Superlative luxury and wealth will always be associated with large Mercedes-Benz saloons, but in 2013, the truth is that the new E-Class saloon can be had for much less than their image might project.

By Alex Forrest

A new E-Class may lead untrained eyes to the assumption that the owner has spent well over $150,000 for the privilege of calling it their own. In reality, depending on the model, they could have one for little more than half that amount.

Mercedes launched their new E-Class in June, with the most important changes being the new range of highly efficient engines and the addition of a suite of new driver assistance safety technologies.

The entry level E-Class E200 costs $79,900 plus on-roads, and comes with a 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. Obviously, even this price isn’t for everyone, especially when for half that again, you can get a Holden VF Commodore that does the same basic job.

It’s the small touches though, which help explain the extra expense. For example, there’s an analogue clock on the centre console which looks like a luxury watch, and the exquisitely formed switchgear is beautifully precise in its movement.

The exterior front end styling follows that of Mercedes’ other recently released models and works well, but the rear end looks slightly less resolved than the more purposeful nose.

Although the price of the new E200 is the same as the equivalent superseded model, the new E200 carries substantially more equipment than its predecessor, including auto parking, blind spot monitoring and collision warning with autonomous braking.

The engine is slightly bigger – the previous one had a 1.8-litre turbo – but the new 2.0-litre actually uses less fuel. Power is the same at 135kW, but the torque of the 2.0-litre is up 30Nm to 300Nm, the latter arriving at a lowly 1,200rpm.

The E220 CDI is the entry level diesel, which at $82,400 has a 2.1-litre diesel making 125kW and 400Nm.

Further up the range, there’s also the E300 BlueTEC, which is a diesel/electric hybrid. It uses just 4.3L/100km, making it the most efficient large car on the Australian market.

Specifications

Price driveaway (entry level): $83,100
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 135kW @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,200rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 6.4L/100km
Kerb weight: 1,617kg
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 132g/km
This vehicle qualifies for RAC Less Emissions Mission rewards.