An increasing number of diesel passenger vehicles have been trickling down to U.S. buyers in recent years. Well, that trickle is slowly becoming an all-out wave, and the German brands are riding on top of it. The latest splash on the scene is a 2.1-liter turbo diesel I4 from Mercedes-Benz. It totally transformed their GLK crossover. Now let’s see what it does to their mainstay car, the E-Class sedan.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is not all-new for 2014, but it has been updated inside and out, with new powertrain options; our favorite being the new 2.1-liter I4 Turbo Diesel in this E250 BlueTEC. It may be down 2-cylinders from the previous “E” V6 oil burner, but it gains optional all-wheel-drive and power is not far off at 195-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque.
On the road, some of our testers did find it a bit noisier than when we sampled the same engine in the GLK, but it’s still livable; and we think it makes what was already a remarkable car, that much more so.
As are Government Fuel Economy Ratings at 27–City, 42-Highway, and 32-Combined, for 4MATIC equipped cars such as our tester, which also featured auto stop/start. But unlike previous turbo-diesels, we came up a little short of the Combined number, averaging 30.8 miles-per-gallon. You can do a little better if you stick with rear wheel drive.
The Energy Impact Score comes in at 11.9-barrels of oil burned annually with CO2 emissions of 5.2-tons.
As for track performance, 0 to 60 in a just fine 7.2-seconds. That’s slightly faster than the GLK BlueTEC. The quarter-mile pass takes a respectable 15.5-seconds at 88 miles-per-hour. The 7-speed automatic transmission delivered smooth, quick, and consistent shifts throughout the trip down the strip. When tackling our cones, the E250 felt nice and tight with only minor understeer, while the steering itself was quick, but with a slightly rubbery feel.
4MATIC all-wheel-drive works seamlessly, while the added sport handling package with lowered suspension and stickier tires, kept us very well planted. No complaints about the braking package either, with only minor fading and stops that averaged a short 124-feet from 60.
Above average brakes are just one of the many safety features available on the new E-class; the newest being Active Lane Keeping Assist from the S-class, which applies selective braking to keep you between the lines. As those lines are recognized by a new Stereo Multi-Purpose camera mounted in the windshield.
In typical Mercedes fashion the interior environment is very well done. There’s not the extravagance that one might expect, just an incredibly classy design with the expected high quality of its class. Even with firm bottoms, seats are very comfortable, and we felt very at home with the COMAND system, though we sure would like a separate radio tuning knob.
The exterior gets some tending to of course, with the most noticeable change being the new headlights that now combine the dual lights behind a single lens.
The overall look is still rich but there is an increasing amount of aggressiveness entering the design. Like the C-class, you now have your choice of Luxury or Sport front ends, and on this “front” we have no problem breaking with Mercedes tradition as we much prefer the star in the grille and not mounted on the hood.
Ride quality is very German, which means you feel just about every ripple in the road, without ever being harsh. That’s just fine by us, but make sure you’re prepared for that before checking the sport package box.
As for pricing, the E250 BlueTEC follows the recent Benz trend of being the new base model, starting at $52,325. That’s a great strategy if you actually want people to buy diesels.
And that’s reason enough for us to like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class even more than we already did. But the 2014 E250 BlueTEC offers much more than that. There’s a whole new level of safety and a great ride and handling package to go along with the already stellar interior. Furthermore, it’s proof that you don’t have to spend huge bucks to get Mercedes-Benz motoring at its finest.
Engine: 2.1-liter I4 Turbo Diesel
Torque: 369 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 27 mpg city/ 42 mpg highway
1/4 mile: 7.2 seconds
EPA: 15.5 seconds @88 mph
Energy Impact: 11.9 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr