Our Fleet Test Drive: Mercedes E-class - 1st Report
08 February 2010
 Mercedes' Jane Ghatta proceeded to unveil Paul's new car, and give a detailed handover
When we received the call that our new Mercedes-Benz E-class long-term test car was built and ready for collection, the German manufacturer gave us two options.
Either have it delivered to the office, or come down to the brand showcase that is Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands in Surrey. The latter is a service normally only offered to people who have ordered their new car through the dealership-cum-museum-cum-driver training facility-cum conference centre, so it was something we jumped at.
I headed down there just before Christmas, when my Cuprite Brown E250 CDI had made its way over to the UK, and got the chance to have a nose around the Mercedes shop and various displays of classic Merc models, as well as standing on the formula one podium, flanked by 2009 McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. But the serious bit started when I was invited through to the presentation area where my new car was waiting beneath a cloth , complete with welcoming personalised display sheet . Mercedes' Jane Ghatta proceeded to unveil my new car, and give a detailed handover , which included explaining several neat touches I hadn't realised existed on the vehicle, but will make living with it even more enjoyable. More on those in future reports, but it's safe to say my enthusiasm for the car was certainly increased after being shown around it.
We've plumped for the middle Avantgarde specification for our E250 CDI, which is the second most powerful of the four diesel options. It's £1585 more than the E220 CDI, but emissions and economy figures of 142g/km and 40.9mpg respectively are the same despite the extra 34PS of power. We chose the Avantgarde trim, a £2500 step up from entry SE level, because it gets a range of extra features we wanted to try, including Mercedes' clever adaptive lighting system, as well as a whole host of other standard equipment. But that didn't stop us dabbling on the options list, although only a little bit. The one extravagance was the satellite navigation package, which cost £1150, that also includes what so far seems a very good full iPod connectivity system. The only other options we've specced were a DAB digital radio at £313 because I've never lived with one before and wondered if they're worth the cash, and the essential metallic paint at £607. It remains to be seen if I like the Cuprite Brown in the metal as much as I did in the pictures.
The only other gamble is sticking with the manual gearbox. Mercedes drivers have, correctly, generally picked the auto in the past, because the German brand has been better at autos than manuals, but all the talk around last year's launch of the E-class was about how it was going to push for growth in share of manuals. Time will tell if I've made the right choice.
|Mercedes E250 CDI Avantgarde|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average consumption||36.4mpg|
|Model price range||£27,570-£73,855|
|C02 (tax) ||142g/km (19%)|
|BIK?@?20/40% per month||£103/£206|
|Why we’re running it||To see if E-class can |
take on Jag and BMW
|Positive||Long-range ability |
|Negative||Hope that economy |
improves with miles
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