2012 Mercedes Benz E350 Sedan Review

The best German midsize saloon money can buy
By Imthishan Giado

If you want to know what Mercedes is all about as a car company, drive an E-Class for ten seconds. More than any vehicle in the lineup, this is the one automobile which best represents the Stuttgart firm’s engineering and design heritage, the car that Mercedes absolutely has to get right each time. It’s the Mustang, the Golf GTI, the Camry all rolled into one conservative package.

That analogy isn’t too far from reality. The E-Series is a car that has to wear many hats: for example, in Germany in four-cylinder turbodiesel guise, it has to be robust enough to withstand millions of kilometres while needing little-to-no maintenance. At the other end of the spectrum is the E63 AMG, a monstrous barn-burner that is one of the fastest saloons on the planet, on track and off. And both cars come from the same basic platform.

But you don’t have to spend a fortune to see how good the E-Class can be. Look no further than the humble E350 Avantgarde saloon we tested here; it’s only got a 3.5-litre V6 under the hood but honestly – and if you were being honest with yourself – it’s all the Mercedes you’ll ever need.

Start with the looks. I wasn’t a huge fan of this W212 shape when it first debuted in 2009, which seemed unnecessarily conservative compared to the restrained elegance of the earlier W211. Time has been kind however, and I’m forced to admit that this silhouette is aging gracefully. Not flashy and bejewelled like Audis of late or boring sausages of BMW; this car exudes a certain indefatigable self-confidence. It’s got nothing to prove anyone, it’s not a brash upstart with new money, but old money and old-world charm. One caveat; make sure you order your Mercedes with the AMG package which adds a subtle bodykit and those all-important wheels and badges. Without them, you really will feel like you should be doing airport runs all day long.

Same goes for the interior, which exudes a rock-like solidity and idiot-proof switchgear. After just a few minutes, you find a comfortable seating position, and then you just get on with the business of driving it, really. Everything you see and touch feels incredibly robust, the doors shut with a reassuring thunk; if there’s a single corner cut, I couldn’t find it.

Toys? In this Avantgarde spec, not many. No radar cruise control, no multiple sport modes for the drivetrain, no fancy high dollar brand name on the stereo; it’s all stock Mercedes kit. Yet honestly, it doesn’t feel like anything missing.

Nothing’s really missing from the drive experience either. Sure, it’s no sports car. And even with 304bhp under the hood, the E350 is no raucous powerhouse either; that direct-injected V6 has to shift 1780kg of saloon. Mercedes claims a fairly quick time of 6.3 seconds but in reality it felt nowhere near that rapid; just very smooth linear pull through the rev range. The seven-speed auto is perfectly matched, slurring through the gears in traffic but willing to drop down two cogs if needed.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not a slow car. It just feels merely sufficient where the AMG version is an overpowering experience of smoke and noise. What it does feel is immensely capable for all situations: the steering is well judged and precise, the brakes easy to modulate (if lacking in initial feel) and the handling crisp and tidy as you’d expect with no unwanted surprises. Body control is excellent with little roll through corners and a plaint ride which soaks up most bumps effortlessly. All cars wish they rode this well.

 

Verdict

It’s just so hard to fault the E-Class. Bomb proof build quality, every toy under the sun available (for a price) and an excellent drive to boot. The E-Class might not be the car that you dreamt about as a kid, but for most people, it’s all the car they’ll ever need.

2013 Mercedes Benz E350
Specs
Price: AED 232,000 (AED270,00 as tested)
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 306bhp @ 6500rpm, 273lb ft @ 3500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 6.3s, 255kph (limited)
Transmission: Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1735kg

2 responses to “2012 Mercedes Benz E350 Sedan Review”

  1. car service says:

    Beautiful car man, would have been better if there was a bit more space for passengers at the back I think.

  2. Feroz says:

    @Car service: Have you taken a ride in one of these? The back space is immense

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