LUXURY, SAFETY, ROADABILITY
When my neighbor, Lee, asked me if I would like to review his new Mercedes, I jumped at the chance. But before getting to the testing, Lee had an interesting story to tell me about his Mercedes E400 sedan. This car was a long time in coming. The story began last year when he bought a new E400, but that car had a problem that couldn’t be fixed, and Mercedes took it back. The automaker then looked high-and-low for months for a replacement, and finally found a near duplicate of his original E400 on the other side of the country. This became Lee’s new car.
It’s easy to see why Mercedes had trouble finding a replacement car for Lee. The 2016 model production had ended, and E-Class cars come in a dizzying number of variations. There are four body types, coupe, convertible, sedan and wagon. There are also four available engines with corresponding levels of trim. In the middle of the pack is the E400.
The E400 sedan comes only in the Sport trim. This means that it gets an aggressive two-bar grille with a large Mercedes star right in the middle. It is also equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels and more powerful brakes. Inside the cabin, the sport theme continues with white-faced gauges, aluminum pedals and a three-spoke steering wheel.
Beyond this, the E400 gets more than its fair share of luxury features. Goodies like LED headlights, a sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, a surround sound audio system and the COMMAND infotainment interface with navigation are all standard.
Furthermore, the list of safety features is even more impressive. A rearview camera, blind spot warning and lane tracking assist are included in the base price. Other safety devices, such as adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic alert and collision warning and mitigation are optional. This last item is arguably the most significant safety feature. It sounds an alarm and hits the brakes if you about to rear-end the car in front of you.
Like every E-Class sedan I’ve ever driven, the current E400 offers a cabin that is both elegant and functional. Burl-walnut trim on the dash and doors of Lee’s car nicely complemented the dark upholstery. Leather-clad front seats were well finished and supportive, with multiple adjustments available to keep you fresh after a long drive. Passengers in the rear are well cared for too, with loads of head- and legroom, and a power sunshade behind them to keep them comfortable.
Under the hood of the E400 lurks a 3.0-liter, V-6 that churns out a healthy 329 horsepower. Teamed with the standard seven-speed automatic transmission, it can propel this hefty sedan to 60 in about five seconds. The engine never seems stressed, even when you plant your foot firmly on the gas. The automatic is completely unobtrusive in everyday driving. However, when you want to have some fun, select the “sport” setting on the console, and use the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. This brings out the aggressive side of the E-400’s personality.
Lee and I took the E400 out on my favorite twisty road in the back country. This gave the Mercedes’ adaptive suspension and precise steering the chance to strut their stuff. The E400 demonstrated remarkable composure for a large sedan, slicing through turns with minimal body-lean. On straight pavement, the acceleration was more than sufficient to press me firmly against the seatback. Yet, it also delivers a supple ride. The amazing thing is that E400 does whatever you ask of it without even breaking a sweat.
Mercedes pricing puts the E400 in the same ballpark as the Audi A 6 and the BMW 5-Series. Base price is $66,525 including shipping. Lee’s car had the optional panoramic moonroof, Steel Grey metallic paint and the Keyless-Go package, which included an electronic trunk closer. The suggested retail price was $69,085.
Classy, yet Practical Cabin
Loads of Luxury and Safety Features
Very Capable Handling and Ride