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#2

in 2009 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $17,100 - $23,305
Original MSRP: $53,200 - $63,200
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Mercedes Benz E-Class is available with four different engines. They range in performance from relatively quick to nearly as fast as an exotic sports car. Handling is more than competent for a large sedan, but less athletic than a few rivals. Some luxury cars are tuned for sporty driving. Some for comfort. Mercedes' big car strikes a nice balance, but doesn't master either style.

  • "Although power and handling are both adequate, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class doesn't seem to have the balance and tossability of the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF." -- Edmunds
  • "Quiet, comfortable and dignified at highway speeds...However, with its powerful V6 and V8 engines coupled to the no-charge Sport Package option, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is also the sportiest yet." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • In the E320 Bluetec, "Perhaps my favorite aspect of all this is that while I'm getting more than 30 mpg, I'm giving up absolutely nothing. The E-Class' excellent ride and nimble handling remain." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "All of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars are enjoyable to drive. Smooth, serene and quiet are the dominant impressions at the wheel of any E-Class, unless you have the accelerator floored." -- New Car Test Drive

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in so many powertrain configurations that automotive writers have barely tested them all. Even in its most basic form, it's a powerful car -- the base 3.5-liter V6 in the E350 makes 268 horsepower. But optional upgrades include a 5.5-liter V8 (in E550 models) making 382 hp, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 (in the E320 Bluetech) making only 210 hp but a slam-you-in-the-seat 400 pound-feet of torque, and even a 6.2-liter V8 (in the E63 AMG) making a Ferrari-like 507 hp. Rear-wheel-drive models have a seven-speed automatic transmission, while 4Matic AWD editions have only a five-speed. 

EPA estimates vary widely depending on powertrain options, with the efficient diesel versions topping the list at 23/32 mpg, and the E63 managing only 12/19 mpg. An important note regarding Bluetec diesel models: They have a separate, seven-gallon urea tank which must be refilled every 15,000 miles or the car will not start. Mercedes dealers sell the solution for about $4 per gallon.

  • "The E350's 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 is a willing servant capable of delivering an impressive show of force when prodded with a heavy foot. The seven-speed automatic transmission is standard with rear-wheel drive and is an ultra-wide-ratio design to intensify off-the-mark response and mid-range passing prowess." -- Forbes
  • The base E350's V6 is "a fantastic engine, smooth, quiet and very powerful. I didn't see how things could get any better - until I drove the E550's new 5.5 liter V8. It puts out an amazing 382 hp, but you'd never know it in day-to-day driving. Most cars with this kind of power are always trying to get away from you, but the E550 is docile as can be." -- About.com
  • "Aside from the powerful E63 AMG, the E320 Bluetec might just be the best bet of the bunch, as it offers acceleration times similar to its gasoline E350 counterpart, but with much better fuel economy and lots of torque, both thanks to the diesel engine." -- Edmunds
  • "The seven-speed transmission is nearly transparent in its operation, and a quicker steering ratio provides a more responsive feel." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The E-Class is a large, heavy sedan. But it handles nimbly, according to the automotive press. Many say it trails the BMW 5-Series in the corners, but it has little to be ashamed of. An optional sport suspension package is available. Some say the brake pedal feels too soft, others too firm -- you may need to drive the E-Class to see whether you have confidence in its brakes.

  • "Its straight-line performance is respectable, but when pushed hard in the corners, the E-Class displays noticeable body roll and the brake pedal's soft feel doesn't inspire confidence. As such, the E-Class is best suited for cruising city streets or taking long road trips." -- Edmunds
  • "All E-Class models handle with grippy assurance and modest body lean. Steering feel is accurate, and straight-line stability is excellent. However, they're not as nimble as rival 5-Series BMWs, and some testers find them slightly ponderous in fast corners. Powerful brakes deliver short stops." -- Consumer Guide
  • "All of the E-Class cars corner responsively and provide a smooth, if slightly firm, ride, a balance we like in luxury sedans." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The steering was wonderful on windy roads, but straight-line freeway driving required constant tiny corrections." -- About.com
  • "Our test car had the standard tuning of its four-link front, five-link rear suspension, not the optional sports tuning. This provided the smooth, comfortable ride expected of a luxury sedan. But when asked to perform, it did well." -- CNET

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