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Mercedes-Benz E280 CDI Elegance (2007)
The ‘E’ in E Class used to stand for excellence. This compelling model from the German car-making giant was once the stuff of legend.
But decisions on cost-cutting and the pursuit of challenging new technology affected quality to such an extent, the company was forced to promise to lift its standards.
The latest E gives mixed messages on build. The paint and panels are exemplary and the quality of the interior looks much better, however a rattling dash and crackling radio in our test car did not inspire confidence.
Much of the package is only subtly changed, which means safety is still a strong point. Refinement, even with a diesel engine, is a byword, and the dynamic abilities of this vehicle never fail to surprise.
Only a slight lessening of its impeccable ride quality points to a new suspension tune. The steering is now more direct and rewarding, while E still grips well and offers minimal body roll.
The brakes also work better and, with priming, hill-holder and dry-wipe functions, the sedan was exceptional in emergency tests.
That diesel is a delight, with a wide torque band and the ability to launch meaningfully from as low as 1300 rpm. The seven-speed box blurs the gear changes with style and keeps the car close to peak outputs.
Also impressive is that it weighs around 1715 kilograms, yet can use fuel like a small car.
The E’s ergonomics are simple and effective. Practicality is a plus too, with a full-size spare wheel and other thoughtful touches.
Passenger room is good, oddments storage space is not bad and the boot is big.
The front seats are still firmer and flatter than some rivals, while the centre rear spot is typically hard and uncomfortable.
On the downside, its security levels could do with a kick along, while the diesel sedan misses out on some of the goodies coveted by luxury buyers.
The restyled E is sharper to drive, yet retains Benz’s trademark levels of comfort. It also looks to have turned the corner on quality. The old E can rest in peace.
Ride, handling, refinement, economy
Standard equipment, security
||E280 CDI Elegance
||Large Over $60,000
|Price when new
|Current price range
$ - $
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||3.0-litre, V6, turbo-diesel
||140 kW @ 4000 rpm
||440 Nm @ 1400-3200 rpm
|Acceleration to 100 km/h
|Braking from 80 km/h
||7.5 litres/100 km
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.