POSTED: Monday, November 2, 2009 - 7:05pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:05am
Let me start with this declarative statement. The new 2010 Mercedes E350 doesn’t stink…a lot.
OK, got that out of the way. The E-class is the mid-range in the Mercedes lineup, if you can call anything starting at over $48,000 mid range. For that level of long green, you get a new, swoopier body and the kind of assembly quality usually reserved for Swiss watches, Colt revolvers and Pam Anderson. In short, this thing is as solid as a bank vault, which you’ll need since several options took our test car to just over $60,000.
Inside, you’ll find the good and the bad, as with all Mercedes. The good is some of the most beautiful leather and muted wood ever seen in an automobile. Too bad it will run you another 1600 bucks. The bad involves, as always, ergonomics. The Germans were the last premium automakers to get tilt wheels when the cheapest Hyundai had them. That’s because they knew the proper wheel angle, thank you.
Well, they put the seat controls on the door, the cruise control stalk where the turn signals ought to be and the radio is controlled by a big silver knob on the console that is an idea borrowed from BMW and ought to be given back. If you look up driver distraction in Wikipedia, there’s a picture of this thing.
A lovely 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V6 is nestled under the hood. In an age where the V6 in a Camaro nets over 300 ponies, this is pretty puny.
The big-E weighs over 4000 pounds, so you expect lousy performance.
Well, in a word no. In two words, no no. 0 to 60 comes up in 6.5 seconds, and the whole thing is handled while eaking out 18 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway.
The Mercedes E350 costs a lot of money. But to overuse the cliché, it’s a lot of car.