2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic WagonPosted on September 16th, 2013
Beauty, brains and brawn in a single package
By Nina Russin
If there’s a car on the market that can once and for all eliminate America’s bias against wagons, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 is that car. The newest Benz wagon combines exquisite styling with an enhanced roster of safety features that includes pedestrian detection, active park assist, a surround-view camera, active lane keeping and steering assist.
Buyers can choose between V-6 gasoline and four-cylinder diesel engines. The test car comes with the 3.5-liter 302-horsepower V-6 and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
There are two-styling themes, luxury and sport, each with a unique front end. The test car has the sport grille with an integrated star. A chrome strip across the lower part of the front bumper accentuates a new headlamp design that integrates high beams, low beams and daytime running lamps into a single assembly.
Base sticker price is $58,600, excluding the $925 delivery charge. Options on the test car include a sport steering wheel, 18-inch AMG wheels with low-profile performance tires, heated front seats, navigation with Mercedes-Benz apps, LED adaptive headlamps, a lowered sport suspension, parking assist, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, cross traffic alert and pre-safe with pedestrian detection. Final MSRP is $70,215.
Styled to stand out
Whenever I test-drive an active lifestyle vehicle I like to bring it by our Saturday running group to collect some unbiased opinions. Usually people are pushing each other out of the way to check out a test car, but the word, ‘wagon,’ made the typically rambunctious crowd less enthusiastic.
“I think you’ll be surprised,”” I said as I ushered the group over to the car.
“That’s a wagon,” was the first comment I heard.”They don’t call it a SUV or a crossover?”
“Because it’s not a crossover, it’s a wagon, and Germans don’t have the bias against wagons that Americans do.”
“Huh. So this is a wagon,” my friend continued checking out the chrome dual exhaust tips. “This is really sporty. Is it all-wheel drive?”
“Wow. I could put a lot of stuff inside. I could fit my bike in here.”
“Probably two bikes,” I replied.
“Is it pretty fast?” she continued.
“Is the Pope Catholic?” I responded.
“Gee,” she said fondling the leather upholstery. “Maybe I should buy a few extra Powerball tickets.”
Direct injection and an abundance of low-end torque give the 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the 2014 E350 wagon exceptional power off the line. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is 6.6 seconds, according to the manufacturer.
At the same time, the powertrain is relatively thrifty thanks to a standard eco feature that automatically cuts engine power at a stoplight. The seven-speed automatic transmission has large overdrive gears that keep the revs low during steady state cruising. Average fuel economy is 21 miles-per-gallon according to the EPA.
I rarely need all-wheel drive in Phoenix because the roads are typically dry. But some significant rain fell during the week due to the seasonal monsoon. The monsoonal rains are short, violent storms that often create flash floods.
There were several instances when I found myself crossing through several inches of standing water. The all-wheel drive system automatically transfers engine power to the wheels with the best traction, helping the driver to maintain directional control.
The blind spot monitoring system uses LED signals in the side mirrors to indicate when cars in adjacent lanes are passing through the driver’s blind spots. If the driver signals to change lanes when one of the LED signals is red, the driver receives an audible alert.
The active lane-keeping feature uses the brakes to move the vehicle back to the center of the lane if the driver inadvertently veers off-course. I tested it out, and it works seamlessly.
I really appreciated the surround camera that automatically projects a 360-degree image around the vehicle perimeter when the driver shifts into reverse, and maintains the screen when the vehicle moves forward until it reaches a certain speed. Its invaluable for navigating parking lots where cross-traffic and cars pulling out of parking spots without warning can make for nasty fender benders.
I have written a lot about electronic power steering: specifically the problem with soft on-center response that seems to plague most systems. I dont know how Mercedes-Benz engineers circumvent the problem but they do, with excellent response at all speeds.
The wagons four-wheel independent suspension includes stabilizer bars on both axles to keep the chassis flat while cornering. The large wheels and low-profile tires provide a wide, stable footprint at speed. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car on a dime.
Inside, the E-Class wagon has room for up to seven passengers. Two rear-facing seats in the back are big enough for small children. The seating position reminds me of riding in my parents station wagon as a kid, when I loved to watch the road disappear behind the car. From a practical stance, the reverse seating position adds some cargo room with the seats in place, and also keeps the passengers heads a much safer distance from the rear glass.
The tall floor tunnel created by the all-wheel drive system limits legroom in the second-row center position, so four will be more comfortable on extended road trips.
Engineers did an excellent job on NVH reduction so passengers can converse with ease or enjoy the wonderful sound quality of the harman/kardon audio system.
Seat control adjustments on the door are a Mercedes-Benz hallmark and something I always appreciate. They are easier to see and reach than controls on the seat bottom.
One of Mercedes-Benzs problems in the past has been an array of confusing buttons on the instrument panel. Im happy to see the much-simplified arrangement on this new model, in which single rotary controls manage a variety of different functions. I found the controls more intuitive and less distracting.
Dual-zone climate controls enable front seat residents to adjust the temperature to their liking. Seat heaters make getting into the car on a cold winter morning more comfortable.
One of the advantages wagons have over sport-utility vehicles is the lower lift-over height that makes it easier to load large cargo into the back. Roof rails enable owners to add a rack or carrier up top when the car is full of passengers.
Among the E350 wagons standard safety features are front, side and side curtain airbags, daytime running lamps, stability control, antilock brakes, a drowsy driver alert system, collision prevention assist and a new four-year/50,000 mile factory warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance.
Mercedes-Benz builds the E350 wagon at its Sindelfingen, Germany assembly plant.
Like: A stylish, versatile wagon with segment-leading safety and exceptional performance.
Model: E350 4Matic Wagon
Base price: $58,600
As tested: $70,215
Horsepower: 302 Hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 273 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 6.6 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: No
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 19/26 mpg city/highway2014, Luxury 2014, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Mercedes, performance, pricing, standard safety
One response to “2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon”
There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as wellyou have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?
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