Seventy-four years – that’s how long Mercedes-Benz has been shipping its E-Class vehicles all over the world. To date, it has sold over 14 million in different forms, making the E-Class the most popular model in the German carmaker’s stable. It recently unveiled the 10th and newest generation of the E 200. The front grille has shed its weight and the front headlights have slimmed down. Even the tail lights went through a similar transformation.
It appears business luxury is now about elegance and understatement, and in a world where ostentation is the order of the day, Mercedes-Benz’s movement in the opposite direction is a welcome change.
Today’s generation of road automobiles have essentially reached the upper limit of mechanical engineering excellence, so there is only so much Mercedes-Benz can improve on with the new E 200. It is the type of drive from the automaker that one knows and loves, thanks to excellent handling, impeccable cornering and a punchy 2.0-litre turbocharged engine delivering power precisely when you need it.
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The usual electronic accoutrements – a voice-activated and -controlled infotainment system, active steering, blind- spot and parking assists and other bells and whistles – that are now mostly standard in continental rides are also there.
But what most don’t have is Mercedes- Benz’s drive to accelerate even further ahead. The automaker is now focusing on a concept it calls ride wellness. Similar to mental health and well-being, the idea is that the driver needs to be at his or her optimal best to enjoy the ride.
The E 200 has energising seat kinetics that deliver minute movements to benefit posture. If you’re hunched over the wheel or slouching to one side a la Jay Chou’s character Takumi Fujiwara in Initial D, the car will subtly tweak the seat configuration.
Mercedes-Benz has also collaborated with Garmin to integrate the latter’s wearables into the car. If you’ve been feeling stressed or have been suffering from poor sleep, the Garmin smartwatch will communicate this information to your vehicle. From there, the E 200 will change musical and lighting modes and even start the massage function in your seat to ease any tension and put you in a better mood.
With ride wellness, the possibilities are endless, especially if you envision the E 200 integrating with other smart devices or even your home. Imagine coming back to a clean floor after activating the robot vacuum from the car.
The E 200 comes in three variants: Avantgarde ($271,888), Exclusive ($280,888) and AMG Line ($290,888).
E 200 EXCLUSIVE
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder
0-100 KPH: 7.5s
TOP SPEED: 240kph