Luxurious, comfortable, classy – these are some of the words one would usually use to describe a Mercedes-Benz. As for the E-Class, arguably the defining model of the three-pointed star, there are probably no truer words to describe it.
The same recipe has been continuously refined over the last 60 years to this – the W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. However, among the latest line-up of the E-Class introduced by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia last year, the E 300 Exclusive Line is probably the one you should be looking at. Here’s why.
Although marketed as the middle-of-the-pack E-Class, the E 300 is still as luxurious inside. Nappa leather seats? Check. Burmester 13-speaker audio system? Check. Massive panoramic sunroof and a powered tailgate? Check and check. I’d even argue that the wooden trim feels more luxurious than the metal-weave trims on the AMG line.
It is just a pleasant place to be in, whether you’re in the front or at the back. Material selection in the cabin is top-notch, as one should expect from an E-Class. Really, there’s nothing much to complain, perhaps other than the fact that the large 12.3-inch infotainment display (good) isn’t a touchscreen panel (not so good).
Under the hood, the new 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder mill in the E 300, although same as all other E-Class variants, doles out just the right amount of power – 258 hp, 370 Nm of torque and 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. Do you really need anything more than that?
And then there’s the creamy-smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox. It’s unobtrusive and effortless and somehow almost telepathic. It has nine gears and it almost always seems to be in the right one. Even on the off-chance that it’s not, a slight prod on the accelerator pedal and it jumps to the right set of cogs immediately.
The ride on the E 300 is also exactly what you expect in an E Class – soft and supple, but not lacking in grip. Although, we must say that road imperfections do somewhat transmit into the cabin, perhaps due to the use of run-flat tyres.
The passive suspension setup is pretty much devoid of any hint of athleticism, even when compared to the adaptive suspension in the E 350. If you’re looking for a sporty driving experience, you’re barking up the wrong tree with the E-Class.
There’s really no denying that the E 300 is a pleasure to drive. Not in the sense that it’s a great driver’s car – far from it, but Mercedes-Benz has made everything so effortless and comfortable – from the steering weight, to suspension set-up and gearbox tuning.
As for styling, the Exclusive Line styling just doesn’t look as sharp as the AMG Line, or even the Sports Line on the entry-level E 200 if you ask me. Of course, a twenty-odd year old like myself is not the target market for this car.
However, there’s no denying that the Exclusive Line is perhaps the classiest-looking among the trio. For some people, seeing the three-pointed star standing loud and proud at the front of the bonnet is still the mark of success and pride.
When it boils down to the essentials, the Mercedes-Benz E300 Exclusive Line is all you’ll ever want and need from a E-Class. And if you really think about it, it’s all you’ll want from a Mercedes-Benz – the true distillation of those three words mentioned above.
Mercedes-Benz E 300 Exclusive Line Specifications:
|Engine||1,991cc; 4-cylinder turbo|
|Max Power||258 hp @ 5,800 rpm|
|Max Torque||370 Nm @ 1,800 – 4,000 rpm|
|0 to 100 km/h; Top speed||6.2 seconds; 250 km/h|
|Price (OTR W/O Insurance)||RM379,888|