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Driven: New Benz E300 and E400 prices hiked $11,000

E-xpanding: Mercedes-Benz’s roll-out of its new-generation E-Class large sedan will continue with the E300 and E400 before the end of the year.

Two more petrol variants to join Mercedes-Benz E-Class range from $107,900

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Mercedes-Benz logo29 Jul 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-BENZ this week announced Australian pricing for two more variants of its all-new tenth-generation E-Class luxury sedan, the volume-selling E300 and E400, confirming that both will cop a price hike of about $11,000 when they arrive in showrooms before the end of the year.

The turbo four-cylinder petrol E300, which replaces the E250 of the previous generation, will be priced from $107,900 before on-road costs – a jump of $11,000 – while the feistier six-cylinder petrol E400 will go for $139,900, a rise of $10,860.

However, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific says the increase has been offset by more standard equipment and greater performance and fuel economy.

The 2016 E300 will bump gloves with the BMW 528i – also a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot – that costs $99,200, while the E400’s main BMW rival will be the $117,900 BMW 535i, which is also powered by a 3.0-litre turbo six.

Soon after the arrival of the E300 and E400, the range will gain the plug-in hybrid E350e in December followed by the first version of the E-Class under the Mercedes-AMG banner – the E43 – in January 2017. Pricing and local specifications for those variants will be released closer to launch.

Until the saucy AMG, E300 and E400 variants arrive, just three E-Class choices are available – the $89,990 four-cylinder petrol E200, $92,900 four-cylinder diesel E220d and $134,900 V6 diesel E350d (see earlier report).

As an extra kick off treat, Mercedes is offering a value-boosted Launch Edition special that takes the entry-level E200 and adds 19-inch wheels over the standard 18-inch hoops, illuminated door sills, privacy glass for rear passengers and leather upholstery in place of the Artico synthetic hide for an extra $1880.

Like other E-Class variants, the E300 and E400 get the company’s new nine-speed automatic transmission, but the E400 also comes with 4Matic all-wheel-drive traction.

Australian power, torque and acceleration figures for the E300 and E400 are yet to be divulged, but overseas specifications suggest that the E400 gets 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque.

Compared with E200 and E200d, the E300 will not only will get more power and torque but also heated front leather seats, illuminated door sills, 20-inch alloy wheels, air suspension (a $3900 option on lesser variants) and multi-beam LED adaptive headlights.

Apart from V6 turbo power, E400 adds 13-speaker Burmeister audio, head-up display, free metallic paint and a panoramic sunroof – similar equipment to the E350d.

The car-maker claims the new E-Class offers a balance of agile road manners on twisty roads but also the highest level of ride comfort in the segment thanks to steel-sprung Agility Control standard suspension on the E200 and E220d. This can also come with optional comfort tuning.

The Air Body Control air suspension technology on upper models provides a high ride height for negotiating rough surfaces at low speeds and a lowered height at higher speeds for fuel economy savings and stability. The self-levelling function works continuously when loaded or towing.

As we have reported, the new E-Class’s all-new body is 43mm longer than before, to 4923mm. While the track is wider at both front and rear, overall width has shrunk 2mm. Height is down 3mm, but occupant space has increased slightly, while boot space has been reduced by 10 litres, to 530L.

More aluminium and high-strength steel has been used to boost stiffness while minimising weight. When fitted with the optional Exclusive Line aero package, the new E-Class manages a drag coefficient of 0.23Cd – a record in class. Kerb weight ranges from 1605kg to 1800kgInteriors are enhanced with 64-colour atmospheric lighting that floods various areas of the cabin with subtle LEDs, including the central display, storage pockets, centre console, handle recesses and footwells.

All versions have a cabin dominated by a vast Comand Online dash screen comprising two 12.3-inch monitors siamesed behind a single sheet of glass. Half of the display replaces customisable digital gauges for the driver, while the other section provides access to the NTG 5.5 information system.

The comprehensive system offers all of the regular features along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, internet access, hard disc storage and navigation.

Wireless charging is available depending on the device.

Accessing the various features is through a combination of haptic steering wheel pads, central control wheel and touchpad or voice activation.

Mercedes describes its E-Class seating as first class, combining a sporty look with comfort for long journeys, enhanced by an optional Heat Comfort package that adds heaters to the door and centre console arm rests in addition to the seats.

As has been typical to the model since its launch in 1953, the E-Class is full of comfort and convenience equipment, even in the E200 and E220d entry versions with a long standard kit list including electric adjustable front seats, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and start, digital radio, auto-dimming rear view mirror, black Ash wood dash and trims, dual-zone air-conditioning and LED headlights.

Stepping up to the E300 adds front seat heating, illuminated door sills, leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels and Multibeam headlights, which use 84 individual LEDs to focus the beam away from the eyes of other road users, while maximising illumination of the way ahead.

At the top of the pack, the E350d and E400 have a Burmester 590 watt sound system, head-up display, metallic paint and panoramic sunroof as standard over the above features.

In all cases, second row seating features pop-out drink holders, a storage box and centre arm rest. The back rest splits 40-20-40 for more load space flexibility.

As tested by GoAuto earlier this month, the E-Class is equipped with a selection of Driving Assistance systems to boost safety.

Drive Pilot is a significant step toward full autonomy, says Mercedes, with an evolution of active cruise control that can function up to 210km/h and can now monitor road edges and barriers to keep the vehicle in lane at up to 130km/h.

The latest version of the system allows automated lane changes and is initiated two seconds after the indicator has been activated, providing no vehicles are in the neighbouring lane.

If the driver lets go of the steering wheel for an extended period, the Drive Pilot will bring the car to a complete stop in its lane and activate hazard lights.

Active Brake Assist now functions at higher speeds and can completely avoid a collision up to 100km/h while significantly mitigating crash severity at greater speeds by applying the brakes if an impending impact is detected but the driver does not respond.

Evasive Steering Assist adds to the protection offered by the autonomous braking by supporting an evasive steering manoeuvre with additional steering torque to help avoid a collision.

Active Lane Keeping Assist helps avoid a driver unintentionally leaving a lane by applying the brakes to one side of the vehicle, while the Active Blind Spot Assist warns a driver of another vehicle in the blind spot, but can also apply corrective steering to avoid a dangerous situation.

Two new Pre-Safe systems aim to protect occupants if a crash cannot be avoided with Impulse Side that moves a front occupant away from the location of impact with an inflatable bag in the seat side bolster if a side impact is detected.

Pre-Safe Sound can reduce the harmful effect of airbag deployment and large impacts on occupant hearing by provoking a natural protective reaction to loud noises with an 80-decibel interference signal played through the sound system.

Mercedes offers a wide range of options for all variants including a number of packages which bundle features together, including the AMG Line ($3500) and Exclusive Line (1900) for a selection of more exclusive interior and exterior kit.

A choice of two Vision packs ($4990 and $3470) add a dusting of luxury items, while the $6900 Active Comfort Package swaps in more luxurious front seats, three-zone air-conditioning, air fragrance and ionisation treatment and second-row seat heating.

2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class pricing*
E200 (a)$89,900
E200 Launch Edition (a)$91,780
E220d (a)$92,900
E300 (a)$107,900
E350d (a)$134,900
E400 (a)$139,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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