The Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes in three basic flavors, E300, E300 4MATIC and AMG E43. E300 models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 241 horsepower and a stout 273 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes claims that the sprint to 60 mph takes just 6.2 seconds in E300 guise, while the AMG E43 cuts that time down to 4.5 seconds. Power is sent to the rear-wheels in the E300 and AMG E43, but the E300 4MATIC gets Mercedes-Benz' all-wheel drive system, improving traction in tricky conditions. Both acceleration and fuel economy are aided by an advanced 9-speed automatic transmission, standard across the entire range. The transmission always seems to know what gear to be in, saving fuel on the highway while still offering immediate kickdown for passing.
Standard equipment on the E300 includes power front seats with a memory function, dual-zone automatic climate control, a keyless start system, a choice of 64 different ambient lighting colors, a 12.3-inch central display screen, a voice control system, Bluetooth audio streaming, dual USB ports, LED headlamps and taillamps, a crosswind assist system, rain sensing wipers and 18-inch wheels.
While the E300 offers a sumptuous interior, a flawless ride and fantastic handling in its standard guise, the option sheet offers some really good stuff for 2017. Mercedes has thrown its hat into the autonomous car ring and properly equipped, the mid-sized sedan will drive down the road nearly on its own, only requiring the driver to touch the steering wheel every 60 seconds to let the system know they're still awake. It's a masterpiece of a system, vastly improving driver comfort and ease of operation.
Other available options include a heads-up display system, an automatic parallel parking system, a Burmester 590 watt, 13 speaker stereo, wireless phone charging, active multi-contour massaging front seats with heating and ventilation, a heated steering wheel, Napa leather upholstery, an automatic trunk with a hands free feature, and keyless go. A panoramic sunroof is also optional along with several different interior trim options including black piano lacquer and magnolia wood trim.
While the E300 and E300 4MATIC are fast and competent, the AMG E43 is huge step up in performance. Rather than a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, the AMG E43 gets a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 making 396 horsepower. Handling on the AMG model is aided by air suspension which can adjust the ride height and dampening of the vehicle on the fly, changing the handling feel from luxury car to sport sedan at the push of a button. Inside, the AMG E43 gets exclusive performance readouts in the dashboard, a flat bottom steering wheel and luxurious, but sporty interior trim materials. 19-inch wheels come standard.