2011 Mercedes Benz E350 BlueTEC Sedan
By Ming Tan
- Efficient fuel sipper averaged over 34 actual mpg over the course of a week, with a boasted total range of about 600 miles per tank of diesel
- A great highway cruiser with a quiet and smooth ride. It’s serene cabin made for peaceful and pleasant road trips.
- 400 lb-ft of torque made virtually any maneuver seem easy for this relatively small 210 hp 3.0 liter turbo diesel V6
- Hint of a 1978 Mercedes 240D diesel rasp at startup
- Somewhat flat seating surfaces
- More complicated SAT NAV unit that requires a semester at DeVry before becoming fluent with the system
- Only 210 HP for a car of BBW proportions
The Evolution of the Diesel Car Has Come a Long Way
I remember as a young kid seeing and hearing those early diesel cars rattling down the road, usually closely followed by a plume of dark, smelly smoke. Diesel super duty trucks notwithstanding, the appeal for diesel cars remained slim for years. Not until recently has the clean diesel concept begun to take off. We’re now seeing even race cars like the Audi R18 TDI performing at extremely high levels in rigorous conditions. As a result, it only seems logical that the evolution of diesel performance trickles down to normal every day driving cars.
The true benefit of the new Mercedes E350 BlueTEC lies in both the pure efficiency of the car as well as the huge amount of very user friendly torque, which makes the vehicle very responsive in virtually any situation. In addition, Mercedes uses a special solution called AdBlue that is added to the exhaust gases which basically neutralizes the emissions to just nitrogen and water vapor. Not only is this car clean, it still provides enough get up and go to stimulate most luxury car aficionados.
The starting base price for the E350 BlueTEC is $50,900, but our test car also came equipped with the $6,450 Premium Package 2, the $115 115V AC power outlet, and the no charge option Sport Package.
“You’re going to love this one…” he smiled.
These were the first words out of the delivery driver’s mouth when I met him outside my home. Coming from a number of Audi cars in the past, I told myself that I would not get too wrapped up in the mystique of an E Class Mercedes. It’s just another car, I told myself. Plus, it’s a diesel. How much nicer could it be?
The following days of driving the E350 were telling. I like the convenience of proximity keys. My first experience was with a Lexus, and this one was no less convenient. The fob itself provided all the access necessary just in case, but the beauty of the proximity concept is the pure convenience of just walking up to the car, lifting the door handle and opening the door. Upon exiting, a simple light touch of a button on the handle locks the door.
Once in, your foot steps on the brake and you push the start button. An ever so faint diesel rattling sound emits from the engine bay, bringing me back to the late 70’s diesel car sounds. But once you get going, that faint rattle turns into a more normal, albeit quiet engine sound.
This car was equipped with Mercedes’ smooth seven speed transmission. The gears are set up to be responsive in around town traffic, with minimal shifting from gear to gear to find the right gear, and for fuel economizing low RPM traveling at highway speeds. Cruising at 70mph kept the engine speed down close to only about 2,000 RPM. That translated to a fuel sipping and quiet ride in virtually any condition. The car also came with slick black anodized paddle shifters on the steering wheel to allow for manual shifting whenever the mood required. I routinely found myself rowing down through the gears when slowing down especially. Rapid acceleration was equally as smooth, either letting the transmission shift on its own, or by manually clicking through all seven gears.