KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Luxurious, prestigious and dynamic, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has firmly entrenched itself as the definitive mid-size luxury sedan and wagon. Available in rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts, and powered by a diverse engine lineup that's bookended by a high-mileage diesel engine and a pavement-punishing 507-horsepower AMG V8, the E-Class lineup gets cleaner, sportier and more powerful for 2008, to better compete in what has become one of the most competitive segments in the industry.
You'll Like This Car If...
Even though the 2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is more eager than ever to take the curvy back road once in awhile, it remains the category's easy choice for those that prefer making a more stately arrival.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If the status afforded by a luxury car isn't as important to you as the actual comfort, quality and amenities, you may be happier spending thousands less on one of the well-regarded entries from Infiniti, Lexus or Cadillac.
What's Significant About This Car?
Available on the E350 and E550 is a new AMG Sport Package which adds AMG front and rear aprons, 18-inch wheels, dual chrome exhaust and an AMG steering wheel with shift paddles.
Quiet, comfortable and dignified at highway speeds, Mercedes' established E-Class remains the quintessential old-money midsize sedan. However, with its powerful V6 and V8 engines coupled to the no-charge Sport Package option, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is also the sportiest yet. To be sure, we've never had as much fun in an E-Class (excepting all AMG models, of course) as we did in the Sport Package-equipped E350 and E550 sedansand on some tight, winding roads, no less. The seven-speed transmission is nearly transparent in its operation, and a quicker steering ratio provides a more responsive feel. Stop-and-go driving is noticeably smoother thanks to retirement of the grabby electrohydraulic brake system that plagued the E-Class from 2003 to 2006.
Mercedes' keyless entry and start system makes it possible to knock out all your Saturday morning errands without ever removing the key/transmitter from your pocket.
More than bigger wheels and dual exhaust outlets, the available no-charge Sport Package includes a lowered sport suspension that delivers notably livelier handling.
Inside the E-Class you'll find a tasteful mix of leather and wood, comfortable seats and straightforward controls placed within easy reach. Standard burl walnut wood trim and black gauges give way in Sport Package-equipped models to black bird's-eye maple trim, matte chrome highlights and white gauges. The standard equipment list was expanded last year to include a glass sunroof, six-disc CD changer and harman/kardon premium audio system. Wagon models feature a disappearing, rear-facing third-row seat.
At once sleek and elegant, we think the attractive design of the E-Class perfectly communicates its Teutonic luxury mannerisms. Changes made last year carry over for 2008 and include a moderately redesigned front end highlighted by a larger grille, plus new wheels, redesigned side mirrors and revised tail lights. Sport Package-equipped models are differentiated by black grille inserts, a lower ride height, dual exhaust outlets and a handful of other tasteful touches.
Notable Standard Equipment
Standard equipment highlights include a harman/kardon premium audio system, in-dash six-disc CD changer, memory front seats, sunroof and a full complement of safety features that includes eight airbags, electronic stability control and Mercedes' PRE-SAFE system that prepares for an impending accident by tightening the seat belts, adjusting the front seats and closing the windows and sunroof.
Notable Optional Equipment
Some of the more compelling options include two designo packages (Espresso and Graphite), a keyless entry and start system, heated and active-ventilated (cooling) front seats, front and rear parking sensors, panorama sunroof, electronic trunk closer (standard on the E63 AMG Wagon), navigation system, adaptive headlamps, AMG Sport Package, Bluetooth hands-free telephone connection, voice control and iPod integration.
Under the Hood
From the efficient BLUETEC diesel engine to the ferociously powerful 6.3-liter AMG V8, the E-Class' engine lineup is one of the most dynamic on the planet. All of the engines are mated to a manually-selectable seven-speed automatic transmission, except 4MATIC all-wheel-drive models, which get a five-speed automatic. The V8 models feature a sophisticated adjustable air suspension with adaptive dampers to combine a smooth highway ride with firm handling. In addition to a more aggressive suspension, the available Sport Package includes more powerful brakes.
3.0-liter V6 Diesel
210 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (Sedan), 16/22 (4MATIC Sedan) 16/21 (4MATIC Wagon)
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (Sedan), 13/19 (4MATIC Sedan)
507 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
465 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 (Sedan), 12/18 (Wagon)
E-Class pricing starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $52,000 for the E350 sedan, while the E320 BLUETEC adds another $1,000. At the far end of the E-Class spectrum a fully-loaded E63 AMG tops out at nearly $100,000. The V8-powered E550 starts at a little over $60,000 and can top $71,000 with every factory-installed option. We expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world selling prices close to these sticker prices, so be sure to check them before you buy. The E-Class qualifies as the priciest lineup in a category that includes the Lexus GS, Infiniti M, Acura RL, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, all of which we expect to match Mercedes' entry in terms of resale value performance.