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Mercedes-Benz E-Class review

Expert Reviews Staff
21 Apr 2011

It may be one of the oldest cars in its sector, but the range of options makes sure the E-Class is bang up-to-date

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When it comes to optional kit Mercedes is a past master, and the Mercedes E-Class executive model is no exception. Its pricelist is brimming with extra features but you need to spend your money wisely, or costs can spiral out of control. For example, our test model was fitted with £22,590 worth of add-ons, which is the price of a well-equipped family hatchback on its own!

Read the Mercedes-Benz E-Class review on our sister site, CarBuyer, for the full low-down on how the car drives. In this review, we'll concentrate on the technology and option packs.

Driving Assistance Package

Safety doesn’t come cheap, but the £2,345 Driving Assistance Package includes a raft of kit. The Lane Tracking Package, which comprises Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, is designed to make motorway driving safer for you and other vehicles.

Active Blind Spot Assist monitors the area around the car to warn you if another car is in your blind spot. If one is detected, small red warning triangles appear in the door mirrors. Should you still try and pull out, an audible warning sounds. The system can also apply light braking to the relevant wheels to keep you within your own lane and prevent an accident. It's a neat system and the combination of warnings, rather than just an indicator light, should help keep you safer on the road.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Blind Spot Assist

Active Lane Keeping Assist uses a front-facing camera to monitor the car's position on the road to detect if you're straying from your lane. If you start to drift out of lane, the system sends a series of vibrations pulsing through the steering wheel to warn you. We found that the vibrations were a little too subtle and we expected a more urgent signal.

As with Active Blind Spot Assist, the Lane Keeping Assist can apply light braking to individual wheels to keep you within lane. If you indicate first, the system is disabled to let you manoeuvre safely.

The final element of the Driving Assistance Package is Distronic Plus, a radar-based cruise control system that matches your speed to that of the vehicle in front. It can even bring the car to a complete halt if traffic slows to a stop, pulling away again once things start moving again.

As a way of relieving the stress of long motorway drives it is great, but it’s not perfect as you often find yourself adopting the lower speed of the car in front, rather than maintaining your own pace and overtaking.

The Driving Assistance Package can only be fitted in conjunction with the optional Navigation 50 or COMAND systems, which makes it an expensive extra. If you spend most of your time on single carriageway roads it’s one to avoid, then, but high mileage motorway users will feel the benefit of its stress-reducing features.

Attention Assist

Built-in as standard is Attention Assist, which monitors 70 different parameters to test how you're driving. Speed, angle of the steering wheel, pedal and indicator use, road surface and even wind conditions are all measured and compared against your driving profile.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Attention Assist

If the car notices that you're driving is becoming more erratic, it sounds a loud chime and displays an indicator on the dashboard screen warning you to take a break. This should be enough to wake you from a quick 'one second nap' and avoid an accident.

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