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  • Comfort, interior, class, efficiency, safety, transmission, engine
  • Would have to pick the E 250 diesel instead

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

The Mercedes-Benz E 250 is about as comfortable and cruisy as a luxury sedan can get.

Not many would believe it, but a small 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine powers this large luxury family sedan, producing 150kW and 310Nm. However, because it’s a German-engineered engine, power delivery and acceleration are equivalent to or supersede engines twice its capacity.

Here is the thing about owning a Mercedes-Benz: it’s not just another car. Despite the mass production of modern cars (this one included), the Mercs do have a special feel to them. Something we’ve come to expect from the company that invented the automobile.

From the outside the distinctive shape of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been growing on us since 2009 and as good things do, it’s gotten better with a few years under its belt.

Like the new BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, the E-Class is going for a subtle look of conservative elegance. Although it’s hard to beat the Jaguar XF in the looks department, the E-Class is a beautiful car in its own right.

Some find the front end a tad overdone but in the flesh it’s a good looker, particularly with the LED daytime running lamps. From the back it’s pretty much a case of absolute subtlety as Mercedes-Benz has gone for a moderately conservative rear design.

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

If you want to get technical about it, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class name has only been around since 1993 but its origins date back to the 1930s, which means the current model is now the 9th generation.

Through nine generations of continuous improvement the Germans have enhanced what is essentially a large family sedan into a comfortable, efficient and ultra-safe cruiser. Throughout its existence the E-Class has managed to maintain its reputation as a solid, well-built saloon. Simply opening and closing the doors of our Mercedes-Benz E250 test car was a pleasant experience.

Sit in the driver’s seat and you’ll quickly notice the interior is spacious and very refined. The rectangular-looking front seats provide ample support for long journeys without being too floaty. Soft-touch plastics and high quality trims are apparent throughout the cabin, so is the general ‘this-looks-expensive’ ambience.

Despite the general consensus that the options list is what makes a modern Merc, our Mercedes-Benz E 250 Avantgarde test car came with almost no options (bar a Vision Package and metallic paint). So for a manufacturer’s list price of $97,780, the E 250 is well priced against a BMW 528i ($99,990) and an Audi A6 2.8 FSI Quattro ($93,900).

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

Given it had no options it also lacked some basic features that we were expecting, such as electric seats and a reversing camera. There is something strange about a being in a brand new E-Class and having to manually adjust your seat. The Memory package is definitely a must tick.

Even so, one of the many reasons we admire Mercedes-Benz vehicles here at CarAdvice is the level of interior quality. While the BMW 5 Series is without doubt a sportier drive, the E-Class is just a nicer place to spend some time in and frankly, as much as we love the sportier feel of a 5 Series, unless it was a 535i or an BMW M5, the interior quality and cosy nature of the E-Class wins every time.

The rear seats are also very practical and as we found out, can easily fit two adults and a child without any issues. Given the average height of a German male is about 181cm and Australian blokes are on average 26mm shorter, there is plenty of head and leg room for front- and rear-seat passengers.

The mechanical changes to the upgraded Mercedes-Benz E-Class include the addition of a 7G-Tronic Plus transmission (replacing a five-speed) and a ‘DIRECT-SELECT’ gear lever located on the steering column (now available on four-cylinder models). This meant we spent the week changing between Drive, Park and Reverse by nudging a selector on the steering column.

Although this method of gear changes is nothing new (indeed, it’s relatively old-school), the actual workings of the gear lever are all transmitted electronically via a cable. Interestingly, it became the first car we’ve ever driven to have a steering column mounted gear lever but also to include gearshift paddles. It’s a great way to save interior space but with the added option of having full control via the paddles, if needed.

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

The standard COMAND system is pretty good but this one doesn’t have the internet-capability found in the new C-Class, not that you really need it. It does have full Bluetooth audio streaming (for music) and phone connectivity as well as a 6GB hard drive you can use to store a whole heap of music on. The optioned Vision pack adds a Harman/Kardon LOGIC 7 surround sound system, which for lack of better words, is insanely good. With extreme clarity and bass even at deafening volume, it’s one of the better sound systems we’ve heard in a sub-$300,000 car to date (definitely worth the money if you love your music).

As mentioned in our previous Mercedes-Benz reviews, the COMAND system is not as intuitive as BMW’s iDrive, meaning it can take a little getting used to. The satellite navigation system is also a generation behind that found in the 5 Series. Another feature we would like to see included in the E-Class is the very useful head-up display technology which projects speed and other information to the windscreen.

Behind the wheel it’s hard to overlook the prominent three-pointed star proudly broadcasting on the bonnet. Mercedes-Benz has a certain credibility and reputation that no amount of advertising can buy. There really is something unique about owning a Benz, unmatched by its German rivals, which is always a nice feeling when piloting one.

The E 250’s steering is best described as light. It can feel so cruisy that at times you might forget you’re actually connected to the front wheels. There is almost no feedback and turning-feel is more like an S-Class than a C-Class, which is a good thing for an E 250. If you want feedback, go for a 5 Series and if you want something in the middle, the Audi A6 is worth a look.

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

Although the E 250 is not a sports car, in any sort or way, the enthusiastic 1.8-litre engine did see us conquer some twisty roads with relative ease. The suspension is certainly best suited to normal driving but when push comes to shove the E 250 behaves much better than expected around tight corners and in sudden direction-change scenarios.

That’s not to say Mercedes has no sporty E-Class offerings, as an Mercedes-Benz E500 or Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG makes for compelling all-around awesome sports sedan.

Driving around town or being stuck in peak hour traffic is made all that more pleasant in an E 250 as hardly any road noise penetrates Merc’s sound-proofing system.

The new seven-speed automatic has helped bring fuel economy down to 7.6L/100km (officially) and after a whole week of driving (and we weren’t shy with the right foot), our E 250 managed a very commendable 7.8L/100km. Gear changes are generally smooth and unnoticeable.

While BMW is making use of an eight-speed auto (Audi and Merc sticking with seven-speed), the real question isn’t the number of gears, but whether to go for petrol or diesel. More precisely in this case, the choice between the E 250 CGI (tested here) and E 250 CDI.

The price increase of $3225 for the diesel is pretty reasonable and for that you get a 2.1-litre diesel with the same 150kW of power but a massive 500Nm of torque. Better still, fuel economy is rated at an unbelievably low 5.1L/100km. That’s 0.9L/100km less than the much-hyped and lighter Toyota Hybrid Camry and even less than a petrol Corolla.

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review

In our humble opinion, you’d be better off to pick the diesel for the extra torque, better efficiency and overall superior driving experience.

The majority of safety systems are standard across the E-Class range. Some highlights include the PRE-SAFE system which not only tightens the seatbelts right before an unavoidable accident, but can also automatically close windows, sunroofs, fill up the air cushions on the multicontour seats and even move the front seats to a safer position in the crucial moments before an accident (in order to minimise injury). Lets not forget the 11 airbags either! (front airbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for front and rear passengers, pelvisbag and full length windowbags for driver and front passenger and kneebag for driver).

This is only a brief sample of the safety technology you get when you buy a Mercedes. You could sell an E-Class on its safety merits alone, let alone the competence of the package as a whole.

Overall, the Mercedes-Benz E 250 is hard to beat if you’re looking for a comfortable, spacious, efficient and ultra-safe large family sedan. Its only real competition in that regard comes from the E 250 CDI, which for the slightly higher asking price, makes much more sense.

 


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MERCEDES-BENZ E250 BREAKDOWN

Mercedes-Benz E 250 Review
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  • MrDucati

    that is the only car i respect on the road.. apart from italian supersports cars

    • Dan

      There are heaps of those in Europe running around as taxis… bulk respect there mate ;)

      • T

        This is Australia though and there are not that many Merc’s driving around so his comment makes sense, unlike yours LOL

        • Dan

          This is Australia, and there are not that many Lada’s driving around either, so going by the sense and logic of your posts, we should have bulk respect for Lada’s too yeah? LOL

  • F1MotoGP

    I can not afford this Mercedes but I love it! I like big cars but not big fuel economy. It is unbelievable what they can do from a 1.8 liter engine. Excellent work.

    • FrugalOne

      This puts out 200HP, AlfaRomeo have a 1.8 coming out late next year puts a massive 300HP from same size 1.8

      Another FiatGroup benchmark engine

      • Bangel

        Better built than an alfa , with a much nicer interiors , they look good in dark colours .

      • Jake Williams

        The Mercedes won’t break down and the turbo won’t die because of the pressure placed on it.

        FiatGroup has only been setting the benchmark in unreliability, nothing else.

        • Ima Hogg

          My 159 has been faultless. I bought it back in 2009!

  • FrugalOne

    Goose neck boot hinges…

    FAIL

    • Tom R

      Agreed… that would upset me every time I opened the boot on my $100,000 Mercedes-Benz.

    • Dan

      My old AU Falcon ten years ago had gas struts! Fail indeed! lol

  • john

    Ahh frugal one, I agree with you, had these goosenecks been in a Toyota or a Korean made car the reviewer would have negged it but being a merc, no mention. In addition merc claims it’s a luxury car yet you pay heavily for options that should be standard such as sunroof, metallic paint etc. This is unlike how lexus treats it’s customers, the only options typically being what colour would you like it? It’s as if you flew qantas, a full service airline and then they charge you for video, food, luggage ie luxury travel but then treat treat you as if you a going in a low cost carrier. Further it is well known that car manufacturers tune their doors thunk. This is a reflection of sound mechanics and not solidity. Finally I have a few friends who have bought mercs recently including an e250cdi and experienced quality problems including engine compression issues at less than 40k km’s. Unacceptable for a 100k car. Until merc lift their quality game they will remain a company that trades on it’s old historical reputation rather than anything contemporary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1715760895 Charles Dean

    The interior quality and exucution and exterior aesthetic are inferior to that of the 6 and half yrs old Lexus GS.

    But since this Merc sells more then a 1000% more then the Lexus GS.. I say Kudos on Merc for their sucess!

    • Lucii Pooky

      Your right the GS is superior with its sloppy dynamics, yester-year engines and digital clock. Wether or not the new GS changes that is yet to be seen.

  • Benny

    I prefer the little column shift to the tradition console mounted ones. BMW shifters have no mechanical connection to the gearbox either yet they insist on using that huge awkward shifter in their cars.

  • Vibe

    You guys seem to test all your cars out near Springfield Lakes in Brisbane, why so? Nice review by the way.

  • JonnyBravo

    This car is worth 60k in US. Why are we always getting ripped off..

    • http://NSSAN James Cortez

      This car is not even 60 grand in the states. C63 is about 65K and even then you can bargain to have it a few grand below retail price. Yes Australians get ripped off, badly.

    • David

      They don’t have an E250 there. The E350 is the entry level model in the US.

    • F1MotoGP

      Yes you are right if I compare just prices but tax system is different, wages, distance to Europe, we are driving on the left hand side,ADR….etc. Volume in US is much Mercedes sold in Jul 2011 633% more cars in US than here. (USA 12446, E class 5114, C class 4554, M class 2778, Australia 1965 )

  • Chucky

    They don’t sell the E250 in the US. The lowest model they have is the E350 for about $50,000 while the same model here is $130,000.

    • F1MotoGP

      Not exactly. In AU model PARKTRONIC is standard US model is optional. I did not check the rest.

      • Tom

        Pretty sure you could option the Parktronic with the 70 grand you were saving. I would rather lose a lot of the crap these cars come with anyway.

        A more accurate comparison is the UK – cars are still much cheaper there even though it is RHD. It only costs a couple of grand to ship a car from Europe to Australia – probably less when you consider the quantities Mercedes is dealing with.

    • http://NSSAN James Cortez

      Guys that’s the point. Australians get rip off. Example: A Volvo S60T6 in the States is approx US $ 40K (fully loaded including destination Charge). In Australia is approx A$ 72 K (US $ 68K at todays exchange rate). Hence Australians pay 68/40 = 1.7 or 70% more.

      The E350 as you pointed out is 50K in the states and 130K in Australia tehrefore the ratio is 130/50 = 2.6 or 160% more.

      Conclusion: merc really rips you off. Boycott their product. If Volvo can still make profit at 70% price hike, so can Merc who sells bigger volume.

      ALL german cars (except VW) are way overpriced so if you like Germans buy Volkswagen (GTI, Passat etc, they are almost as good as the other germans and make more sense price wise).

    • F1MotoGP

      ..or if you look at Singapore new car prices you will say here Mercedes is cheap in Australia. E250 CGI is 255,888 SGD = $203,300 AUD. It is all relative. Just as an info the E350 is 315,900 SGD = $251,000 AUD. Now the question in which country you would live. I choose Australia!

      • http://NSSAN James Cortez

        compare Australia to canada! Similar GDP per capita,western country, similar population. Has nothing to do “which country you would live”, got it? We talk about car and nothing to do where you want to live!

  • http://Porsche MB

    Off to Europe next year & I have a CDI booked fior my hire car for 21 days yeah

    • Dan

      Meh, most E-class Mercs in Europe are Taxis, and rentals… At present you may feel like you’ll be special, but you’ll blend in and no one will pay any attention. It’s like hiring a Falcon in Australia…

    • john s

      Enjoy I had oen earlier this year for a week – really good. Got it up to 210kmh on the autobahn when no-one around. Only just started lifting off a bit so backed off but cruised at 170kmh quiet no probs. Great car.

  • Rodge

    If you do lots of short trips go for the petrol version as the diesel particulate filter will give you heaps of grief if they’re not given a good open road run at least once a week.

    New facelifted XF Jag is the “it car” in this sector and is in another league alltogether in terms of style and looks. My 2 cents.

  • GT

    For that money, I’d buy the new Lexus GS rather than this tiny 1.8L.

    • F1MotoGP

      If your combined fuel economy is less 7L/100km there is no LCT.

  • JP

    So who can explain why each of the Premium Germans outsells Lexus by around 3:1? (BMW, Mercedes, Audi)

    The fanboys on here rave over the Lexus range, and a couple even seem to like their styling.

    All of the Germans have more models & cover more segments, but there’s no reason that Lexus couldn’t expand their range. Why they haven’t is a mystery. Parent toyota seems to plug most market holes.

    I personally favour the Germans over any Lexus, & wouldn’t seriously consider buying one.
    However the fact remains:

    Germans are more expensive, less well equiped, & possibly dearer to service.

    I just don’t desire to own a Lexus.
    I wonder what reasons the others in this segment have for basically wanting a premium german over lexus at a ratio of 3:1?

  • runnaln

    In the UK this car is about 50-60k and taxes would be higher than Australia, Market Size is largely irrelevant, the biggest factor is those gullible enough to pay 2-3 times the overseas price for the perceived snob value for this German Taxi. Funny that the most gullible seem to be Accountants. Cars like Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Renault sell in smaller numbers, but Australia Premium is far less, so you cannot defend the undefendable. By any measure Australians are being ripped off to a massive degree. F1MotoGP it is truly stupid to try and defend this with PARKTRONIC being standard, we are talking about massive amounts of money.

    • F1MotoGP

      “Market Size is largely irrelevant”
      it is very important! Any new model coming out first goes where is the market size the biggest US and China! We will get the new model 1-2 years later. The company where I work we go by how many you order and we give discount from 10 to 30%.
      “Cars like Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Renault sell in smaller numbers, but Australia Premium is far less, so you cannot defend the undefendable”
      Of course price different is not as high. If the car made in Germany,Korea or Spain there is a wages difference and you comparing a Renault to Mercedes!!. Mercedes E250 basic model cost in Germany 49356 Euro = 69515 AUD.

      • F1MotoGP

        and forgot to add Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Renault because much cheaper less LCT.

    • http://NSSAN James Cortez

      Agree with you. F1MotoGP did not use healthy sense.

  • Jumbo

    So what you guys are saying about this car is it has no flaws?

    Throughout the review there was not one bad point about it except there was no electric seat.
    Surely the 5 Series is a better all around car with it’s superior drive and engines, Better iDrive system, Just as comfortable interior and better looks.

    Not saying I don’t like the Merc but I think there are more flaws to this car than the reviewer says. And yes I have driven one.

  • Showtime

    Runnaln, I’m an accountant and I drive a WRX and one of my co-workers drives an Alfa GT. I’m not sure where you got the gullible part from. I know roof tilers and tradies that have BMWs and Audis.

  • http://Porsche MB

    Rant and rave as much as you like about the price difference to car here and car overseas. You can’t import them unless you live overseas and the old car you can bring in don’t compare to current cars eg E30 M3 v E92 M3 (E30 M3 one of the best cars ever)

    The government should remove the LCT or increase it to $150K plus which is the true luxury car level.

    • Vinay

      Exactly. I don’t make a lot of money but I save and save because car’s are my passion

    • David

      Exactly. I don’t make a lot of money, I live in a small flat and save, save, save because car’s are my passion. It’s unbelievable that I get taxed again on what i choose to spend my limited money on. Just because you buy a 60k car doesn’t make you rich. Car’s happen to be one of the few things i spend my money on

  • Runnaln

    F1MotoGO, I assume this car would fall under the 75,000 LCT but even at 56,700, it should still have no LCT. I can assure you if the government allowed private import, the prices would drop very fast, this happened in UK, where you could purchase RHD from European dealers. Sorry for Accountant Line but I am sure many accountants drive the Mercs. Note GST in UK is 20%. F1MotoGO do you work for one of the Luxury car makers, otherwise you are being delusional how can you justify 50-170,000 dollar differences between AUS and US on E-Series, it is close to theft. The LCT line is oft pedalled by Manufacturers

  • http://www.northperthcarmechanics.com Troy O.

    What is the best car for off road?

    • nickdl

      Probably the E250CDI sedan with its smaller wheels and higher profile rubber, the weight of the 6 cylinder models wouldn’t help when driving through soft terrain. A diesel would be better for the amount of torque it has. I’m sure you could get a set of Coopers off-road tyres to fit it and some shocks and a bull bar wouldn’t be too hard to find. The rear overhang might make the departure angle a bit small and I’m not too sure if it has a locking rear diff. Also best to check with Mercedes on the wading depth before you go driving through any creeks. Good luck!

  • OGUZHAN

    MERHABA SİZE BİR SORUM OLACAK BENDEDE E250 CGI VAR AYNALARI KATLANIYOR MU ACABA?

  • Alex

    You cannot really compare overseas prices with what we pay for premium brands.

    Australia is a small market in comparison to other countries and Mercedes has to make it worth while doing business here. They could lower the price of their cars and they may sell more of them.. But that doesn’t mean that they will make more money!

  • BOB REDFORD

    …at some point hyundai will go nuts and build a 200kw/700nm 3litre diesel…put it in a i45 size sedan…give it awd…and a 8 spd auto…for the same price…

    dream on….

  • nickdl

    Well I agree with you that the diesel makes a lot more sense in a car like this. More torque and better economy are good, and luxury cars are generally so refined these days that you would be hard pressed to hear the difference between petrol and diesel models.

    However I would not be looking at the Merc if I were in the market for a car like this. Personally I’m not a fan of how the E-Class looks, and I haven’t heard too much good about the way they drive (except for the AMG). The diesel is outclassed by offerings from BMW, Audi and Jaguar in terms of performance and refinement. I think the XF 2.2 diesel is a much nicer car all-round, and while it isn’t as spacious, it’s far better value. The BMW is also a nicer looking car and the diesel is fantastic.

  • http://www.rideshunter.com Paul

    This car is amazing, I am a huge fan of it.
    Hope to buy one soon.
    Black leather interior is better for black Merc not for silver one, I think.

  • Steven

    “Given the average height of a German male is about 181cm and Australian blokes are on average 26mm shorter”

    This finally explains why most non European cars have really crap front seats and driving positions for taller drivers.

Mercedes-Benz E250 Specs

CDI AVANTGARDE : 2.1L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - 2D COUPE
Car Details
Make
MERCEDES-BENZ
Model
E250
Variant
CDI AVANTGARDE
Series
207 MY11
Year
2011
Body Type
2D COUPE
Seats
4
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.1L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
500Nm @  1600rpm
Max. Power
150kW @  4200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
88.5W/kg
Bore & Stroke
83x99mm
Compression Ratio
16.2
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
66
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1695
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1408mm
Length
4717mm
Width
1786mm
Ground Clearance
108mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
235/45 R17
Rear Tyres
235/45 R17
Wheel Base
2760
Front Track
1538
Rear Track
1544
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats with memory
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, PreSafe
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Heated Front Seats, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels
Driver
Cruise Control Intelligent/Active, Reversing Camera
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Package
AMG Styling Wheels & Body Pack
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft
Other
Service Interval
24 months /  25,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-18
Country of Origin
GERMANY