2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Road Test Review

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Gliding along a highway at speed in a Mercedes-Benz automobile is a unique experience. Paragons of comfort, smoothness and control, there's a reason they cost more. And while all the cars that wear the three-pointed star truly come into their own at elevated speeds, this is particularly true for the turbo-diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec.

At startup and around town, a most un-Mercedes-like clatter raucously emerges from the engine compartment. It's so loud you might even think something is wrong with the engine, particularly when considered in comparison to the sophistication of the manufacturer's gasoline-fired powerplants. Around town, the sewing machine on steroids sound is readily transmitted through the firewall of the mid-size Benz. Eerily though, once you attain cruising speed on the highway, the sound drops away completely. On the freeway all you hear is the whisper of the slipstream lovingly caressing the slippery shape of the comely sedan.

And while that might be a high price for drivers who spend more time in urban traffic than on the highway, that cost does come with a rather significant benefit. In exchange for noisier operation around town, our test car returned an average fuel consumption of 9.1 L/100km overall. That includes driving in stop and go city traffic, accelerating briskly onto highways, and cruising between 110 and 130 km/h (70 and 80 mph) on the highway. Taken with the 89-litre capacity of the fuel tank, this gives the car an effective range of almost 1,000 km without stopping. You could drive it from Vancouver to Calgary and still have some fumes left in the tank.

The 3.5-litre turbo-diesel V6 makes 210 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 400 ft-lbs of torque from 1,800 to 2,400 rpm. And while 100 km/h takes a relatively leisurely 6.6 seconds from rest, the BlueTec E350 will easily pull to its electronically limited top speed of 110 km/h (130 mph). The car just keeps going faster and faster and faster-pulling like the proverbial freight train.

Plus, you'll enjoy all the attributes that accompany a Mercedes-Benz automobile. Our test car featured a 40-gig hard drive for entertainment, Bluetooth, Sat Radio, Dolby-Digital 5.1 Surround Audio, Voice Control, Keyless Go, GPS Nav, and all the other typical features you expect in a modern luxury car.

Around town, despite the muted clatter from the engine compartment, handling the sedan is a breeze. No manufacturer builds an easier car to operate in urban traffic than Mercedes-Benz. Need a U-Turn? You can pop one off in an unbelievably small space. In one situation, we went directly into a U-turn from a parking space and completed the maneuver in one pass-with more than half a lane to spare.

Solidly planted at highway speeds, the faster you go the more stable the Mercedes becomes. The sedan goes down the road so fluidly and gracefully, you almost expect to look up and see angels escorting you. When changes of direction are required, the E350 responds unhesitatingly, you always feel connected directly to the road. The driving position is excellent, the instrumentation is easily decipherable, and all the controls are intuitive in their operation. The car does absolutely nothing to induce fatigue or incite anxiety.

With fuel prices running north of a buck forty per litre, truly economical cars are going to find themselves in great demand once again. If you're looking to maximize your L/100KM without sacrificing your S-T-Y-L-E, the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec is a car you'd do well to consider. The Mercedes is economical to operate and outstanding both on the highway and around town. It also delivers superb comfort along with a broad array of the latest safety features. If you can put up with a bit of diesel clatter around town, this Benz might well be the car for you.

Pricing starts at $62,500.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Luxury Sedan, Mercedes-Benz, 2011, E350 BlueTec, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Mercedes-Benz

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page