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Mercedes-Benz E 400 Exclusive


Mercedes-Benz’s E 400 turbo-six is a cleaner, greener alternative to a luxury V8. It’s convincing on paper, but does it work on the road?

Base price: $150,900.

Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, 245kW/480Nm, 7-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 7.9 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 5.3 seconds.

Vital statistics: 4879mm long, 1474mm high, luggage capacity 540 litres, fuel tank 59 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels.

How it rates: 9/10

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? There was plenty that was new in the facelifted E-class launched last year. But only one variant had a new powerplant: the E 400, which boasts a 3.0-litre V6 with two turbochargers and some pretty serious performance.

The E 400 is impressive on paper, but then it needs to be: with the demise of the E 500 for our market, it’s actually taken up the mantle of that V8-powered machine.

The only V8 engine in the current E-class range is the E 63 AMG. And that’s a different car altogether…

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Whatever the specification sheet says, the E400’s blown V6 does not quite have the character of a big V8.

But is does have the performance, with truly remarkable acceleration and a surprisingly crisp engine note. Mind-boggling really, when you stop and think that this is a large luxury sedan with a 3.0-litre engine. It does 0-100km/h in just over five seconds, but can return under eight litres per 100km.

The chassis is typical Mercedes-Benz: it doesn’t smack you in the face with a sporting character, but the harder you drive it the more overwhelmingly accomplished it seems.

That’s one side of the E400. The other is the incredible amount of driver-assistance technology in the car. When it was launched, the E-class was arguably the closest thing to an autonomous car on sale; even now, it’s only been usurped by its more sophisticated sibling, the S-class.

With the Distronic Plus cruise control activated, the E400 does not merely keep the correct distance from the car in front (right down to standstill). It also self-steers in motorway driving, with the proviso that you must keep your hands on the wheel: not because it’s necessary for the system to function (far from it), but because you do need to be ready to take over for a sharp curve or emergency situation.

The E 400 also has pedestrian recognition and Cross Traffic Assist, which will slow or stop the car if traffic is approaching from the side at an intersection.

Consider this: a prototype S-class recently completed a 100km journey without a driver, using developments of exactly the same camera and radar hardware that’s fitted to the E400.

The future is here – it’s just waiting to properly introduce itself.

IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? Mercedes-Benz has gone bigger on bling in its recent models, so the outwardly conservative style of the E-class (inside and out) is now adorned with a conspicuous quantity of silver and chrome-coloured stuff.

No point holding back on the luxury equipment, then. In addition to the long list of standard specification on the E 400, our test vehicle was fitted with the Exclusive package which brings multi-contour seats with climate control, Nappa leather, special interior trim for the steering wheel, instrument panel and roof lining, panoramic glass roof, television tuner and rear-seat entertainment system.

SHOULD I BUY ONE? In some respects the E-class seems outwardly old-school: it’s a thorough update of quite a conservative model.

But there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when so many regard the E-class as the quintessential Mercedes-Benz sedan.

The E 400 has staggering performance, highly advanced safety technology and superb build quality. Both state-of-the-art and a timeless classic.


  • Air conditioning: Three-zone climate
  • Audio: CD, iPod compatible
  • Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
  • Blind spot warning: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Cruise control: Yes
  • Driver footrest: Yes
  • Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon
  • Head-up display: No
  • Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/Yes
  • Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
  • Lane guidance: Yes
  • Leather upholstery: Yes
  • Parking radar: Yes with camera
  • Power boot or tailgate: Yes
  • Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
  • Rear ventilation outlets: Yes including B-pillar
  • Remote audio controls: Yes
  • Satellite navigation: Yes
  • Seat height adjustment: Yes
  • Self-parking technology: No
  • Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
  • Steering reach adjustment: Yes
  • Stop-start: Yes
  • Trip computer: Yes

Find a Mercedes E400 for sale here.

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