Test Drive - Mercedes E280 CDI Part 3/3

25/06/2009 - 01:50 | ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_123

In the last part we discuss on its engine, gearbox, ride among the other things. We also list out the things that the new E-Class hopefully leaves behind.

If you have not read the earlier parts, you can here - Part 1, Part 2

Engine -

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_63

This Mercedes E280 is powered by the acclaimed CDI Engine. The V6 (six cylinder) engine displaces 2,987cc to be precise, pelting out a very healthy 196bhp and a torque of 456Nm at 1400-2800 rpm.

The abundant power on the E-Class is hidden beneath the enchanting looks. You won't know what a hooligan this can be when you paste it on the highways.

When unleashed, this elegant and majestic car transforms into an ethanol-powered dragster that needs a parachute to stop.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_4

When you step on the gas from city speeds in an open stretch, the speedo needle is like the one found on tire pressure devices, it surges forward in total urgency, in the Mercedes Benz E-Class you'll never be late to work.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_69

Aided by the 7G -Tronic, the shifts are seamless, jerks, noises and pauses are words not present on the Mercedes Benz E-Class' dictionary. It does not miss a beat; it is like sailing on a boat in a calm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Handling/Drive -

At speeds as high as 160 kmph, it was like cruising at 70 kmph. The noise or vibrations that are experienced in everyday cars at high speeds isn't there on the E-Class.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_26

None of the passengers inside the cabin realized that the car was traveling at such high speeds. The cabin is totally inert to what is happening inches below it. The steering is still supplying quality feedback, the car is still heading straight ahead. The stability can be described only in one word - Awesome!

The ride quality is top notch. Low speed or high speed, the ride was supple and the suspension worked like a perfect spring, absorbing all the road shocks and sending nothing into the passenger compartment.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_21

Drive in the C (Comfort) mode or shift to the S (Sport) mode, it entirely depends on the mood you are in, the Sport mode makes the suspension a little stiffer, the throttle response is a bit sharper and the gear shifts are crisper.

Driving on crowded roads is as easy as playing a video game, the handling and drivability is fun. The instant power and pickup as you tap the paddle is just so addictive. Traffic signals are better-off red when you are behind the wheel of the E-Class.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_28

City roads or highways, potholes or speed breaker filled lanes, the car took all of it in its stride with a wide smile.

Safety standards are high on this 40+ lakh sedan, it's a Mercedes, and they are pioneers in automotive safety (recently developed an airbag that acts as a brake). The E's cabin is filled with airbags, giving us a feeling of a safe car, yes, but also another of being in a balloon shop.

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_60

The adaptive braking , dry braking and hill hold / hill start assist which holds the car in its place while on a slope are things that psychologically puts you in a safe environment.

What we did not like on the Mercedes E280 CDI -

Mercedes Benz E280 CDI_7

Throughout the review we sounded like marketing experts working for Mercedes Benz. The truth is we did not find anything really annoying with its handling, steering, engine or gearbox.

Maybe if we had the car for a month, the bad bits would surface, but with the initial impression this car gave us, we knew none would get us worked up. This is a well though out car with a brilliant engine, clever interiors and a fine suspension.

However, we did find these things to be a bit annoying during our drive -

1) Hump at the rear - Flat floor absent even on a car that is this big and this costly

2) Touch screen for audio and other controls present even on cars of lower segments

3) Front passenger seat needs manual control for to and fro motion; we are not complaining but when you first sit in this car, the competition has the upper hand.

4) Mirrors don't fold completely. Initially while parking and in tight gaps, I was a little scared.

5) No fuel lid opener here. If you unlock the car, the fuel flap is open. If someone accidentally opens the flap when the car is unlocked, it is big and poses threat to other motorists as it juts out of the car.

6) The hand brake is peculiar, they are like normal brakes which you actuate with the foot. A small pedal on the left of the primary brake which you actuate by pressing on it. You disengage by pulling a lever near the steering column which makes an unpleasant "whack" which scared our passengers during the initial drives. What is noisy character doing in a car that has theater lights, progressive spring on the hand grips and observes pin drop silence all the time?

7) The next generation Parktronic system should have a better GUI. The current one isn't very good and is a big drawback on this car. We were not very comfortable using it, we never got used to it.

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