2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Diesel 12-Month Review and Report

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CRUISING THE AUTOBAHN WITH THE MERCEDES-BENZ E350 BLUETEC

Simply put, the E350 is an autobahn cruiser, not a sports sedan.  That having been said, it has excellent handling, especially with the suspension set to “sport,” and it handles the twisties with a certain panache.

Where it trulyshines is long-distance driving, a market that the Stuttgart automaker knows well as it’s far more customary in the home market to drive than to take a plane or train.

The ride can only be described as solid and firm and the suspension does an excellent job of isolating passengers from harsh road surfaces and noise.  Refined describes it as well.  In wind and harsh weather conditions, it is a solid performer.  (The car will allow one to see what the weather is or will be on the Comand screen, thanks to SiriuxXM weather, although this feature only worked sporadically over the past year. Other markets get Internet access to weather information but this is only available in newer Mercedes models in the U.S.)

Steering is quick precise although there is little road feel (it falls between a BMW and a Lexus in the steering category), and the car feels smaller than it is from behind the wheel, which is an asset because it is fairly large.

In the twisties, the E350 never wavers, never wallows, and never hesitates.  It feels slower than its 0-60 mph 6.6 second rating but it overtakes traffic like lightning.  At speed, and by speed I mean anywhere from 180 km/h (112 mph) to 220 km/h (137 mph), it exudes poise and confidence.

BOTTOM LINE

The E350, with its lustrous Palladium Silver paint finish, is elegant simplicity.  It looks slightly different depending on the lighting but that is one of its charms.  Paired with beige leather seats, a combination that works surprisingly well, it continues to get compliments one year later.

The interior is very well laid out: everything from the Comand display to the large gauges is easy to read and controls, switches, and knobs are exactly where they are supposed to be.  Fit and finish are excellent as is the quality of the materials used in the cabin.

Our E350 BlueTec was one of the first out of the factory with a new sophisticated multifunction color display in the center of the dashboard and this provides everything from navigation instructions and arrows to safety alerts.

Finally, the active multicontour driver seat has great support and the side bolsters automatically increase lateral support when cornering – or in the event of an accident.

We’ve spent a year getting to know this car, and other cars have joined our long-term fleet, but it’s still the belle of the ball and very much in demand at The Diesel Driver.

2011 MERCEDES-BENZ E350 BLUETEC – THE DETAILS

2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec
Base price/price-as-tested $50,900 / $65.360
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 3.0/210 hp/turbocharged V-6
HP/Torque 210 hp/400 lb-ft
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Curb weight  (lbs) 3,825 (4273?)
Wheelbase  (inches) 113.1
Length x width x height  (inches) 191.7 x 75.9 x 57.7
0-60 mph (seconds) 6.6
City/Highway fuel economy (mpg) 21/32

 

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