Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
2014 Mercedes-Benz E 550 4Matic. Click image to enlarge

Review and Photos by Justin Pritchard

Even a little squeeze on the throttle pedal in the Mercedes-Benz E 550 generates a robust forward surge of momentum that strains your neck, tightens the muscles in your lower back and glides this glam-sedan along with buttery smoothness towards the horizon ahead. Without using a lot of revs, and often without even downshifting, that perpetually available thrust is always ready to get things rushing along.

Or, give the throttle a slam and the E 550 pounces forward, instantly, as if it’s been rear ended by a dump truck. Driven gently, or driven by me, there’s a remarkably quiet, smooth effortlessness to the acceleration.

Torque is responsible for this gorgeous, effortless rush of power. It’s the manly car specification – and the all-important number for moving heavy things like transport trucks and locomotives and great big luxury sedans full of gadgets and airbags and wealthy folks and more leather and speakers than the living room section at Leon’s.

Plenty of torque, over 440 lb-ft of it, ensures the robust on-demand acceleration, and in the tester, it came from a newly minted 4.7L V8 with twin turbochargers and direct injection working away to turn in something luxury car shoppers love: good gas mileage and gobs of power. Horsepower trails at a still-respectable 402.

Output went to all four wheels via 4Matic AWD. The tester was further fitted with the ultimate in winter safety technology, winter tires, to give that AWD system more grip to work with. With winter boots and 4Matic, traction is just as effortless as the performance generated by the boosted V8.

Effortless performance and effortless traction: there’s a theme here, if you haven’t noticed. After all, relaxing and socializing and letting the car handle everything for you are important parts of the luxury driving experience.

And this E 550 handles plenty for you. Wipers self-activate if there’s anything on the windshield. The trunk closes itself. Climate control is fully automatic. The E550 can even watch your blind spots for you, and spares you needing to turn around while backing up, thanks to its camera and radar system.

And speaking of parking, at low speeds the electric steering system does 99 percent of the work, meaning you can steer this big fella around with one finger, effortlessly.

And with that same finger, drivers can call up and manipulate hundreds of vehicle functions with just a few millimetres of fingertip movement on the central command system’s do-it-all control knob, once they learn its operation.

Dynamic seats even make life effortless for your back. Steer, and the corresponding bolster presses gently into your side, holding you in place. At first, this feels nearly as awkward as an uninvited workplace back massage – but after seven or eight hours on the highway, you realize having your torso stabilized by the seat, not your muscles, is tremendously relaxing. On one day with the tester, I hit the road for seven hours, and got out feeling like I’d been driving for 48 seconds.

Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz E 550 4Matic videos car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
2014 Mercedes-Benz E 550 4Matic. Click image to enlarge

The lighting system makes life easier on the driver’s eyes, too. Lights are automatic, and use LED technology to create clean, white light transmitted through precise lenses that can steer into corners, virtually eliminating eye fatigue on long after-dark trips. The adaptive high-beam system doesn’t just have low and high beam settings – but can actively raise and lower the brights in response to the position of oncoming traffic, ensuring drivers get maximum illumination where it’s needed at all times. Hit a dark highway, and the constant, smooth raising and lowering of the high-beam cut-off line never gets old.

So, here, effortless power, effortless grip, effortless feature functionality and even effortless visibility all form the latest foundation for luxury motoring that have helped define the popular E-Class for generations.

The cabin, trimmed with aluminum, white leather and black panels looks and feels world-class – with upscale materials meeting the eyes and fingertips at every turn. It’s slathered with rich detail and a thick, robust and heavy ‘quality’ feel is apparent throughout most every control and switch. The instrument cluster is gorgeous and highly informative, and despite all the high-tech goodies in here, the E 550 manages a sort of laid back and traditional atmosphere that puts tranquility ahead of technology.




About Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard is a full-time auto writer, consultant, broadcaster and AJAC member based in Sudbury. When not writing about the latest new models and industry trends, you'll probably find him fixing his Dodge Viper.