Lisbon, Portugal – The roads in and around the city of Lisbon proved to be the perfect test location to evaluate the all-new 2017 E-Class sedan. From Lisbon’s 19th Century cobblestone streets to the narrow winding coastal roads to the country’s immaculately paved high-speed toll highways, there was a road to challenge every aspect of the E-Class sedan’s performance. We even got to drive three laps around the famous Circuit Estoril race track in the lusty twin-turbo E 400! More on that later…
This is the first major redesign of the E-Class sedan since the 2010 model year: the restyled 2014 sedan looked new but it was primarily a styling update with the addition of the new E 400 4Matic sedan (replacing the E 350) and the new E 250 Bluetec diesel 4Matic sedan (replacing the E 350 Bluetec).
Just about everything in the 2017 E-Class sedan is new: an all-new platform and body with extensive use of aluminum panels, a redesigned interior with a new digital instrument cluster and improved infotainment and connectivity system, a new nine-speed automatic transmission, new collision-avoidance safety technologies and optional semi-autonomous driving capabilities and a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the entry-level E 300 replacing the 3.5L V6.
The first 2017 E-Class model to arrive in Canada will be the E 300 4Matic sedan in June or July, followed by the E 400 4Matic sedan in September or October. These were the only two models we were able to sample. Mercedes was tight-lipped about the arrival dates for the E 250 Bluetec (diesel), E 550 and Mercedes-AMG E 63 sedans and there was no indication of when the wagon might arrive – the arrival of the recently redesigned C-Class wagon may spell the end of the E-Class wagon line in Canada. The new E 350e Plug-in Hybrid is also a possibility, but after the discontinuation of the short-lived E 400 Hybrid here in 2014, it seems unlikely we’ll get it. E-Class coupes and convertibles will retain the current body style for 2017. Pricing is yet to be announced but is expected to be similar to current pricing.
Dimensionally, the new E-Class sedan is 43 mm longer with a wheelbase that has increased by 65 mm, but is slightly lower in height (by 3 mm). The 2017 E-Class sedan has a tighter, more dynamic and sculpted appearance with styling that borrows heavily from the larger S-Class and smaller C-Class sedans. Though it’s larger than the 2016 sedan, it looks smaller.
In Canada, 2017 E-Class sedans will once again have the sportier AMG styling package as standard equipment. This includes a two-bar grille with a large Mercedes star in the centre, an aggressive front bumper with large separate side air intakes with two horizontal slats, body side sills, rear diffuser and twin chrome tailpipes. According to Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian public relations manager, JoAnne Caza, this is the body style preferred by the majority of Canadian buyers. E-Class owners who want a more traditional appearance can opt for the Luxury Package that features a chromed three-bar grille, an upright Mercedes star hood ornament on the hood, and a full-width mesh lower air intake with chrome highlights. All 2017 E 300s have LED headlights and taillights, polished aluminum window trim, 18-inch all-season run-flat tires and 5-spoke alloy wheels.
All the nitty-gritty: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Drive Pilot
For 2017, the biggest change (and perhaps most controversial is the switch from a standard V6 engine to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The E 300’s new turbocharged 241-hp 2.0L 16-valve four-cylinder engine with direct injection replaces the previous 248-hp 3.5L V6. The new four-cylinder turbo comes standard with an auto start/stop system that automatically turns the engine off while paused at traffic lights and restarts when the brake pedal is released.
As well, Mercedes’ new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission replaces the previous seven-speed 7G-Tronic unit. Both E 300 and E 400 come standard with Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel drive system.