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.
Mercedes-Benz 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. Its tail lights also 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 much-needed panacea.
Today’s generation of road automobiles have essentially reached the upper limit of mechanical engineering excellence, so there is only so much that Mercedes-Benz can improve on the new E 200. It is the type of drive you know and love from the automaker, with excellent handling, impeccable cornering and a punchy 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that delivers power precisely when you need it.
The usual electronic accoutrements are also there: a voice-activated and -controlled infotainment system, active steering, blind spot and parking assists and the other bells and whistles that are now mostly standard in continental rides.
Now, Mercedes Benz is looking even further ahead and focusing on something it calls “ride wellness”. Similar to society’s current focus on mental health and well-being, ride wellness is the idea that the driver needs to be at his or her optimal best to enjoy the drive.
The E 200 has energising seat kinetics that deliver minute movements to your seat and cushion to benefit your posture. If you’re hunched over the wheel or slouching to one side a la Jay Chou’s character 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 lately or have been suffering from poor sleep, your Garmin smartwatch will communicate this information to your vehicle. From there, your E 200 will change musical and lighting modes, and even start the massage function in your seat, to optimise your current mood.
The possibilities are endless with ride wellness, especially if you envision your car integrating with your other smart devices or even home. Imagine coming back to a clean floor because you activated your robot vacuum from your car.
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The E 200 comes in three variants – Avantgarde ($271,888 and pictured in the opening photo), Exclusive ($280,888) and AMG Line ($290,888).