Accounting for almost 35% of Mercedes-Benz sales in India since its debut, the E-Class has been the bread-and-butter model for the brand. And with the kind of numbers it brings in for the Stuttgart-based carmaker, they needed the 5th generation E-Class to be absolutely stellar – and that’s exactly what they’ve managed to achieve by launching the long wheelbase version in India.
Now, more often than not, the owner of an E-Class would find him or herself in the rear seat rather than the driver’s chair, and so Mercedes-Benz India had the foresight and gumption to develop the right-hand drive version of the long-wheelbase version of the E-Class specifically for the Indian market. And with a wheelbase of more than 3 metres, as well as 34-degree reclining rear seats, oodles of leg and knee room, and cushy pillows in the rear headrests, it makes the E the most comfortable car in its class – by a considerable margin! A perfect score in the comfort and space criteria doesn’t quite come as a surprise then.
The new 2.0-litre diesel mill managed to impress us too. The new engine is noticeably more refined than the one it replaces, with NVH levels being very well contained. Although the E220d wasn’t the fastest car in its class at the BIC this year, it was clearly the most driver focussed E-Class that we’ve driven in a long time.
Unlike the E350d, this lower-spec E220d comes fitted with steel springs, and yet it’s ability to absorb road undulations is impressive. The driving experience may not be quite as dynamic as with the new BMW 5 Series, but the E-Class is certainly a Merc that you can enjoy being behind the wheel of – if you’re willing to actually forgo the palatial rear seat that is. And while the new E isn’t the fastest car on the track, it manages to find just the right balance between driving pleasure and rear-seat comfort. But, really, its the rear-seat comfort that propels this E-Class into a different league. It almost makes you question the wisdom of upgrading to Merc’s flagship – the S-Class. So, if it’s road presence and rear seat comfort you’re after, look no further than the brand new long-wheelbase E-Class.