Brand heritage and history are highly bankable these days. Every industry does it for their products and car manufacturers are no exception. And there’s no better example than with Mercedes Benz. One of the most iconic brands in modern history, the current pride of the Mercedes Benz range has to be the E class. Mercedes Benz called the E class a limousine now and its a radical departure from the E classes of before. In catering to the demand the current buyers, the 2019 E350 AMG Line is the most tech intensive E class yet, with sportiness that’s usually reserved for the proper AMG cars. Plus its bigger, more efficient and sports a lower price tag than its predecessor. But has the E class lost its core value? We evaluate the E350 AMG Line alongside its elder brother, the 2011 E300 Avantgarde to see if the current car is an evolution of the bloodline, or a complete departure from its previous forms?
Unlike the previous generation of Mercedes Benz cars, the current generation spot a familiar face across the range. The E300 looked nothing like the S class of the day, but the E350 AMG Line though, its got a passing resemblance of the current S Class. Its got the familiar front headlamp design, rear tail lamp design and the overall silhouette.
The current E class has grown considerably in terms of length and wheelbase. Its 44 mm longer overall, but has a whopping growth of 65 mm in terms of wheelbase. This really does justice to the limousine term christened to the E class range now. The cargo space is a generous 540 liters, which could easily hold two golf bags.
Exclusive to the E350 AMG Line are the aggressive body styling for the front bumper, rear apron, and the side skirts. Its a more aggressive design than the Avantgarde spec E300. Even the rims are massive 19 inch rims with 245/45/19 tyres up at the front and 275/35/19 tyres at the rear. Additionally the car also comes with the Night pack which features blacked out front and rear aprons and side mirrors to add the aggression.
On the inside the added wheelbase really earns the E350 AMG Line its limousine term. The car feels far more spacious than its predecessor, despite being 6mm lower and 2mm narrower. The cabin architecture itself with the COMAND NTG 5.5 is an evolution from the S class. Its a radically different experience to be in this cabin when compared to the older car and even its class rivals like the BMW 5 series or even the Jaguar XF. This particular car’s woven metal trim and Nappa leather seats gives, in our opinion, the perfect blend of sportiness and luxurious ambiance.
The COMAND display dominates the interior experience, with a 12.3 inch multimedia display and a 10.25 inch instrument display. The instrument display can be customized into 3 basic settings which are Sport, Classic and Progressive. In those presets, the display on the right can be further customized into 5 different more displays which can range from the Eco Display driving data, trip meters, a Navigation map insert, your rev gauge and even a G meter.
For the multimedia screen, there’s a media display, navigation, 3 mobile device connectivity options which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a vehicle setup menu. We highly recommend that you operate this screen when you’re stationary as there are many sub menus and it can be very distracting for first timers. You can navigate these menus via voice command, a touchpad which you can write on, a rotary dial underneath it, or even the heptic sensors on the steering wheel. It may seem like a lot at first glance but over time it will become second nature.
At night the cabin truly comes alive with a pretty much the entire color specturm to choose from for your ambient lighting hue. You can choose your hue of choice depending on your mood or set it on a loop where it changes color continuously. This is a far cry from the single hue ambient lighting found in its predecessor. Other cabin features include multiple charging ports, climate control, a wireless charger and a panoramic roof.
On the Road
This is where the new E350 AMG line differs from its predecessor most. The E300 Avantgarde runs on 17 inch rims and tyre combo with a ride tuned solely for high speed cruising and comfort. This setup is complimented by the dense, 3000cc naturally aspirated V6 engine which really comes alive at speeds above 160kph. This car will be able to take high speed turns with ease, without feeling like you’re stuck in a yacht during a storm. It’s also brilliant in the wet, rarely aquaplaning and providing a secure ride for both driver and the passengers.
The E350 AMG Line though comes with adaptive air suspension system, they have tried to emulate the merits of the predecessor while offering newfound agility. The Dynamic Select ride setup feature allows you to choose from 3 ride settings and 2 drive settings, which are Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and a customizable Individual setting. This, along with chunky 19 inch rims, allows this E class to handle spirited driving with ease. However we did feel that the ultra low profile tyres does compromise the ride comfort ultimately, but by a very little margin.
Together with a far more spirited engine and gearbox combo, this car easily clocked far higher speeds with the same distance and acceleration duration as its predecessor. The engine is now a turbocharged 2.0 liter inline-4 with a 48V battery assist. This gives a combined output of 299bhp and 400Nm. That’s nearly 100 more in both figures than the E300. Couple that with the 9 speed automatic transmission and you can get a combined fuel consumption figure of about 8.5 liters / 100km. The E300 Avantgarde on the similar road will clock 11 liters / 100km. That means for every RM50 worth of Ron95, you will gain 64 km of range in the new car!
The E class has always been the front runner in terms of safety, and its no different in this car too. Aside from the multiple driving aids like ESP, ESC, ABS and EBD, there are other driver aids like Blind Spot Assist, Active Parking Assist, 360 degree cameras and Adaptive LED headlamps with automatic headlamp activation. The car runs on run-flat tyres and comes with tyre pressure monitoring system. This generation of E Class has scored an Euro NCAP Score of 5 stars back in 2016.
Cost and Coverage
The new E350 comes with a 4 year warranty with the option for an extended warranty program for 2 more years. The extended warranty program covers a total of 9 items which includes engine, air-conditioning system, gearbox and the suspension system. The additional 2 year extension can be purchased for RM7488 from any authorized Mercedes Benz dealers.
That’s comforting because a set of dampers at the front will set you back RM15,000. The air springs in the rear costs RM6000 each, and you’d need to replace a pair at a time. The dampers are far cheaper at RM3700 each. The car does not come with any form of servicing package, and each service will set you back an estimated RM1450 for every 12,000km. Major services can go up to RM5000.
Unlike the previous Mercedes-Benz Hybrid’s, the E350’s 48 Volt system’s battery pack only costs RM13,000 to replace, and its covered under the 4 year warranty. As the case with hybrid battery tech, it will become cheaper to purchase over time. The regular battery of the car is priced at RM3000 and will last for 2 years with good usage.
Since the car runs on run flat tyres which could set you back RM8000 for a set of 4, its worth considering the tyre and rim insurance from Mercedes Benz which would set you back RM2100. This insurance will cover your tyres AND those gorgeous AMG design 19 inch rims. With the amount of portholes in our urban areas, we would highly recommend this purchase. Insurance would be the biggest cost that you would incure in running this car, as its priced at RM399,888 brand new. Therefore your first year premium would be somewhere in the RM12,000 range while the second year should be in the region of nearly RM9000. Say in 2 years you were to cover 24,000km in this car and opted for the tyre and rim insurance coverage, you would have ended up spending almost RM40,865 to run the E350 AMG Line, or RM1702 per month, excluding financing and fuel.
The new E350 AMG Line is a multi talented Mercedes Benz which does justice to the limousine term in which its called in today. It does a whole lot of things and does not feel like the choice of the a particular age group. Its loaded with tech, a wonderful Burmester surround sound system, its got wonderful materials and looks like a shrunken S class from the outside.
Although it does loose some of the dense, weighted feeling of the old car which may appeal to traditionalists, it does still very much like an E Class. Only this time the package has been optimized to appeal to a much broader target market. So we can conclude that this is indeed an evolution in the right direction.