E-Class boasts top-level autonomous technology


The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan comes to market with an extraordinary array of autonomous features designed to relieve the stress of highway driving as well as improve safety in general.

Further, the 2017 E-Class’ new turbocharged four-cylinder engine improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions while keeping its performance potential intact. Even better, the new interior design is more elegant, employs upgraded materials and is more comfortable.

A 12.3-inch instrumentation screen is standard. If you opt for all-glass instruments, you’ll get two 12.3-inch screens side by side. The rounded dash treatment radiates luxury, while the flowing center console places all key controls within easy reach of the driver.

In an effort to keep the driver’s hands on the steering wheel as much as possible, Mercedes has added touch-sensitive redundant controls for all comfort and convenience features. Meanwhile, the handsomely redesigned seats — offered in both leather and M-B Tex faux leather — are sculpted to mimic the musculature of your body. They also offer 14 air chambers and two different massage settings to reduce the potential for fatigue.

Powering the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 variant we tested is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The powerplant has a nice sound and moves the solid four-door adequately, if not exactly with authority. Mercedes claims 241 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission and rear drive are standard; all-wheel drive is available as an option. Driving modes are adjustable for sport, comfort or economical operation. Fuel economy averages 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Larger and lighter, the 2017 E300 is solid on the highway and reasonably agile, but we’ll stop short of declaring it engaging to drive. Don’t get it twisted, now: The new E-Class is exceptionally competent, it just doesn’t set the soul on fire. This car is best suited for wafting graciously around town or covering long distances on the highway.

When it comes to tech, nothing on the road comes close to the available capabilities of the 2017 Mercedes E-Class. The car takes smart cruise control into a whole new realm. In addition to matching the flow of traffic (including stopping and restarting in concert with the cars ahead of you), it will change lanes automatically when you activate the turn signal if the lane you’re asking for is clear.

With long-, short- and mid-range radar as well as a stereoscopic camera system, this is the closest thing to a prescient automobile ever offered. If it senses an impending side impact, the appropriate side bolster will inflate to move passengers away from the threat to reduce the severity of potential injuries. Further, when it senses that an impact is about to occur, the car will activate a pink-noise generator to protect your hearing, too.

With all of these features, the new Mercedes E-Class is but one or two steps removed from fully autonomous capability. And frankly, when the time comes, with a few key software adjustments, it will be there.