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First Drive: Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz directly answers a question many Canadian drivers have been asking with this efficient, diesel-powered, mid-size luxury sedan. Will it find a home with Canadian buyers?

2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4MATIC Gallery

Car Review

Overall rating:

8/10

Strengths and weaknesses:

  • Impressive fuel economy
  • High tech active safety
  • Diesel and all wheel drive available together
  • Light on horsepower
  • Slow throttle response
  • Active safety may encourage driver distraction

Editor's Ratings:

  • Comfort (rear): 9/10

  • Comfort (rear): 9/10

  • Consumption: 8/10

  • Equipment: 8/10

  • Handling/driving: 8/10

  • Look: 8/10

  • Performance: 7/10

  • Price: 8/10

  • Storage: 8/10

2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4MATIC
 
Mercedes-Benz is well known for its stoic, safe, and restrained sedans, but the styling of the all-new E-Class sedan for 2014 is surprising and interesting. The shapes on the front of the car are certainly more aggressive and sporting and the new LED headlamps are some of the most distinctive on the road today. Other drivers won’t mistake these lights for anything but a Mercedes-Benz.
 
For those of us who lament the lack of choice of European-style drivetrains in our North American cars, the new Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4MATIC is a surprising response. Starting with a turbocharged 2.1 litre, four cylinder diesel engine and mating it to the company’s seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission along with 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, this E250 makes an excellent choice for Canadian luxury sedan buyers.
 
In this segment it’s rare to see a diesel engine of any size in Canada and with a combined fuel consumption rating of 6.1 litres per hundred kilometres, the E250 promises to be very frugal, as well. Although it offers efficiency and all-weather traction, it’s the entry level model in the E-Class line-up and starts at $57,800.
 
At city speeds, the 369 foot pounds of torque is sufficient for most situations, though at 1,845 kilograms, there may be situations where you’ll want a little more acceleration. To maintain highway speeds, the 195-horsepower is adequate for Canadian highways. The seven-speed automatic is flexible and takes advantage of the available torque, but throttle response isn’t as quick as it should be. If you like manual control of the gears, steering wheel mounted shift paddles are standard equipment.
 
The interior isn’t much of a departure from the previous model and all of the controls will be familiar to Mercedes-Benz drivers. The front seats are, as expected, very comfortable and supportive, and highly adjustable so that virtually any driver can find an ideal seating position. The steering wheel feels great in your hand and if you fancy yourself a driver, you notice the wheel diameter and rim thickness is just about perfect.
 
The technology in this latest Advanced Driving Assistance Package system is remarkable. A number of new and revised technologies are integrated to offer an advanced level of active safety and it’s worth every penny of its $2,700. Cross Traffic Assist monitors traffic from lateral directions and Pre-Safe Plus monitors traffic from behind to mitigate rear end collisions.
 
Distronic Plus maintains your speed and optimum following distance to the car in front, and the revised Active Lane Keep Assist work together to support the driver in subtle ways. Using a series of cameras, the system will actively maintain a safe following distance to the car in front, but also actively maintain the car’s direction in the traffic lane by steering the car on your behalf. It will actively steer through easy corners, as well as actively brake to maintain that safe following distance.
 
Yes, this car will drive itself, if however briefly, as it’s limited to autonomously driving for ten seconds before a warning displays on the dash, otherwise at thirty seconds without driver involvement the system disengages. I’d like to think drivers will treat this technology as an available safety net rather than one that allows them to text and drive.
 
Canadians do like to buy their Mercedes-Benzes with a more sporting look, so a $1,300 sport package is available with 18-inch AMG wheels, larger front brakes and a front spoiler and rear diffuser that are chromed. For the larger brakes and better looks of the AMG wheels, buyers should tick this option box.
 
Mercedes-Benz is breaking new ground with this innovative, entry level E-Class sedan. The trick, of course, is whether Canadians are ready to drive mid-size luxury sedans with smaller diesel engines, and with the E250 you can’t go wrong.
 
Fact file
2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4MATIC
Trim level: E 250 BlueTec 4MATIC
Price as tested (before taxes): $57,800
Options on test vehicle: Advanced Driver Assistance Package ($2,700), LED Lighting System ($1,300)
Freight: n/a
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.1L 4-cylinder / 7-spd automatic with sequential shift
Power/torque: 195 hp/ 369 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): diesel (80L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.4 city, 4.6 hwy
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): n/a
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS 
 
Strengths: fuel economy, active safety systems, all-wheel drive
Weaknesses: light on horsepower, throttle response, active safety systems can encourage driver distraction
 
Report Card (out of 10):
Fuel Economy: 8 – Great fuel efficiency for a luxury sedan.
Equipment level: 8 – High level of standard equipment and well-priced options.
Price: 8 – At under $60,000 the E250 is, dare we say, a bargain.
Styling: 8 – The revised styling of the E-Class gives it some welcome character.
Comfort (front): 9 – Superb comfort, support and space.
Comfort (rear): 9 – Passengers will be happy with head, hip and leg room.
Handling: 8 – Designed for the roads of Germany, the E250 handles competently.
Performance: 7 – Think staid, not speed. Get the big brother AMG model if you want to go fast.
Storage: 8 – Excellent interior and trunk space.
Overall: 8 – An excellent option for those looking for an efficient luxury sedan.
 

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