Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
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What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class adds a convertible to the lineup, and sees the return of the wagon body style and optional diesel-fueled V6 engine. There have also been minor exterior and interior upgrades, with the coupe getting new grille mesh, and all body styles getting restyled headlight control switches and relocated ESP controls.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class boasts a lineup that presents a wide array of alternatives for drivers with a taste for automotive excellence. Last year, the selection of body styles included just a sedan and a coupe, but this year those choices are joined by an all-new convertible and the returning E-Class wagon.
Attractive and versatile, the latest E-Class wagon is a worthy choice in the admittedly small premium-wagon segment, and it returns to the E-Class family after a brief hiatus. Most notable for its quirky rear-facing third-row seat, the wagon offers an accommodating, highly functional nature, along with all the refinement you'd expect from an E-Class model. One downside to consider is that unlike other E-Class body styles, this wagon is available with just one engine, the 3.5-liter V6.
Pick the new E-Class Cabriolet - which replaces the discontinued CLK-Class drop top - and you'll get a stylish cruiser that seats four and comes with a long list of luxury features. The E-Class Cabriolet is less sporty than the 2011 BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G37 convertibles, and it has a traditional soft top rather than a more elaborate (as well as heavy and expensive) retractable hardtop. When it comes to refinement, though, this Mercedes is a class leader as evidenced by its peerlessly serene ride quality.
Of course, most people will be looking at the traditional E-Class sedan. Solid and seemingly over-engineered, the stately E-Class sedan boasts unflappable composure, and its taut chassis and communicative steering translate into impressive handling. The 2011 E350 Bluetec is new; its clean-diesel engine promises more than 30 mpg highway fuel economy. For more performance-minded drivers, the sedan line also includes the E63 AMG variant, which is neck and neck with many sports cars in straight-line acceleration and actually outpaces some smaller sport sedans when the road gets curvy.
With this accomplished lineup, Mercedes has crafted not just one but instead four cars that are hard to beat. Certainly, there are other choices, especially among sedans. The BMW 5 Series is sportier, the 2011 Jaguar XF is more stylish and the 2011 Infiniti M37 is less expensive, but none of these choices has the E-Class sedan's well-rounded excellence. Whether you choose the sedan, coupe, wagon or cabriolet, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class represents the best of the best for discerning shoppers.