The E-Class is an eminently safe place in which to be and no other model in this segment can match its range of safety innovations. As well as dual stage front airbags and belt force limiters, there are front sidebags and windowbags and outer rear seat pre-tensioners. Neck-Pro head restraints help to reduce whiplash injuries.
PRE-SAFE, first pioneered in the S-Class, recognises potentially dangerous situations, its ‘reflexes’ preparing occupants and the car for a potential accident as a precaution, thus gaining vital seconds. So if braking reaches a critical level, or a skid appears to be imminent based on signals from the standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), the system will automatically tension the front seatbelts and start to close the windows.
Adaptive Brakes encompass a number of safety and convenience features in addition to Brake Assist and a Hill Holder function. If you were to suddenly lift your foot from the accelerator, for example, brake line pressure is automatically increased to bring the brake pads into light contact with the discs so they are ready to bite immediately. The system also recognises wet conditions through prolonged use of wipers and automatically applies the brakes very gently at regular intervals to clear moisture from the discs.
There’s also the luxury of a Hold feature which comes into its own in slow moving queues of traffic. If you briefly press the brake pedal a little further once the car has been brought to a halt, the brakes then hold the car in place irrespective of whether you lift your foot off the pedal.
And finally, severe braking will bring flashing brake lights into operation which have been demonstrated to elicit faster reactions in drivers following behind.
An agile, more satisfying driving experience is provided by the E-Class’s Direct Control package. This encompasses a number of chassis enhancements and includes a 10 per cent more direct steering ratio for instance, which means the car responds more readily while retaining the assured handling and ride stability that contributes to relaxed long distance cruising. More rigid spring link bearings in the four link front suspension more than double lateral rigidity, enhancing the E-Class’s neutral cornering characteristics. And the gearshift linkage is designed for a faster, more positive shift action.
As well as an automatic gearbox, other options include an automatically dimming rear view and driver’s mirror (£225); electrically adjustable folding and heated door mirrors (£230); heated front seats (£320); the Parktronic audible/visual front and rear parking system to avoid bumps and scrapes (£605); and 1/3:2/3 folding rear seats for greater loading flexibility (£340).
Despite its extensive features, the Executive’s P11D value of £28,300 and CO2 emissions of 167g/km (placing it in band E for a £165 road fund licence) mean a 22 per cent taxpayer is liable for £1432, and a 40 per cent taxpayer £2604, making it a very cost-effective entry into Mercedes E-Class ownership.
*Source Emmox Carcost. Based upon 36 months, 20000 miles pa, finance at four per cent.Published 9 August 2007