E-Class loads up on safety features


PORTLAND, ORE. – That didn’t take long.

Fresh on the heels of the new flagship S-Class that hit the market brimming with high-tech safety features and cutting-edge driving systems, the trickledown effect for some of that digital wizardry has found its way to the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

This midlife refresh with a staggered reveal throughout 2013 has seen the automaker add the BAS Plus with cross-traffic assist, pre-safe brake with pedestrian detection and distronic plus with steering assist systems (all under the Intelligent Drive banner) in the hopes of adding more volume to an already top performer.

The big news for Canadian dealers sits not just with the safety options. New for 2014 is the addition of the E 250 BlueTEC 4Matic priced at $57,800. And though its 2.1 L Biturbo diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces plenty of torque and horsepower, the real story comes in its fuel economy. The BlueTEC engine boasts a 6.1 L/100 km rating – a number the automaker says makes it the mot fuel efficient full-size AWD sedan in Canada.

Christopher Goczan, national product manager for Mercedes-Benz Canada, noted the rating puts it ahead of luxury competitors like the Audi A7 (7.1 L /100 km) and BMW 528i xDrive (7.7 L /100 km), and lower-priced models like the Chrysler 300 AWD (9.6 L/100 km) and Ford Taurus AWD (9.8 L/100 km).

“We want to keep the E-Class lineup fresh and highly desirable and the time is right for a fuel-efficiency leader like the E250 BlueTEC 4Matic,” he said.

“As many of our customers trade their cars every three to four years, we try to generally pursue a strategy of freshening our models mid-cycle to keep it interesting for the numerous loyal buyers who might have purchased the same previous model.”

When asked about the expected take rate for the new diesel sedan, Mercedes-Benz reps said they have a stringent policy not to provide any kind of forecast numbers. That aside, the take rate for the new E-Class diesel most likely won't be as high what is seen on its SUVs, which has hovered between 75 to 85 per cent for several years.

“This is a new segment for an AWD diesel entry, but we expect strong demand,” Goczan said, adding the sedan is definitely the volume leader option as the others will depend on things like seasonality, location and production allocation.