systems set the E-Class apart from anything else rolling through the suburbs. Jalopnik reports that "the full list of advanced safety features is staggering," and includes "Attention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Parktronic Plus...and Agility Assist." The available Highbeam Assist feature allows the beams to "vary their angle to illuminate 220 to 984 feet of pavement, depending on whether an onboard camera senses any cars ahead," according to Cars.com reviewers. Another safety feature that Mercedes pioneered years ago is a night-vision system, which the Mercedes E-Class has as well. Unlike with early systems, however, Jalopnik says the latest version "paints the area in front of the vehicle with infrared beams, sort of like invisible headlights," that allows for "a much sharper image out to a further distance."
2010 Mercedes-Benz E Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can't be considered a bargain with a $48,600 base MSRP, but its features list certainly justifies the price.
Mercedes will most likely tout the new Mercedes E-Class' cutting-edge safety features in its marketing material, but the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class also boasts myriad high-tech comfort features.
Edmunds reviewers are impressed by the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class' "leading-edge technology," much of which has filtered down from the top-end S-Class lineup. The new Mercedes E-Class represents a tremendous value compared to the outgoing model, as Cars.com raves about the "long list of new safety technologies and luxury features." Luxury versions come standard with 17-inch wheels; COMAND controls for the entertainment and climate systems; oval exhaust pipes; air conditioning; cruise control; a sunroof; power windows/locks/mirrors; and almost shocking, vinyl seats. Sport versions are outfitted with 18-inch wheels, distinct gauges, and trapezoidal exhaust pipes.
Despite the new features, the base price has dropped significantly, as Jalopnik states that "the 2010 E350 starts at $48,600, $4,600 cheaper, but adds standard equipment," including "Attention Assist, Driver Knee airbag, front pelvic airbags, and variable damping Agility Control." Other standard features on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class include Mercedes' trademark COMAND system, which ConsumerGuide says "programs [the] audio and navigation systems," as well as full power accessories, air conditioning, and cruise control. TheCarConnection.com's editors are surprised, however, to find that vinyl seats are standard fare on the Mercedes E-Class, though the available leather upgrade is expected to dominate in the U.S. market.
For the E-Class, 2010 continues the Mercedes-Benz trend of offering ultra-luxe features for those willing and able to pay for them. Cars.com reports that "uplevel options include massaging, bolster-adjustable seats" and "tri-zone automatic climate control," while a "panoramic sunroof" is also available on the Mercedes E-Class. The most popular option will likely be the available voice-controlled navigation system, although TheCarConnection.com's editors expect the available 610-watt audio system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system to sell well. Option packages include a navigation system with voice control; Sirius and HD radio; a rearview camera; heated seats; automatic headlamps and high beams; Keyless Go push-button starting; adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warnings and parking guidance; a panoramic sunroof; split-folding seats; massage seating; Bluetooth; a Harman/Kardon 610-watt audio system; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; and a full leather interior.