Mercedes-Benz E200 Exclusive is akin to driving a piece of history as the E-Class roots can be traced all the way back to the 1940s
There are a handful of reasons why you buy a fancy car. Sometimes, it is a treat to yourself for working hard or getting a promotion, a way of spending an end-of-year bonus or to let people know you have made it. For this last reason, the badge on the front of the car is often as important as what is behind it. That is when the three-star emblem of a Mercedes- Benz really comes into its own. The brand exudes class and wealth, and does indeed let people know you have arrived, figuratively and literally.
The tricky part is choosing which model though to shout your credentials, or newfound wealth. The obvious choice would be the E-Class or the S-Class, both having a long association of being driven by the elite and executive types. And if you are looking for a new and updated model, then you are in luck as we now have the latest edition to the E range — the revitalised E200, a long and sleek-looking sedan.
To give you a bit of background, the E-Class can trace its roots all the way back to the 1940s and during that time Mercedes has sold 14 million of them. There have also been quite a few facelifts across the countless decades, including the latest one at the end of 2020.
With some facelifts it can be hard to see what has actually been “lifted” as the changes are so subtle. But the new E-Class looks markedly different from its predecessor. Appearance-wise, everything has been slimmed down a bit as if the car has been on a mechanical diet.
The headlamps look more slender and the front grille is narrower. At the rear, it features new horizontal tail-lights instead of the old triangular ones. Overall, it looks much sportier and athletic than the older model.
It is no secret that Mercedes-Benz tends to attract an older type of driver, especially among E and S-Class buyers, partly because of the price tag. But it has been busy designing cars that appeal to a younger driver both in terms of their wallets and eyes.
The shape of the E-Class is likely to appeal to a young executive on his way up the career ladder, along with those already sitting pretty at the top. The performance too may also appeal to a younger buyer as it is a lot more sporty than I’d expect from a car of this size and stature.
It may only have a 2.0-litre engine but it is turbocharged which gives it plenty of kick and torque. The nine-speed transmission helps transfer that power quickly to the road and makes for a surprising rush of adrenalin. I was also hugely impressed by the way the E200 handled.
It may be a bit of a cliché to say a car hugs the road, but this one really did and I purposely took corners at high speeds to test this. It never felt like I was not in total control. While I drove the Exclusive version, I am sure the other ones (Avantgarde and AMG) handle just as well even if they are faster. The AMG is the sportiest in the range but you will be pleasantly surprised at what the Executive can do. I know I was.
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Another reason for buying a swanky car is being bathed in luxury that you can touch and feel. So the interior is a crucial factor. The cabin of the new E200 largely resembles its predecessor although there are some changes you may not spot unless prompted.
There is a new steering wheel which has touch-sensitive pads for functions like the volume. And the E-Class now has the “Hey, Mercedes” voice activated control system, part of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment suite.
Alongside that is the new “Mercedes me connect” app which follows in the footsteps of Audi and BMW who have their own versions. The app has a number of functions, such as remotely locking or unlocking your car, and locating it in a carpark. While phone-pairing is essential in a car these days, the E200 goes one step further and lets you pair it with some Garmin fitness devices.
So, if you are tracking your sleep, the car will know whether you are tired and act accordingly. I wear a Fitbit so I could not test this out, unfortunately. Along with ambient lighting which you can change, there are a number of nice little touches that make you feel special, and make the car worthy of the moniker Exclusive.
Mercedes-Benz E200 Exclusive
$287,888 with COE
Engine: 1,991cc, turbo, in-line four Power/torque: 197hp/320Nm Fuel Efficiency: 7.9L/100km
0 to 100kph: 7.5 seconds
Top Speed: 240kph