First Drive: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300

Written by Lee Bailie on .

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Earlier this week, I attended a first drive event for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 sedan on behalf of Ignition and courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Canada.

The New E-Class sedan will eventually be available in V6 (E 400) and AMG variants (E 43), but for the purposes of this event, I drove the 4-cylinder turbo version (E 300), which just went on sale across Canada last month.

Moving forward, we’ll be publishing first drives of vehicles we get to sample on press preview events. They’ll be short, in the 300 to 500-word range, designed to give you, our readers, a taste of the vehicle along with some basic specs and some general driving impressions, along the lines of This Week’s Press Car.

We will endeavor to get First Drive posted online during or soon after the event, as time permits. Sometimes, as is the case here, the post may go up a day or two after the event concludes, but we’ll try to be as prompt as we can.

So with that out of the way, let’s get it started with the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300.

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OTTAWA, Ont. – The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300 is loaded with technology, so much so, in fact, that several articles could be written on that aspect of the car alone.

Given that First Drive is primarily focused on providing a snapshot of the car, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the many safety systems available on this car. There are a few worth mentioning, however.

But first things first.

The E 300 is available in Canada with one powertrain combination. A 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque is mated to a nine-speed (9G-Tronic) automatic transmission that powers all four wheels. As with most Mercedes offerings in Canada, 4MATIC is standard issue.

On the design front, the E 300 is available with either a Sport or Luxury design. The cars I drove in Ottawa were all of the Sport variety, so they had more of an AMG feel with a louvred grille, large air intakes rear chrome diffuser and five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Luxury design features a chrome-trimmed bumper, a larger chrome grille, stand-up Mercedes star hood ornament and 18-inch five-twin spoke alloys among other differences.

On the inside, the E 300 offers some of the luxury touches first introduced on the bigger S-Class, including a new user interface with touchpad control and massage seat functions.

Those features combined with standard Artico leather seating surfaces, 12.3-inch COMAND display screen and 14-way power adjustable front seats make the E 300 a very comfortable place to be.

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Okay- now for the safety kit. There’s a lot of it, so bear with me.

In addition to the various ‘assists’ available (crosswind, active brake, parking, lane keeping, etc.), the 300 can be equipped with Drive Pilot, which represents Mercedes latest step along the road to fully autonomous (self-driving) cars.

Drive Pilot is a suite of technology designed to combat distracted driving and to keep the E 300 on the road with steering, braking, lane keeping and distance keeping support.

Steering Pilot keeps the car centred in its lane and can steer through bends while Active Lane-change Assistant will help the guide the car into the adjacent lane once the turn signal has been engaged and the system detects the lane is clear.

Distance Pilot Distronic (active cruise control) works at speeds of 0 to 210 km/h to keep the E 300 at a constant speed and distance from the vehicle in front. It can also accelerate and brake the car, and can bring it to a complete stop if the system detects the driver is inattentive (i.e. hands off the steering wheel for a prolonged period of time), a feature known as Active Emergency Stop Assist.

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I tried the latter on an empty stretch of highway and, after a few prompts to put my hands back on the wheel, my tester braked itself to a complete stop.

It was quite impressive, as were the other Drive Pilot features. It is a bit of a strange experience to watch a car steer, brake and accelerate without human assistance, but the E 300 can do it – the future is already here.

Taken together, the E 300 makes for a very compelling package. The well-equipped testers I drove were comfortable, quiet, composed and wrapped in a pleasing design with loads of cutting-edge technology.

There’s much more to be said about it, and the other E-Class variants once they’re in market, but I’ll leave that for the feature-length article we’ll be running in the Winter 2016 edition of Ignition, which will be out later this fall.

SPECIFICATIONS – 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 300

BASE PRICE: $61,200
ENGINE:
2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder
HORSEPOWER:
241 hp @ 5,500 rpm
TORQUE:
273 lb-ft. @ 1,300 – 4,000 rpm
DRY WEIGHT:
1,765 kg
CONFIGURATION:
front engine, all-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (CITY / HWY. / COMB.):
10.8 / 8.1 / 9.5
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM):
48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES:
Audi A6, BMW M5, Lexus GS

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Photography by Lee Bailie

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