The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is arguably the gold standard for luxury midsized sedans. Its long time rivalry with the BMW 5-series effectively defined the segment, though the E-Class has always been the more prestigious option. Sitting in even this 2022 Mercedes-Benz E 350 4MATIC sedan gives the driver a sense of success, the feeling of having made it.
Mercedes now offers the E-Class in four trims, starting with the entry-level E 350 tested here. Above it sit the E 450, the AMG E 53, and fire-breathing E 63. The fifth-generation E-Class has made some significant changes in terms of powertrain options. Gone are the buttery smooth V8s, and they’ve been replaced with new inline six-cylinder engines with mild hybrid setups for the E 450 and E 53, with varied levels of tuning.
The E 350 is the only model offered with an inline four-cylinder engine, up to compete with the likes of the BMW 530i, Audi A6 and Volvo S90 in entry-level forms. Without a doubt, the E 350 will remain the volume seller of the lineup but it will be interesting to see how this generation stacks up to its past, as well as how the use of this four-cylinder engine suits its character. It’s still been selling like hotcakes since the implementation of this engine in 2017, so buyers are obviously still satisfied.
The E-Class’ design still reflects its core identity as an executive luxury sedan. It looks tailored and modern with timeless design. The E 350 takes design cues from its bigger brother, the S-Class, with more athletic proportions such as a longer hood and shorter trunk. The AMG sport grille and bumper design with diamond blocks not only look good but helps aerodynamically. The LED lamps accentuate the modern motif. It’s a fine balance of fluid lines and strong design features which creates a sophisticated and luxurious presence signature to the E 350.
The craftsmanship of the interior can be felt and seen immediately. The leather is hand fitted to the supportive seats. With perforated leather and stitched designs the interior just feels special, though the E 350 has Artico synthetic leather standard; a step up to real hide will cost $1,990. Five types of wood are available at no cost; buyers can outfit their E 350 interior to any combination. The Neva Grey equipped here looks nice and airy; combine it with the giant sunroof and ambient lighting and the E 350 turns into a mobile sanctuary under the starry skies.
The 2021 E class is loaded with innovative technology housed by the MBUX infotainment system. You can talk to it like your smart devices simply by saying “Hey, Mercedes”. Tell the E class you are cold and it will adjust the temperature for you, or be taken to the nearest café by saying you need a coffee. In addition to talking with your Mercedes, there are also various touch sensitive controls to interact with the car. There is a touchpad in the central console, thumb-pads on both the left and right spoke of the wheel, and finally the 12.3 inch display is touch sensitive.
Safety features are available as well to keep drivers relaxed and stress free. Everything from blind spot assist to pre-crash hearing protection is standard. Adaptive cruise with lane keep assist is also taken up a notch, with the E-Class helping you change lanes with a tap of the signal stalk. Adaptive cruise can manage stop and go traffic and even slow down for an off ramp. It’s a breath of fresh air to see these once high tech options given some new life after become commonplace.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz E 350 4MATIC keeps those who care to drive for themselves happy as well. It not only rides superbly but also handles with agility and athleticism. The steering is nicely weighted but on the lighter side for relaxed driving. Somehow it never feels disconnected though – the car’s road manners are direct and responsive. Highway cruising is one of the things the E 350 does best. It tracks straight with confidence thanks to its excellent steering.
The perfectly balanced suspension tuning means the E 350 4MATIC soaks up bumps without floating about. There is a tad bit of harshness in city drives, but that is more likely due to the low profile tires rather than suspension tuning. 4MATIC all wheel drive also plays a huge role in keeping the E-Class stable and confident, a feature that has almost become a prerequisite for all cars in the Canadian market. It’s standard fare on all E-Class models as well, providing buyers with an enthusiastic, confident and safe driving experience.
As previously mentioned, this E 350 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It produces 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque between 1,800 and 4,000RPM. It’s more than sufficient in moving the E-Class along. Like in most turbocharged four-cylinders, there is an abundance of torque available right down low in the power band and consistent throughout, for excellent acceleration in all conditions. The engine actually feels surprisingly powerful on the highway with plenty of passing power thanks to the nine-speed automatic gearbox knowing exactly what to do at all times.
0-100km/h is completed in an impressive 6.1 seconds. The four-cylinder engine is smooth by today’s standards, however still lacks the total refinement of a six or eight-cylinder unit. A coarseness can be felt under acceleration, as well as the very obvious gruff sound. There was noticeable turbo lag and delayed response at times. However, with fuel consumption ratings of 10.7L/100km city and 7.8L/100km highway, the powerplant fulfills its true purpose.
Honestly, such complaints will only come from car enthusiasts who care about the minute details of the driving experience. Most E 350 buyers will not look past its badge, and buy it anyway, because it is fundamentally a great car. With pricing starting at $65,700, our fully loaded tester at $79,640 is still extremely reasonable. The E 350’s main rival is still the BMW 530i starting at $63,500, and similarly priced when optioned up.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz E 350 4MATIC continues to define the segment as one of the best luxury sedans that truly does it all. It has road presence, pampers the driver with luxuries and still has excellent driving dynamics. It’s one of the best cars on the market for those who want to see their success materialized and reward themselves for years of hard work. Buyers who really want the full E-Class experience are recommended to try the E 450 with its six-cylinder engine that comes highly recommended by us.