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[Test Drive] Mercedes-Benz’s new E-Class blends present with past

German automaker’s plug-in hybrid boasts all-electric range of 100 km

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Sept. 3, 2023 - 18:25

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz) Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz)

MUNICH, Germany -- Mercedes-Benz’s new E-Class has hit all the right notes, as the vehicle combines the decadeslong model’s traditional features and modern designs while putting the icing on the cake by applying the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

The Korea Herald got to check out the E-Class 300e 4Matic, an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid vehicle of the German automaker’s new E-Class model, in a media test drive in Munich ahead of the IAA Mobility motor show, arguably the largest in the world, Saturday.

As the new E-Class is the first fully changed model of the German automaker’s midsized luxury sedan since its 10th generation was launched in 2016, the overall vibe of the car felt brand new.

The front side of the car captivates the eyes as the grille is filled with Mercedes-Benz star logos with the large main logo at the center. It resembles the EQE’s front side, which also has many star logs surrounding the main star in the middle. The headlamps have curves on the bottom, giving a stronger feel to the car’s appearance.

The most dramatic change of the new E-Class exterior design was found on the backside of the car. Instead of using pedestrian designs for the rear lamps, Mercedes-Benz has turned to its three-pointed star logo once again. The four rear lights are also in the shape of the automaker’s logo. So with the main emblem in the middle of the backside right above the license plate, five Mercedes-Benz stars shine on the back of the E-Class.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz) Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz)

The PHEV showed its strength in using only electricity as the power source over the 90-kilometer test drive route. The vehicle was charged about 90 percent and the dashboard showed that the vehicle could run 84 kilometers on battery power only. According to Mercedes-Benz, the car is capable of driving over 100 kilometers on solely electricity on a full charge.

As long as the driver did not accelerate too quickly, the vehicle ran smoothly on electricity. The electric-only driving mode stayed engaged on the highway even as the car was reaching 120 kilometers per hour. Emptying the battery’s electricity to the very end, the vehicle could complete the 90-km course without using any gas.

The new active ambient lighting system, which can change the colors of the slim-lined lights inside the vehicle to visualize the sound of the music the driver plays, gave the feeling of a private club. The Burmester 4D surround sound system combined with Dolby Atmos took it a step further, maximizing the “clubbing in your car” experience. The glass screen in front of the passenger seat appeared black to the driver when video was playing to prevent the driver from being distracted.

South Korea is the biggest market for the German automaker’s E-Class. According to Mercedes-Benz Korea, about 200,000 units of its previous 10th generation model have been sold in the country since its release in 2016. The new E-Class is expected to hit the local market in the first half of 2024.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz) Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Mercedes-Benz)