The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has always been a special car in the company’s Global and Indian line-up. In fact, Mercedes started off its India innings with this very car and it has been the best-selling model for the company in India, as well as worldwide. Come 2016, and the company launched the latest 10th generation E-Class worldwide. This is the car that is getting launched in India end of this month, with a long twist! Yes, looooong it is!! This is the first time Mercedes-Benz will be launching the Long Wheel Base version, that too, in Right Hand Drive format in any market other than China (in LHD configuration). We were in Goa to drive this Limo and tell you exactly how this new super luxury saloon stacks up in its own segment.
Gone is the ‘W’ and in comes the ‘V’…
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class that we will get in India is the LWB (Long Wheel Base) version, and hence it is codenamed as V213, instead of W213. This car, as mentioned above, is the 10th generation worldwide and the 5th generation E-Class in India. The legacy of the E started with the W120 in the 50s and was followed by the W110, W114/W115, W123, W124, W210, W211, W212 and the current W213 (V213 in India). The W124 E-Class though, is a special breakthrough point in the E-Class’ history, as this was the first time it was associated with the letter E. This change in nomenclature happened in 1993 and it sold until 1995.
The W124 was the first generation E-Class (that was also called an E-Class, worldwide!) to be sold in India. The car isn’t as well remembered as the succeeding three generations, but marks the starting point in the car’s success story in India. After all, it has accounted for 34 percent of total sales from the past two decades. The V213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class in India will be available with two engine options – a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol (E200) and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel (E350d) that we drove on the smooth tarmac of Goa. Here is what we felt in particular about the all new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E350d LWB.
A long affair…
First glance at the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB and you’re ought to notice its length, before anything else. When the regular wheelbase version was launched last year globally, we personally thought that the car lost its charm and uniqueness in terms of its design, as it wore the new family look. But after seeing this LWB version our opinion has changed. This version, due to its stretched proportions, looks much bigger than the C-Class. Some might mistake it for the S-Class for its sheer length (which is not a bad thing), but there are a few differentiators here.
The two-slat front grille with the huge Mercedes-Benz logo and the familiar looking headlamp cluster has softer edges this time around. We did love the LED DRL detailing in the headlamps, which looks like the claws on an expensive solitaire diamond ring, and the gorgeous Stardust LED taillamps (design elements in the tail light have a kinda stardust sparkle). View from the sides and you notice the stretched rear door, upright C pillar with a large quarter glass, and the large 17-inch alloy wheels that fill up the wheel arches just right, thanks to high profile tyres. There is a huge panoramic sunroof that’s divided into two sections. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB is easily the longest car in its segment. This also translates into loads of extra kneeroom at the rear and we were completely caught unawares by so much space on the inside.
Mercedes-Benz in its presentation was seen talking mostly about the rear seat luxury and the comfort it has to offer, ‘coz that’s its USP after all. The 2017 E-Class LWB is 205mm longer than the last generation car, which amounts to similar amounts of rise in legroom at the rear. It is also 184mm longer than the current W213 E-Class, which is substantial. As for the dimensions, the LWB version stands at 5063mm in length and has a wheelbase of 3079mm which is, in fact, longer than that of the S-Class. The max legroom on this version is 320mm as compared to 203mm and 213mm, on the last generation and current generation cars respectively. Now having the facts cleared, let’s get back to the experience on the insides. The examination of the interiors naturally started from the rear seat.
Pull the door handle and the long door opens pretty wide. Get into the rear seat and you immediately know it has something special to offer. The test car that we received came with a black interior. Weirdly enough, if you opt for the Silver exterior shade, you will have to live with the Black-themed interior. Rest of the exterior colour palette will be offered with a dual tone black and beige interior, which looks much richer than the single tone black theme. The comfort on these thrones is on the supreme level and you tend to get spoilt by this. I was trying my best to sneak into the rear at every available opportunity, thanks to our Editor Ritesh and Chief Lensman Dr. Anand, who didn’t want to leave their seats for anything else in the world! The soft pillows attached to the rear headrests elevate that comfort factor manifold. We would also like to point out at this moment that although the cabin is pretty wide, seating three at the rear (with the centre armrest folded up) wont be the best idea for long journeys. This is a luxurious 4-seater and there are no two ways about it.
The rear seat gets a first in the segment reclining feature (up to 34 degrees), and a host of features unique to the LWB variant. So for starters, there is an individual climate control system with vents on the centre console and the B-pillars. There are electrically operated sun blinds on the rear windscreen, rear windows and manually operated ones on the quarter glass. All of this can be operated with the click of a button located on both the rear door panels. Also, from either seat you can control both rear windows and the sunblinds. There are controls to operate the roof on the massive panoramic sunroof. The passenger side rear seat on the E-Class LWB has a special button that lets you adjust the front seat, something like the BOSS buttons on the Skoda Superb. This feature is also placed conveniently besides the driver’s seat too.
Now that you slowly get accustomed to all the controls and features in the rear seat, you start noticing the dashboard, and here the new E-Class LWB is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor. Mercedes-Benz has taken the best of both worlds, in this case, the S-Class and the C-Class. The flowing dashboard is reminiscent of the bigger car, whereas the centre console is a bigger version of that available on the C-Class. The 4 central AC vents in aluminium finish look elegant, while the open pore ash wood trim looks adept. We loved it on the Mercedes-AMG C43 we tested earlier, and its no different here too. The car comes with a 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound System that puts out 520 W…it sounds good, but clearly isn’t the best in class.
Internationally, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with a digital instrument cluster, but the India model will be only offered with the traditional needles. At the price at which this E350d variant is set to be launched and as the flagship variant, we did expect this feature, as it has now become a standard feature on all luxury cars. What you do get is a brilliant HD 12.3-inch screen for the infotainment system. This system gets a wide range of connectivity features like Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Bluetooth, etc and Satellite Navigation is standard as well.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB comes with no less than 64 different colours for the ambient lighting (S-Class has 7 colour options). This makes the interior feel like a lounge at night and a pretty special place to be in. The infotainment system runs on the COMAND ONLINE operating system that can hook up to an internet hotspot for various functionalities. The system also displays vehicle date, climate control settings for the rear, driving modes, driver assistance systems, safety systems, phone settings etc. It also acts as the display for the 360-degree camera which shows different camera angles and a bird’s view of the entire car. This system is a boon while reversing/parking the car or making a 3-point turn.
The steering wheel too, is quite advanced. This is the first Mercedes-Benz in India to get the touch sensitive pads on the steering wheel. So you get two touch pads, one that can control the 12.3-inch screen, and other one that controls the Multi Information Display (MID) in the instrument cluster. The steering column can be electrically adjusted for rake as well as reach, on the go. You get real Aluminium finish paddle shifters that feel premium to the touch.
The comfort on the front seats too, is brilliant. There is electric adjust for the height and thigh support on both the front seats, in case you need to get extra comfortable. There is no doubt that the new E-Class has won the game hands down with its current rivals, as well as some expected future rivals. If you are to be chauffeur-driven and comfort is your priority, then you probably should stop reading here and go and book the E200 variant immediately. Incredible! The rest of you can continue reading further.
620 Nm ka Tadka…
Yes, that’s what you feel when you floor it for the first time. You don’t expect a Limo to do 0-100 kmph in 6.6 seconds, right? That’s Audi TT and BMW Z4 territory, they being trueblue sportscars. The E350d variant is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that develops 258 HP and 620 Nm. It comes mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox that we have also seen under the skin of the C250d, C43 AMG, GLC in recent times. This V6 motor is a gem though, and you will know why. Read on.
Crank up the V6…and apart from the initial shudder, the engine feels extremely smooth. You wouldn’t know the engine is ticking over as there are absolutely no vibrations whatsoever. The engine idles at a low 500 RPM in all drive modes, except Sport+ where it idles at a high 1000 RPM. The engine revs all the way to 5100 RPM. Press on the accelerator gently, and the car pulls forward strongly without any drama. The engine is free-revving and loves to be revved hard every once in a while. We hit some serious speeds on a few empty stretches of tarmac and all of it was done with a relaxed demeanour.
A special mention for the brilliant 9-speed automatic transmission, which adapts perfectly to sporty, as well as relaxed driving. While cruising, you will not notice the gear changes at all, while the engine’s massive torque helps waft you along. The engine spins at a hibernating low 1,100 RPM at 100 kmph in the 9th gear, which helps improve fuel economy on longer journeys. This was the same latest generation gearbox that we experienced on the C43 AMG and we are still in awe of how it can change its nature completely, for the given duty with its seamless and effortless shifts.
And its fun to drive…
That’s not what you usually associate with a Limo of this size. Although, it is indeed fun to drive when you’re in the mood. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with air suspension (AIRMATIC) as standard on all 4 ends. This makes the ride super soft in Comfort mode. This mode can be best used for slow city speed conditions as when speeds increase, the car tends to get floaty on some of the long undulations. Don’t get us wrong, it is extremely stable at any given speed, but we would use the car in Sport mode as our default mode for driving daily. In this mode, the ride doesn’t get corrupted as much and body control is way better, while the steering weighs up just perfectly. The gear shifts too, aren’t as harsh as they are in the Sport+ mode, making it our favourite driving mode on the new E-Class. The air suspension lowers itself once you cross the 120 kmph speed mark, making the car more aerodynamic. Also, when you park the car, the air suspension lowers the car automatically, giving it an extremely sporty and trendy look. The steering system is light to use, but isn’t as indulging as its Bavarian rival. The brakes on the other hand, do an excellent job at stopping this behemoth.
Safety comes first…
Mercedes-Benz cars have always been in the forefront in terms of safety. And the New E-Class LWB too, comes with a long list of safety features. You get 7 airbags, Adaptive Brake System, ABS with EBD, Attention Assist, Active Brake Assist, three point seat belt with pretensioner… to name a few. The Limo also gets the Active Park Assist feature that helps the car park itself and works for both, parallel as well as perpendicular parking.
A new high…
It is clear that the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB is the new segment benchmark… be it for interior space, comfort or the luxury features on offer. The car has a clear mantra, and that is to pamper its rear occupants and give you that V6 thrill every now and then. At an estimated price of Rs. 68 lakhs for the E350d and Rs. 58 lakhs for the E200, this car isn’t going to be cheap, but the more important thing is, it gets your money’s worth just because of that larger than life rear seat experience. The V213 E-Class has taken a huge hop over the W212 E-Class and is now closer to S-Class in terms of comfort than ever before. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB is the bargain S-Class you always wanted, and could be the one that could transform this segment forever. It will be interesting to see how rivals react to this Masterpiece of Intelligence.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB Photo Gallery:
Pics by Dr. Anand Narvekar