Mercedes-Benz E 350d AMG Line Review: Polished Executive Luxury  – ZigWheels
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Mercedes-Benz E 350d AMG Line Review: Polished Executive Luxury – ZigWheels

The E-Class story dates back to the W124 and 1995, when the first three-pointed star was made in India. This model was later called the E-Class and till today it’s still the most important model in the Mercedes-Benz India lineup, accounting for a third of their sales. The 2021 edition sees some cosmetic tweaks as well as some tech additions and creature comforts. The lineup will consist of two diesel engines and one petrol engine, and the car we had on test is the range topping E 350d AMG line diesel. It’s the sportier looking trim and with the straight six diesel borrowed from the S-Class, it promises to be both refined and powerful. Do these small nips and tucks and added features equate to a very different E-Class?

Little changes, big difference


The E 350d we have here is the AMG line trim car and so it gets a sporty bumper with a large grill, power domes and a different set of all-LED projector headlamps from the rest of the lineup. The E 220d and the E 200 get a classier looking bumper and front grill with more chrome that may appeal to a majority of buyers of the E-Class. This should also better suit the rich chrome trim around the windows and along the side skirting. This AMG also comes with a nice, fast-looking set of 18-inch alloys. 

The rear is probably the most different looking, with the new taillights now intruding into the bootlid. Those taillamps are also adaptive and adjust their intensity based on the ambient lighting conditions – a cool feature but not one you will really notice.  

In terms of dimensions not too much has changed save for an increase in 12mm in length and 10mm in height. Not too much of change and it’s still exclusively available in the long wheelbase version only. 

More tweaks on the inside

The design of recent Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans interiors hardly are in want of much change and are still class leading in our opinion. So it’s no surprise that not too much has changed with the new E-Class. The fit and finish, material choices and wood trim inserts are all top notch too, and still feel proper luxury. This AMG Line comes with a deep blue and cream dual tone design that keeps the cabin feeling nice and bright, and it works really well with the light open pore wood trim accents. 

Changes include a redesigned steering wheel, wireless charging pad up front, touch functionality for the central infotainment screen and a completely programmable digital dash for the driver. As before, both screens can be controlled with little touchpads on the steering wheel but, as before, the function needs some getting used to. Once you do get the hand of the Blackberry-esque trackpads, they do allow you to control almost everything without taking your hands off the steering wheel. 

A new feature is the automatic seat adjustment that we had some fun playing with. This allows you to key in your height and it will automatically set the seat, steering and mirror positions to a standard setting. It was never spot on but still gives you a nice base to start with to set your perfect driving position. Which can be saved for both the front driver and passenger seats, another feature that’s been added for the new E-Class. 

Some notable features that we’d seen and were looking forward to were the new ‘augmented reality’ prompts (handed down from the new S-Class) that help by overlaying navigation prompts over the live video feed from the front cameras. And something called ‘energising comfort’ that blends the ambient lighting, massage seats and music selection to suit the occupants’ mood based on inputs from biometric readings from either a paired Apple Watch or a supported Garmin product. While we do understand that these functions would be focused on front seat occupants and the E-Class appeals to more chauffeur-driven owners in India, we wonder if these features would have been interesting additions to the new E-Class. Or maybe even just the massage seats or even cooled seats could have been a worthy addition considering that cars starting at just Rs 15 lakh are now sporting these features. 

The Boss Seat

The experience in the best seat in the E-Class hasn’t changed too much either. You still have a reclining seat back, access to move the front passenger seat all the way forward, button access to open/close all the blinds and even the sunroof. The remote tablet also has most of the same functionality as before, with the addition of a new remote function that can access a number of features on the main infotainment screen as well. So you can now control functions like the ambient lighting and the main infotainment system settings from the main panel as well. It’s still the more relaxed seat in the class, with nice support. And with the quiet cabin insulation and cushy ride from the adaptive suspension a good driver will see you falling asleep on even a short ride. 

Performance and drivetrains

As mentioned earlier, the E-Class features three engine options – one petrol and two diesels. The E 200 petrol is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder motor making 197PS and 320Nm. The E 220d is powered by a 2.0 diesel 4-cylinder motor making 194PS and 400Nm. The pick of the bunch has to be the 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder diesel that powers this E 350d. Each is exclusively available only with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

This straight six diesel was the engine that started the chai cup challenge, so as expected at idle and city speeds it’s super refined. Power is smooth and linear and it’s a delight to drive around town. It’s only when you let the revs creep over 3000rpm that the engine note starts to be audible in the cabin. The 9-speed gearbox keeps things nice and does a good job of keeping revs low. It’s still not the quickest at downshifts though and quick prods on the throttle can sometimes be met with a slight pause as the gearbox selects the right ratio for the job at hand.     

In terms of performance the 286PS and 600Nm of torque is plenty for this large sedan for some pretty brisk acceleration. And a claimed 6.1 seconds to 100kmph means it’s quite fast off the line. But with the long wheelbase it’s not the kind of car that you would want to be chucking into corners. Not that it misbehaves at all. In fact in Sport mode body roll around corners is quite nicely controlled. But with that smooth torque from that engine, the light steering and the delightful ride quality when you calm things down, it’s you behind the wheel that takes the executive decision to back off the gas and let the E-Class waft along like it was meant to. 

Prices

Variant

New Price

Old Price

Difference

E 200 Expression

Rs 63.6 lakh

Rs 62.83 lakh

Rs 77,000

E 220D Expression

Rs 64.8 lakh

Rs 63.94 lakh

Rs 86,000

E200 Exclusive

Rs 67.2 lakh

Rs 67.3 lakh

Rs 10,000

E220D Exclusive

Rs 68.3 lakh

Rs 68.39 lakh

Rs 9,000

E350D AMG Line (Earlier known as Elite)

Rs 80.9 lakh

Rs 79.65 lakh

Rs 1,35,000

Verdict

The 2021 E-Class is still very much the executive sedan that the demographic it’s aimed at wants. The design tweaks on the outside still leave it class leading, the luxury quotient is still undeniable and the lineup features a sensible mix of engines and price points to appeal to a broad customer base. When compared to the E-Class on sale in other markets, it may look like small improvements that merely polish and tweak its luxury equation. But with its current popularity and clearly defined customer, one could also argue that the missing features wouldn’t really add to the appeal of this primarily chauffeur driven car without a big bump up in its asking price. And considering the small change in that pricing over the outgoing model it’s hard to see the most important car in the Mercedes-Benz lineup losing any of its sheen.


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