Mercedes-Benz E200 - the big easy
We’ve used this headline before with the E-Class, but it’s a good fit, even for the entry level E 200.
Like most things in life this has gone up in price; it used to be just under six figures, but now it’s $106,600. Then again, Lewis Hamilton doesn’t come cheap.
The big E has had a refresh, the sedan now wearing the AMG Line kit as standard, with the 19-inch alloys. The headlights, grille and front bumper mark out the visual changes up front while the bumper, boot lid and taillights do the job at the rear. Its interior is treated to the latest MBUX multimedia system with a 12.3-inch touchscreen. The steering wheel is now ‘digitalised’ with new ‘sensor mats’ on its curvy spokes which control the multimedia and active driver aids. While they look swish, these ‘capacitive touch panels’ don’t always work as well as the easier-to-use analog buttons of other models.
The E 200 comes with all the driving helpers, and these are amongst the best available, particularly the stop and go active cruise which is smooth on both the going and stopping. Merc’s once overly aggressive lane departure mitigation system, that uses the brakes in a way that quickly keeps you from straying, seems to have been revised so while it works in much the same way, it does so in a smoother, more polite manner.
Buyers shouldn’t be put off by having a mere 200 badge on the bootlid. Merc’s boosted 2.0-litre makes a handy 145kW with 320Nm delivered promptly, which is ably multiplied and served up by the nine-speed auto. Merc’s claim of 8.0L/100km as an average is close enough, this rig sitting on 9.1L/100km according to the long term average. And that’s okay given it’s a big car, and the reasonable turn of squirt the engine delivers. This goes as well as those 350s of old for even though the torque figure is less, the delivery is easier. The V6 is no more, the 300 now labeling the plug-in hybrid, which promises economy of 2.2L/100km, but it’s 40 grand dearer. And there are no diesels any more either.
Adding to the 200’s easy-going nature is the quick (two turns lock-to-lock) and lightweight steering while a handy turning circle and a top notch 360 degree camera ease parking duties. This has fixed-rate dampers but they have tricky valving to ensure a controlled but comfortable progress. It does set the E 15mm lower than standard, which adds cred but you’ll discover the bump stops over some speed humps, and watch steep driveway entrances too.
It’s a quiet cruiser this, the engine ticking over at 1500rpm in top at 100km/h, road noise nicely muted. We doubt the drive mode button gets touched in an E 200 but know that when Dynamic is activated, the powertrain response perks up noticeably. You don’t expect dazzling dynamics from the E 200 but it turns with decent vigour, and while there is roll to contend with, the suspension does mop up the bumps effectively.
Our only real beef with the E 200 is a lack of genuine leather trim, and a seat that is too firm, the way the Germans seem to like them. The rest of the cabin passes muster though, the rear seat space swell, the boot large enough, and it’s even accessed by a self opening and closing lid. As we said, everything is easy in the E.