Like its bookend siblings -- the compact C-Class and flagship S-Class -- the E-Class embraces the same curvaceous design language that brings it into line with the current family theme. With its redesign, this iconic sedan remains competitive, but Mercedes-Benz shifts the focus of the E-Class toward handling agility and fuel economy, with less emphasis on ride comfort and roominess. Unfortunately, it also adopts some of the least intuitive controls known in the car world.
The E350 is the volume leader of the E-Class line. Previous generations of the E-Class used a V6, but this version is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The lower cylinder count brings some sacrifice in outright acceleration, but car seldom suffers from any shortness of pace. Fuel economy gains are considerable, with the E350 attaining 24 mpg overall -- a commendable result for an all-wheel-drive sedan of this size.
Ride comfort has long been a Mercedes-Benz hallmark. And while the E350 imparts a feeling of solidity and cocoons its occupants, the ride isn't as cushy as in previous generations -- or as expected of this stately Swabian. The Sport package comes standard, and this lower, sportier E-Class is challenged by some sharp bumps. The Luxury package is a no-cost option.