Mercedes-Benz E250: A modern interpretation of luxury


No matter how ‘luxury’ is being redefined by modern consumers, certain notions such as heritage never change. It certainly helps when you have 130 years under the belt as a maker of automobiles with distinction, but as Mercedes-Benz regains the premium segment leadership it once held, the climb back up the peak probably wasn’t achieved on nostalgia alone.

Evolving the business class

In the context of the many styling liberties taken by Mercedes-Benz in the recent past, the design of the new E-Class was always going to appear restrained and familiar to the casual observer – an amalgamation of the S-Class and C-Class if you will. But if history is of any indication, the business class segment of luxury saloons have always favoured measured steps over giant leaps, timelessness over polarisation.

mercedes-benz_eclass_02Set against its predecessor and rivals, the W213 E-Class looks every bit the dignified mid-size saloon its select audience probably expects it to be, but it now bears much sportier overtones with a sleeker greenhouse, tapered hindquarters and crisper body lines. And no matter which expression the well-heeled customer prefers, and there are three to choose from – Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG – the new E-Class cuts a more athletic (length and wheelbase increased, but with wider tracks) profile than ever before.

The revolution within

Pictures don’t really do justice, but there is an undeniable sense of occasion each time you step into the E-Class cabin. Yes, the dual-LCD (each measuring 12.3 inches) Widescreen Cockpit dominates conversations, but the rich textures (cue the open pore wood trim) and contrasting hues on the enveloping dashboard, along with shapely new front seats are equally pleasing to the eyes as they are to the touch. With 64 shades of cabin illumination to choose from, the cabin ambiance can also turn from bright and airy during the day, to intimate and cozy after the sun sets.


mercedes-benz_eclass_10The indispensability of smartphones means that the Widescreen Cockpit was designed to mimic the phone by allowing content and themes (or skins) to be customised on the twin displays. Of course, figuring all this out while seated behind wheel can be a challenge, which is why Mercedes-Benz gave the E-Class a novel form of gesture interface that works through swipe-sensitive buttons located on the steering wheel, otherwise known as Touch Control.

mercedes-benz_eclass_12The steering-mounted touch pads do make operating the Comand system that much more intuitive by apportioning the workload between the two screens and corresponding buttons. More importantly, it does so by keeping both hands of the driver on the steering wheel. With Apple Carplay and Android Auto (which is yet an official download on Google’s Play Store in this region) being standard features on the E-Class, the role of Touch Control can only gain in importance.

E for Easy

For a saloon that’s close to five metres in length (a Honda CR-V is around 4.5m), the E-Class – in our case, an E250 Avantgarde – is for want of a better description, surprisingly easy to drive. The 211hp/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is a known quantity, but it is flattered here by a fast-shifting and responsive 9G-Tronic automatic (compared to the 7G-Tronic). If a quick turn of speed is required, this powertrain combo will oblige in a refined manner befitting the pedigree of the E-Class.

mercedes-benz_eclass_01The choice of Agility Control suspension (with 15mm lowering and passive damping) for the Malaysian market is an interesting one, particularly from an aesthetic point of view. Not only do the generously-sized alloys (19-inch on our test unit, with 18-inch being the ‘smallest’) fill up the wheel arches nicely, the ride and handling characteristics of the E250 reveal a sporty bent, with the E-Class’ ride occupying the firmer end of the comfort spectrum. That, along with a light yet perfectly-geared steering make the E250 a competent, if not a confidence-inspiring choice around corners and bends.

mercedes-benz_eclass_03Understanding luxury

Whether it be exclusivity, history or craftsmanship (or other beliefs), the very definition of luxury has become a moving target as car brands grapple with fast-changing demographics across intricately connected societies. Mercedes-Benz happened to have done a better job than most in reading and reacting to market of late. And in the new E-Class, it may well have done so once again.


Mercedes-Benz E250 Avantgarde
Price: RM420,888 (w/o insurance)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged, inline-4, RWD
Output: 211hp, 350Nm
Transmission: 9-sp automatic w/ shift paddles
Performance: 0-100km/h in less than 7 seconds, top speed 250km/h (est.)
Wheels/tyres: 19in alloys, 245/40 R19
Safety: 7-airbags, Electronic Stability Control
Warranty: 4-year / unlimited mileage