Driving Notes

2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic

December 23, 2016

by Chris Wolski - Also by this author

Photo by Paul Clinton.
Photo by Paul Clinton.

The moment I sat in the 2017 E300 4Matic sedan, I knew I was behind the wheel of a quintessential executive vehicle. From the fit and finish to the the improved center console with its widescreen infotainment screen to the easy-to-read instrument cluster, executive was the only word that came to mind.

While exterior styling is often less of a priority for regular fleet vehicles, the E300's strong, clean lines, and its long bonnet, give it that Mercedes-Benz look, but, for me, there was an impressive solidity to the vehicle. It is the kind of vehicle that makes an impression — exactly the type of vehicle designed for use by a company executive. Just by looking at it, you know that you can put the E300 through its paces and not have to treat it as the proverbial fragile flower.

When I put the E300 in drive and took it out on the road, I knew I was driving something special. The 2017 E300 is a full-size sedan, but it handles like a much smaller vehicle, nimble and responsive in heavy traffic situations.

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to run the E300 in inclement weather, I may have put it through a slightly tougher set of challenges — holiday shopping Los Angeles. While the sedan displayed a powerful, aggressive stance on the highway thanks to its 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine, which produces 241 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the E300's inherent nimbleness made tight surface-street driving a breeze.

The parking assist feature helped a number of times in lining up the sedan in tight mall parking spaces. Of all the features on the E300, I’d have to rate the backup camera as among the best. The optics are excellent and the guidance grid is highly accurate, which was a great help when I had to parallel park on a busy street (a feat I rarely have to do in the parking-lot filled expanse of Los Angeles).

The engine is mated to a 4Matic all-wheel drive 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic transmission, which provided seamless shifting in every situation I put the sedan in. The E300 sedan also features stop-start technology, which was not as noticeable as it has been in earlier iterations of the technology I've tested.

Fuel mileage was particularly good. I averaged between 25 and 26 mpg for every trip I took, which was a mix of street and highway travel, so I exceeded the 24 mpg combined EPA rating on a regular basis.

The trunk was put to good use, and I had more than enough room. It’d more than serve the purposes of any busy executive whether he or she were transporting sales materials or loading up for a business or personal trip.

Photo by Paul Clinton.
Photo by Paul Clinton.

The interior styling is nice and comfortable. The infotainment system, for the most part, was intuitive, and the widescreen monitor is a nice touch that I hope becomes standard for other OEMs, since it makes it easier to read. The only issue I had with the infotainment system was the navigation, which wasn’t as intuitive as I would have hoped, but I expect that repeated use over several trips would have solved my lack of success in using the system.

As with any executive-level vehicle, it’s the little things that really can make the difference. And, for me, it was probably the smallest of these touches. My parking spot at my residence is a little tight, and having the ability to fold in the sideview mirrors with a touch of the button helped to guarantee that I had plenty of room in this tight situation. It’s super cool to be able to push a button and have the mirrors straighten out when you start driving.

The Mercedes-Benz E300 4MATIC sedan that the staff of Automotive Fleet test drove included a number of standard safety systems, including LED headlamps and taillamps, active brake assist, the PRE-SAFE Predictive Occupant-Protection System, Brake Assist System, Electronic Stability Program, Anti-Theft Alarm System. Optional equipment included the Premium 3 Package, which included such features as Parking Pilot, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist among other features.

Throughout my driving experience of the E300, I not only found it able to perform at every level, but was fun to drive to boot — the perfect combination for an executive vehicle.

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Chris works on Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Work Truck, and Green Fleet. He edits the Global Fleet Management eNewsletter.

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