Montserrat, the jagged-top mountain range near Barcelona, is intersected by one of the most spectacular roads in Spain
Winding tightly around the precipitous mountainside, it strings together a necklace of fast curves and tight bends. This is where Mercedes chose to showcase its new E-Class, and in particular the upper-crust, high performance range-topping E63 AMG.
The new E-Class, Merc’s mainstream model, is more of a looker, sharper sculpted and sleeker than before. It has also been upgraded in driving calibre and technology, acquiring some features percolated down from the luxurious S-Class. It comes in a choice of two faces: the more traditional Elegance with its classic three-pointed star riding like a ship’s figurehead on the prow, and the funkier Avantgarde with a bigger, blingier black-backed star impaled on the grille.
Gone is the old three-tier model line-up of the previous E-Class, replaced by a simplified range with just two trim grades: SE and AMG Sport. The choices of engines, some new and others updated, includes two petrol units, four diesels and a diesel electric hybrid. They span in size from two litres and 182 bhp to a mammoth 5.5 litres and 550 bhp. Prices start from £32,400 and rise to £75,510.
The new-generation E-Class has shifted a notch upmarket both in looks and driving calibre, has upgraded safety provision with 11 new driver aids, and is greener with an average 20 g/km cut from the CO2 output. The only disappointment is that the hard-working four-cylinder turbodiesel engine in the likely best-selling E250 CDI is a bit short on refinement. The V6 E350 CDI is a better bet, much smoother and quieter. Between now and 2020 Mercedes is promising to bring 13 new models to market.
The thoroughly refreshed E is a promising start.
About Sue Baker – Motoring Correspondent, Journalist, Editor & Broadcaster
A Supplier of words & images to UK national & international publications. Contributor to many newspapers & magazines including Diesel Car, Carpages, Carkeys, Cambridge Edition, Saga, Daily Telegraph, Daily/Sunday Express, Driving, BMW magazine, Mercedes magazine, Eureka (Kia) magazine, AA magazine, 4×4, CSMA Club, Good Motoring, PHVC Update. Regular work includes new car launch reports, test drive reports, comparative twin tests and group tests, features, drive/travel reports, industry and ‘Me & My Car’ celebrity interviews.
During a 30 year career in motoring journalism, my work has appeared in nine UK national newspapers: Observer, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent, Times, Sunday Times, Daily/Sunday Express, Daily Star,
TV and Radio
Television experience includes 11 years as a presenter on the popular BBC TV motoring programme Top Gear, three years as motoring correspondent on BBC Breakfast Time, guest apearances on BBC News 24. Broadcasting work includes contributions to BBC Radio 4 Motoring & the Motorist, and Woman’s Hour; Radio Five Live, Radio 2 Nightline and the John Dunn show, BBC local radio; LBC motoring spot; British Forces Broadcasting Service motoring programme. Guest spots on World Radio Switzerland.
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