It's a strange country we live in, where Mercedes is the best-selling brand, ahead of all the ordinary car makers. And this, the E-class is its most important model.
The Mercedes E-class has long been a mainstay on our roads, Singaporeans lapping up every new generation of them thanks to the three-pointed star’s allure of class, luxury, safety, and quality. Indeed, amongst the (dwindling) number of COE cars left in the country, the famed W124 from the ‘90s is possibly the most numerous, still soldiering on 20 years after being built.
What makes it even more significant locally is that the E-class is the bread-and-butter of a range that’s topping the charts of a shrinking new car market. That success isn’t likely to stop soon, based on what we’ve seen of this new, facelifted version.
Unveiled recently in front of about 500 guests, the first thing that strikes you about the new E-class is the seeming disappearance of the quad-headlamp setup. Instead, the LED daytime running lights are now shaped to continue that “four-eyed” look. The taillamps, too, have been given a new look with LED strips. For the first time in an E-class, customers will have two different looks to choose from — the Elegance trim line retains Mercedes’ classic upright grille with the star on top, while Avantgarde cars have a sportier look, with the large star in the middle of the grille.
As ever with a Merc, safety is one of the top priorities, and the E-class can be had with a whole host of active and passive safety features which Mercedes dubs “Intelligent Drive”. They include features that can recognize if the driver is getting fatigued, ‘read’ street signs and display them in the car as reminders, detect if the car is drifting out of lane and, if necessary, apply the brakes to tug the car back in line, and one that can even automatically apply the brakes if there is an obstruction ahead, be it another car, pedestrians, or cross-traffic.
Mechanically, little has changed in the new model. The E-class can be had as a sedan or wagon, with the same turbocharged 2.0L engine seeing duty in the E200 and E250, albeit in different states of tune — the E250 has about 30bhp and 50Nm more than the E200, with total outputs of 211bhp and 350Nm.
Prices start at $247,888 for the E200 Elegance sedan, while the E250 costs $258,888. The wagon is only available as an E250 and that starts at $267,888 for the Elegance model. Upgrading to the Avantgarde trim level costs another $10,000 for either the 4dr or 5dr.