The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class doesn't just represent a mid-cycle facelift, it's taken the luxury sedan a rung higher on the automotive ladder. As well as a new face and slightly revised tail, the 2014 E offers cutting-edge safety features scheduled for the next generation of S-Class.
Dual cameras positioned near the rearview mirror work in harmony with radar and sound sensors to create a multi-dimensional image of what's going on around the car in a 360? sweep. It can measure the speed and direction of moving objects while assessing the potential risks. The central "brain" can then apply the brakes or steering to avoid accidents; or mitigate them, at least.
This technology is used on items like Active Lane Keeping, that can gently brake the wheels on one side of the car to return you to your lane if oncoming traffic is sensed: doing so by moving the steering would apparently spook the driver too much. And there's the option of full parking assistance that only requires you to identify a space and select gears.
The captain of a nuclear submarine would love this kind of technology. And the great thing is, it never gets drowsy or distracted. In fact, the E-Class can also keep the driver alert with its improved Attention Assist that now works across a wider speed range, with its sensitivity adjusted by the user.
For the US market, the 2014 E-Class will be offered either in Luxury or Sport trim, although the range and permutations allow an almost made-to-measure car.
Luxury brings a traditional grille and hood ornament; Sport puts a large three-pointed star in the center of the grille.
In the interests of family resemblance, the previous "four-eyed" appearance was jettisoned for larger headlights with LED DRL strips. Unfortunately, we won't see one of the cars neatest updates: The feds are behind the curve on allowing anti-dazzle technology. The Euro-spec headlamps can "see" vehicle lights and adjust the beam accordingly. So a driver can remain on high beam, enjoying better visibility, and let the tech do the rest.
On the bright side (excuse the pun), American lights will continue to switch to low beam if an oncoming vehicle's lights are detected. And will still illuminate turns with the steering angle.
The updated E-Class portfolio also sees changes in the engine bay. The entry-level car will now be diesel-powered: the 2014 E250 Bluetec is rather surprising, given American resistance to oil-burners, but the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder develops 204hp and 369 lb-ft thanks to a twin-turbo set-up.
This E250 gives an easily accessible surge to reach highway speeds and for overtaking. You might also forget it's diesel thanks to the quiet cabin, although highway consumption expected to be in the high 30s will remind you at the pumps.
Gasoline is combusted by the E400. The new engine is a 3.0-liter V6, aided by two turbos, offering 333hp and 354 lb-ft. It fits into the E-Class aura of effortless ability but we must wait until 2014 for this model.
An exterior revamp is matched by a new-ish interior. Still recognizably Benz-like, just some cleaner lines and an extra air of class courtesy of the center console's square-faced analog clock.
Since not bothering to read any manual is the default position for nearly everyone, it could take a while to get an iPhone integrated with the infotainment system. Once that's done, however, the menus are simple enough to navigate. There's also the option of a Bang & Olufsen high-end audio system, which is beautifully clear and detailed.
For someone who's seriously considering an E-Class, there's really no argument against it. Nobody could cite rear legroom or a miserly trunk as reasons not to buy since both are generous. Everything it needs to do right, from engineering and aesthetics to performance and protection, it does exactly right. The E-Class might even be described as an over-achiever.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec
Engine 2143cc four-cylinder DOHC 16v diesel biturbo
Drivetrain seven-speed automatic
Suspension three-link f, five-link r
Brakes 12.7" f, 11.8" r discs
Wheels & Tires 17x8.5", 245/45 R17
Peak Power 195hp at 3800rpm
Peak Torque 369 lb-ft at 1600rpm
Top Speed 130mph
Weight 4409 lb (4Matic version)
+ Huge sophistication
- Nothing really...