Mercedes-Benz: 2014 E250 Special Edition review

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 E250 Special Edition review

It is becoming more and more common in the premium sedan market for manufacturers to offer a limited production model with extra specification and equipment for the same price as the normal standard car. BMW is a master of the limited edition model with umpteen thousand dollars of added value at no extra cost, and now Mercedes-Benz has jumped on the bandwagon.

2014-E 250-Special-Edition-CabinFor a limited time and while stocks last potential buyers of a E 250 sedan or an E 250 CDI turbo diesel sedan can nab a Special Edition model for $114,000 with more than $12,000 of additional features for no extra cost.

We spent a week with the two-litre turbocharged petrol E 250 sedan and came away impressed with the cars performance, quality, efficiency and value for money.

Spec

In addition to the standard key features inside the E 250 sedan such as the driving assistance package plus, Comand APS with reversing camera, the keyless go with hands free access, and the LED intelligent light system, customers receive as part of the special edition package:

  • Harmon Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system
  • Heated front seats
  • Illuminated front door sills
  • Instrument panel in Artico man made leather
  • Wood/leather steering wheel
  • 19-inch AMG 7 twin-spoke alloy wheels
  • Panoramic sliding sunroof
  • 360 degree camera.

Thats a fair amount of kit for no extra cost, although one could argue that heated seats ought to be standard fare in a six-figure sedan when many mass market models now offer such a feature as part of their standard specification.

The E 250 also offers active parking assistance for those folks who struggle with parallel parking, as well as the distronic plus active cruise control which will keep you at a safe preset distance from the vehicle in front of you and even steer the car through a corner as well as slow the car if necessary and even apply the brakes. If things do go pear shaped there are no less than 11 airbags to protect the occupants from harm.

Inside

2014-E 250-Special-Edition-NavigationThe E Class betrays it’s age in the Mercedes-Benz line-up by not having a free standing multimedia display screen sprouting from the dashboard as is found in the newer A, B, C, CLA, and GLA models, instead the theres a 17.8cm TFT screen nicely integrated into the dashboard, which I personally prefer.

When the E-Class underwent a major mid-life revamp for the 2014 model year, the interior received significant changes and upgrades, the most significant being the transmission lever being moved away from a traditional gear shift situated in the centre console between the driver and passenger to become a wand on the right hand side of the steering wheel, but there are still flappy paddles for those people who like to change gears manually.

At first it takes some adjustment to pushing the lever up or down to engage drive or reverse, and park is simply engaged by pushing a button on the end of it, but one quickly acclimatises.

Moving the gear lever to the steering wheel column created a greater space in the cabin for storage, cupholders, and also allowed Mercedes-Benz to mount the controller for the Comand multimedia system on the centre console.

The cabin as you’d expect is beautifully finished and detailed, with black high gloss ash wood trim, the leather upholstery you sit on is complemented by the instrument panel being finished in Artico man made leather, and the wood and leather steering wheel is just a tactile delight that completes the deal.

I’m not usually a great fan of sunroofs but the panoramic sliding glass unit in the E 250 Special Edition is huge and does afford a great view when open or closed and its very quick in operation.

The boot space is huge, a class-leading 540-litres, and theres a one third – two third folding split rear seat allowing longer items to be carried when required.

Power

2014-E 250-Special-Edition-front-1Once upon a time the Mercedes-Benz numbering system referred to the cubic capacity of an engine, an E 280 would have a 2.8-litre engine, an E 320 would have a 3.2-litre engine and so on, and so forth.

Now I’m not so sure how the convention works, because the E 250 tested had a 2-litre engine, and the diesel E 250 CDI is a 2.2-litre, as is the diesel engine in the E 300 BlueTec Hybrid, while the E 400 has a 3-litre petrol V6 turbocharged engine. The E 63 AMG has a 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 engine, so go figure?

2014-E250-Special-Edition rear 34However the humble 2-litre engine as we know it is no longer humble, the direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder unit in the E 250 has an output of 155kW of engine power and 350 Nm of torque which is transferred to the rear-wheels, through a 7-speed G-tronic automatic transmission.

Once upon a time those figures above would have been the preserve of a six-cylinder car, possibly even a V8, and this fully illustrates that the European move towards smaller capacity forced induction engines is paying dividends for efficiency and performance. Becoming greener isn’t quite the performance sacrifice that we might have expected a decade ago.

Regardless of whether we were driving around the city or on the motorway, we never once felt the E 250 engine lacked power, it was responsive and lithe in ECO and Normal modes, while Sport and Sport plus really turned the performance tap on fully.

Experience

Motorway cruising is absolutely the forte of the E 250 SE, not only is the cabin extremely comfortable and pleasant inside thanks to the heated seats, Harmon Kardon audio system, and the dual climate controlled air conditioning, but the car is so quiet, even engine and tyre noise are surprisingly muted over the worst of our New Zealand roads.

The 2-litre engine is barely ticking over 1400 rpm at 100km/h in seventh gear, yet is still producing peak torque which means there is instant power at the right foot when required and it won’t roll back down the gears should you approach a hill.

Economy is the cars strongest point. Mercedes-Benz claim 5.8L/100km on the combined cycle and we managed to get into the low 7s at one point during our week with the car.

The E 250 is a very capable and very comfortable executive express, and while it doesn’t set out to be a rip snorting sports sedan (thats the E 63 AMG) it still rides comfortably without loosing the crisp handling and steering that is desired of a premium European sedan.

Verdict

You’d quite possibly kick yourself if the opportunity to buy a car with such added value came up and you missed out. Getting $12,000 of additional equipment at no extra charge is a very good deal, and even better when it comes to trade the vehicle back, those options are often of even greater value in the secondhand market.

Illuminated door sills, seat heaters, a swankier steering wheel, and an upgraded audio system and alloy rims are a nice to have rather than a need to have, as are a number of the added value items in the E 250 Special Edition, but certainly the 360 degree camera is worth its’ weight in gold, especially when negotiating your way in and around constricted parking buildings and public spaces.

The E 250 SE offers the premium build quality, driving dynamics, and class leading active and passive safety features that we have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz and now thanks to new engine technology it also offers power with efficiency.

Price $114,000

Pros:

  • Comfortable, economical, good value,

Cons:

  • Limited availability
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