The E-Class comes in an array of four different body styles--Sedan, Coupe, Cabriolet and Wagon--and five different engines.
All E-Class models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission. E350 models are the starting point up the price ladder, with their 302-horsepower, 3.5L V6. Above that, it's the E400 powered by a turbocharged 3.0L V6 making 330-horsepower. 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard on the E400 and available on most E350 models. At the top of the line, there's the performance-focused E63 AMG, with its 518-hp, 5.5L biturbo V8.
Environmentally minded shoppers have a couple of good options. The E350 Bluetec packs a strong 3.0L turbo-diesel V6, making 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile the E400 Hybrid offers the E350's gasoline V6, paired with a 27 hp, 207 lb-ft electric motor system that supplements its output, permitting both electric-only operation in some situations and the engine to be detached during high-speed coasting, or "sailing." The Hybrid also has the first lithium-ion battery pack designed specifically for automotive use, Mercedes-Benz says. Both of these models are rear-wheel drive only.
No matter the model, the E-Class has a classic luxury-sedan interior, with interior trims that are impressive and upscale yet not too flamboyant. Coupes and Cabriolets have less backseat space--with seating for four instead of five--but an AirCap system in Cabriolet models helps limit air turbulence with the top down. Ride comfort is top-notch through the lineup, too, and a driver-adjustable suspension system is included, while V8 models get air shocks to increase comfort without additional body motion.
On E63 AMG models, standard equipment includes a navigation system, enhanced voice control, a rearview camera system, an Active Multicontour Driver seat, heated and active ventilated front seats, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination, additional corner-illuminating lamps, an electronic trunk closer and Keyless Go.
Standard equipment across the E-Class model line includes power front seats (with 3-position memory), Smart Key entry, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, an integrated garage-door opener, rain-sensing intermittent wipers and ambient lighting. The COMAND screen- and controller-based system is also included, wrapping together radio, DVD/CD and a Bluetooth interface, as well as other media through a memory-card slot.
All E-Class models also include Attention Assist, a feature that studies the driver's steering patterns, alerting the driver with a coffee-cup icon and instrument-cluster message if when between 50 and 112 mph, it suspects drowsy driving.
The E-Class has several other noteworthy active-safety options. Night View Assist Plus uses infra-red light from beams mounted within the headlights to help see ahead nearly 500 feet--and see pedestrians up to 300 feet earlier than without the system, thanks to a screen built into the instrument cluster. There's also Distronic Plus, a sensor system that now includes Blind Spot Assist and Park Assist. Distronic Plus cars also have Pre-Safe, a system that can automatically apply full braking for an impending collision.
Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are offered together in a Lane Tracking Package, while the Driver Assistance Package brings Distronic Plus, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Some of the desirable luxury features and conveniences are grouped together into Premium 1 and Premium 2 packages, while standalone options include a rear side airbag, Parktronic parking guidance, split folding rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 115-volt power outlet and a rear-seat entertainment system, among many others.
Meet Mercedes', the 2019 AMG E63 S sedan. Unlike the Bimmer, however, which wears its race-bred intentions on its sleeve and on its sheetmetal, the big, bad Benz maintains a more subtle aesthetic. The look is buttoned-up but stylish, traditional and discreet, like a finely tailored Savile Row suit. The front valance is more angry than the standard E-Class, but not so much to draw attention, especially in the dark blue hue of my example.
In fact, if not for the slightly flared fenders, more aggressive wheel-and-tire combo and a few badges here and there, your average passerby would have a hard time telling this Q car from a more pedestrian E-Class sedan variant. That is, of course, until this 600-horsepower sleeper awakes.
Punching the E63's engine-start button causes the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 to spring to life with a satisfying growl. Each example of this power plant spins hangs two twin-scroll turbochargers in the "V" of its cylinder block for improved thermal management and a more compact design. And each is hand-assembled by a single AMG craftsman -- in this case, a dude named Kevin Weißerth -- and hand-tuned to a stated 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.
The Good The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is powered by a thrilling, 603-horsepower, biturbo V8 engine mated to a powertrain that goes from savage to smooth with the touch of a button. The sedan doesn't skimp on technology or comfort in the pursuit of performance, and wraps it all in a conservative design that flies under the radar.
The Bad While the dual-screen COMAND suite is nice, it's less advanced and more confusing than Audi's tech or even Benz's newer MBUX system.
The Bottom Line Out for uncompromising performance that also plays close to the vest? Look no further than the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E63 S sedan.
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