Mercedes-Benz has updated its E 350 sedan, coupe and convertible models with mild hybrid technology adding extra power, smoother engine response and lower fuel consumption.
Five variants are available: E 200, E 350 and AMG E 53 with the coupe body plus E 350 and AMG E 53 convertibles.
We’ve just spent a thoroughly enjoyable week behind the wheel of the E 350 Cabrio and under the roof (only when we had to).
What’s it cost?
The E-Class is the mid-sized model in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range.
The current Benz family styling has been adopted with a diamond patterned infill to the grille and the traditional three-pointed star in the centre.
Headlights are multi-beam units with 84 individually controllable LEDs with adaptive high beam.
The wheels on the E 350 are 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloys.
The optional Night Package adds some attractive exterior design elements.
Although most convertibles currently come with solid roofs Mercedes has catered for the motoring purists by sticking with a fabric roof.
There’s a wide range of body colour choices, nine of them no-cost options, as well as two that cost.
The standout to our eyes and most who saw it, was the rich burgundy Rubellite Red of our test car.
Four fabric soft tops are available, we had the matching dark red.
The Benz E 350 uses the latest version of the company’s MBUX widescreen multimedia system.
Information is displayed on two 12.3-inch high-resolution digital screens that appear as one.
In front of the driver is the digital instrument cluster with the central touchscreen providing access to the usual range of features.
They include smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio, wireless smartphone charging and embedded satellite navigation.
Our test car had the optional Burmester premium sound system.
There’s also remote interactivity with other vehicle functions through the Mercedes ‘me Connect’ app.
Standard safety features across the E-Class coupe and cabriolet range include nine airbags, enhanced ABS brakes, electronic stability control, acceleration skid control, active pop-up bonnet, tyre pressure warning, run-flat tyres, traffic sign assist and a 360-degree camera.
Attention Assist uses a sensor and detailed algorithm to detect if a driver is fatigued.
Driving Assistance Package Plus adds active distance assist, autonomous emergency braking, brake assist with cross-traffic function, lane keeping and lane assist stop-and-go assist, blind spot monitoring, evasive steering assist and route-based speed adaptation.
Pre-Safe Plus helps prevent, or reduce the effect, or rear collisions crashes.
If the car’s rear radar detects a potential rear-end collision, it rapidly flashes the rear hazard warning lights to alert the driver.
Specific features in E-Class convertibles include head airbags in the doors and specifically-designed roll-over protection.
A head-up display is available with the Vision Package option.
What’s it go like?
All three E 350 variants come with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that generates 220kW of power and 400Nm of torque, with a nine-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels.
The EQ Boost system uses a 48-volt integrated electric motor to add up to 10kW and 150Nm for short periods.
Additionally, the system has high-efficiency energy recuperation to supply power to the battery, making it possible to drive without the combustion engine.
M-B describes this as “sailing”.
The E 350 sedan and coupe variants do the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 5.9 seconds with the convertible only marginally slower at 6.1 seconds.
Obviously, as a two-door, access to the rear seats is through the front doors, unless you’re young and agile enough to jump in when the top is down.
Once seated there’s decent legroom although the passenger sitting behind the driver may occasionally need to compromise.
To cater for rear seat occupants the front doors are wide and need to be opened cautiously in tight parking spaces.
All Mercedes E 350 variants have leather upholstery with a choice of five different colour combinations.
At start up the central information screen displays the following warning, no doubt at the behest of the M-B legal team: “Do not let the system distract you from the traffic situation”.
While this clearly applies to every new car nowadays it’s even more relevant to the E-Class because there’s so much to learn before hitting the road.
There’s also a plethora of tiny controls on the chunky Nappa leather AMG steering wheel which feels great.
We couldn’t have picked better weather for our test and did a couple of open-air runs along a favourite route on the NSW Central Coast hinterland.
Opening and closing the roof takes around 15 seconds and can be done at speeds up to 30km/h.
We escaped from Sydney’s urban jungle, including its numerous tunnels, with the roof closed and found the interior to be quite well insulated.