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FIRST DRIVE MERCEDES-BENZ E 350

E

veryone in India who claims to be a car buff will recognize an E-class at a glance. The distinct round twin headlamps and the towering threepointed star atop the shimmering front grille give it away. Beep! Time to update your facts. Mercedes will be launching the new E-class in India later this month and this time the trademark twins give way to a sexy pair of angular dual headlamps. The latest E is lower and wider with improved aerodynamics and has a drag co-efficient of 0.25 making archrivals cringe with theirs at 0.28. The designers have aptly used LED lights making the car look dynamic yet understated. The car is spacious from inside thanks to the enhanced wheelbase. The bucket style seats give great support and are very comfortable especially the rear seats. The interior of the E 350 does remind me of its younger sibling, the C-class and even the big daddy S-class to a certain extent. With seven airbags to protect you at all times, you’ll feel safe in here. But hey, where’s the blessed gear knob? The E 350 flaunts a sophisticated electronic gear selector, located on the steering column, which is fantastically simple to use. While probing a little more, I was happy to see an integrated entertainment screen sitting on the dashboard. The easy to operate rotary dial for the entertainment system makes use of the transmission 28

CAR India september 2009

tunnel. The steering feels firm and is devoid of unnecessary play. The ‘Comfort’ suspension setting made me sway as if I was under the spell of a tantrik, though the ‘Sport’ was more to my liking. But somehow, I fail to understand why Mercedes designers have been so conservative with the size of the ORVMs? From the S-class to the ML and now the E class, the size of the wing mirrors is too small especially for overcrowded Indian roads. The overall fit and finish is amazing and it looks modern and up market. Let’s head towards the heart now. Under the hood hides a beastly 3498cc V6 petrol engine with an automatic 7-G TRONIC transmission. This is a big petrol engine and does perform very well. This is no sports car and I never expected it to roar like one but the E does feel a lot sportier and fun to drive than its predecessor. I was

absolutely blown away by the transmission as it delivers absolutely jerk free power even at low speeds. Mercedes has managed to squeeze the right amount of luxury and sportiness into the E350. It is a fantastic option for those who prefer to be driven to work during the weekdays and like driving to their weekend getaways. car

Mercedes-Benz E350 Avantgarde The E350 Avantgarde variant will be launched in India this month

The car that we got our hands on was the E 350 Elegance but the E 350 Avantgarde variant with slightly different features will be launched in India. Mercedes has decided to introduce all-black interiors and a black ash wood trim along with a sporty instrument cluster in a silver panel with five tubes in the E 350’s Indian version. The tail lights sport LED turn indicators and will have one louver less in the front grille. The super cool 17-inch five double spoke wheels are to die for.

The electronic gear selector is located on the steering column, similar to the ML and the S-class, and is fantastically simple to use


u

NEED TO KNOW

Mercedes-Benz E350 Price

Rs 50 lakh (Approx)

Engine

3498cc, V6 Petrol, 268PS 350Nm

Transmission

Seven-speed automatic, rear wheel drive

Performance

NA

Weight

1735kg

Wheelbase (mm) 2874

That

Ecstatic

The E-class has been a lucky mascot for Mercedes in India but will the joyride continue as the firm gears up to unveil the new E 350?

drive

Words and Photography: Sarmad Kadiri

CAR India september 2009

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Merc E-Class_Sept09  

absolutely blown away by the transmission as it delivers absolutely jerk free power even at low speeds. Mercedes has managed to squeeze the...

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