Test Drive - Mercedes E280 CDI Part 1/2

15/06/2009 - 19:29 | ,  ,  ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_113

The more important regions of the world in Mercedes' view have already received the new E-Class. India is yet to register it and we are informed it will arrive here in the next few months.

But before she bids farewell to us, we craved to have her company for one last time. One last chance to roam around town and indulging in the luxuries she had to offer, experiencing the Mercedes quality, comfort and panache.

Mercedes Benz loves Indian Autos Blog, and grants us our wishes every time. We were provided the special edition E-Class for four days and at the end of it, we thought of hiding it in our garage and pretending to know nothing when they came back to collect it.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_92

The Mercedes Benz E-Class is in India since the company set foot in the country and this mid-size offering from the German marquee is every business man's dream transport.

It's starting to show signs of age. For example, the stack of chrome which once acted as a magnificent radiator grill now looks like wrinkles on its face.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_89

Nevertheless what we have here is a highly respected Mercedes Benz which drips of old-fashioned Mercedes values. Ritesh calls me this morning and informs me the car has been taken back. He sounded like his own car had been boosted.

What Ritesh is going through is not hard to understand after you've spent four days with it and experience something which my English teacher in school would term ‘scintillating.'

In India the E class is on of the well known models in the Mercedes stable, recognized by its oval headlamps, grille and unique alloy wheels. Technically the ‘E' initially stood for Einspritzung which is German for ‘fuel injected.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_86

We were handed the keys to a E280 CDI, from what we think is the last batch of cars before the new generation arrives. Badged as the Special Edition we knew the ruby color car had nothing but good times to show us.

Exteriors - She's old yet she's admirable

The E class isn't exactly fresh (if it looks fresh, it's because of the camera that's hopelessly in love with this Mercedes, kinda just like us). The twin oval headlamps pasted to the front are not interesting anymore. I would partly blame the Chinese copy cars which I've seen a lot of recently, for creating such an effect. Chinese car makers emulate those headlamps in their cars, be it a hatchback or a SUV. When you are disgusted by such an act, the original piece gets stolen of its appeal, as your mind compares the two. It's a psychological thing.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_17

If something is old, doesn't mean you can't admire it. The E-Class overall might not appeal in a big way, but view it from any angle and you will find something intriguing. Something which only you will appreciate and I would fail to see.

Driving it on the crowded lanes of Mumbai or the expressways of Thane, we were able to attract a lot of attention. Maybe on the Skoda Superb, yes, but never expected that in the E, as it is an older car, but somehow we managed a good number of head turns. I suspect it's got to do something with the color, Ritesh thinks it is because of his Ray Ban, and I'll leave you to decide on that

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_48

Exterior components - Light is the E's best friend

The fog lamps are well designed and suited to the bumpers which would look out of proportion otherwise. The boot lid hosts a LED strip that functions of a stop lamp which prevented cars from overtaking us in the night. It did.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_115

The brake lights combined with the LED, made reflections on the ruby colored sheet metal which an art student would derive inspiration for his final year thesis. Flanked with strips of chrome running all round the car, the night went by us as we continued admiring the reflections it made with the arbitrary light sources. Light is the E-Class' best friend.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_44

The 3-pointed star dominates the front-end, as this probably is the most significant detail in the entire car. When you look at it, it reads out the level of the society you belong to these days. It is like a badge, or an identity card that indicates and signifies wealth and prosperity; gates open and people give way when you're behind the wheel of an E-Class.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_90

The E has the 5-spoked alloys which is my next favorite exterior bit. The Stuttgart star is present here again; it adorning the centre is extra special when you see it in motion. Quite brilliant.

The fat tires are key contributors to the E's stylish stance. Wing mirrors are body colored with turn lights blending nicely on them.

Fit, finish and quality - Could the best tools in the world belong to Mercedes Benz?

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_50

Fit and finish of the highest order has always been in Mercedes' list of things to do while building a car, and after we exhausted the four days, we understood that it was built to compete with cars of today.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_84

It would be an understatement to say the quality is good. We had a two member search team employed to touch, feel and assess the car's materials. The seekers were after the minute of gaps and the tiniest of finish or fit issues. They reported after the four day period and all they had was a grin and a blank slate.

Doors open wide make that 90deg which make it very easy to enter and get out of the vehicle, quality is the benchmark here and Mercedes seem to maintain that real easily with all their models.

Among the other things, we discuss the way she goes and the way she feels in the final part. Stay tuned till then!

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