2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Diesel Three Month Review and Report

Page 2 of 3
  • Share

DRIVING THE E350 BLUETEC

We took delivery of the 2011 Palladium Silver E350 BlueTec on August 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Kundencenter in Sindelfingen, Germany.  Its first drive was a 472 km (293 mile) drive to Maastricht in the Netherlands.  Fuel economy for the first drive was promising, 7.4 l/100 km (31.78 mpg) but it was to get even better.

On a 474 mile (295 mile) drive from New York City to Kennebunkport, Maine, the car used only 6.2 l/100 km (38 mpg) and its overall fuel economy on a 2508 km drive covering 10 states plus the District of Columbia over two weeks (35 hours of driving, the car’s computer told us) was 6.7 l/100 km (35.1 mpg).

Before departing on this drive, the first of several within a short period of time, I had to put one finishing touch on the Benz, a pair of black cast alloy Ital license plate frames from Altec Products.  I purchased my first pair nine years ago for my 2003 BMW 5 Series and every car I’ve driven regularly has had them too.

The E350 is an Autobahn cruiser that, while it handles the twisties with a certain aplomb, will not necessarily excite you.  It will, however, make long-distance driving a pleasure. The ride is as solid as one would expect from a large Mercedes sedan, and driver and passengers are isolated from the road, bumps, noise, and weather.  (You can, of course, see what the weather is or will be on the Comand screen, thanks to SiriuxXM weather. Other markets get Internet access but this is not yet available in the U.S.)  From the outside, there’s no question that it’s a diesel thanks to a pleasant rumble emanating from under the hood, but inside the cabin the engine is hardly audible.

The drive is solid and firm, but luxurious and refined come to mind as well. The steering is precise although there is little road feel, and the car feels smaller than it is from behind the wheel, which is a good thing because it is fairly large.

It enters curves with a quiet assurance, never hesitating, never wallowing, and it calmly cuts through corners without any fuss.  It may take its time accelerating but it exhibits supreme confidence while doing so.  This car was bred for driving on an Autobahn and I found it was in its element starting at 180 km/h (112) mph) and didn’t waver at 220 km/h (137 mph) for stretches at a time.

Put differently, while I love driving the E350, I would not necessarily want to take it to my next autocross.  I would however like it to be the car I drive when I cover 2500 km (1554 miles) and spend 35 hours in a car, which is precisely what TDD European Editor Christian Stampfer and I did once the car arrived in the U.S.

SPECIFYING THE E350 BLUETEC

We specified Palladium Silver for the Benz| exterior, the same color our short-term 2010 E350 came in.  It’s one of the most lustrous and elegant shades of silver I’ve seen; it’s luminescent and what I call a chameleon color as it gives the appearance of a slightly different shade under different lighting.

The E350 with the Sport Package gives the car an aggressive look. It’s a no-cost option that adds a lowered suspension, 17”, 5-spoke alloy wheels, a spoiler and body kit, LED running lamps, and bigger brakes, as well as Premium 2 Package, which includes hard-drive based navigation, a harman/kardon Logic 7 audio system, HD Radio, iPod connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, SiriusXM traffic and weather (integrated with navi and Comand), heated seats, a rear shade, a rear-view camera, bi-xenon headlights with Active Curve Illumination, Highbeam Assist, Keyless-Go (start-stop), and an electronic trunk closer.

In addition, the car has Parktronic with Parking Guidance, Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist.  The only option not ordered was NightView Assist.  An article looking at Mercedes’ safety features will be published separately.

Click here to continue to Page 3 – The E350 BlueTec’s Interior, the Bottom Line, and Virtual Drives

Pages: 1 2 3