By Larry Lark, contributor
Mercedes-Benz occupies rarified air in the automobile pantheon.
And the E-Class series is rarer still. With more than 14 million units delivered globally since 1946, it is the best-selling model in the brand’s history. That is saying something.
My tester was the 2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan, which benefits from a recent redesign, and enhanced levels of comfort and safety. The model starts at $54,250. It also comes in coupe and cabriolet variations.
The model provides grand touring comfort. The only problem was I was more of a home body, enjoying the holidays.
The E-350 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter , four-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed 4MATIC transmission. The tandem generates 255 horsepower, 273 lb-ft of torque, and delivers 30 miles per gallon fuel economy down the highway, and a range around 450 miles. It pairs with either rear or all-wheel drive.
The extravagant cabin seats four adults (five in a squeeze) in abject bliss with the trunk large enough to accommodate the full-size luggage bags of my daughter and girlfriend visiting from Texas.
Interior highlights include brushed aluminum with wood accents, and comfy-cozy leather seats. Every model comes standard with customizable ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and memory settings for the driver’s and front passenger seat. Options include a head-up display, massaging front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and ventilated front-seat cushions.
The cabin experience for the driver and passengers has also been enhanced by the new Mercedes-Benz “user experience infotainment system.” MBUX takes user experience to the next level by incorporating a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, a customizable display, learning-capable software, and Voice Control with natural language recognition. The available full-color Head-Up Display, Augmented Vide technology, MBUX supports the occupants by making various operations within the cabin simpler and more intuitive.
The refreshed E-Class offers the latest generation of driver assistance systems providing cooperative support, now featuring Exit Warning Assist, which offers enhanced protection when getting out of the car, extended restart functionality in stop-and-go traffic, now capable of restarting the vehicle automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop. End-of-Traffic-Jam Assist, which works in tandem with LiveTraffic to recognize and respond to traffic jams and slow-moving traffic even before the driver becomes aware of them.
The 2021 model year represents a mid-cycle update, with revised front and rear styling, an all-new steering-wheel design, the latest MBUX infotainment system, and enhanced driver-assistance technology the big adds. The model introduces a refreshed, more dynamic and sportier exterior, redesigned headlamps and taillamps, radiator grille and bumper, and even more comfort and technology.
Driver can select from Comfort, Eco or Sport settings. In comfort mode, which I liked the best, the E-350 delivers a pillowy drive, gliding over the pavement with minimal feedback. The E-350 handles curves and turns without hint of complaint.
The E-350 comes standard with several driver assists, such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, most other equipment costs extra. Key safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.
If you received a Clark W. Griswold sized year-end bonus, the E-350 is not a bad way to blow your wad.
Base Price: $56,750
Price As Driven: $59,895
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.