Last night, I watched Jeremy Clarkson throw a McLaren P1 around spa. It was an amazing sight, and it gave me chills. But this article is not about the P1. It is, in fact about something much, much tamer.
I should now point out that this is going to be a bit lengthy. so, fair warning: you're in for quite a read here!
Ok, now that those who don't want to read have left, let's get down to business!
After watching the previously listed top gear episode, I went to the living room, and watched the Olympics. Whilst watching them, the consumer reports magazine for march 2014 caught my eye. "yay, some boring car journalism" was my first thought, and then I noticed what car was featured. It was the new, 2014 E250 BlueTec AWD.
This was not quite the read, it was quite dry, like consumer reports tends to be. Then I noticed the car's score. It scored a 98. Yes a Ninety-eight. That is the best a fossil fuel vehicle has ever scored in consumer reports. it is one point shy of the family friendly combustible rocket, the Tesla model S. At first, I was taken aback. "An overpriced, diesel, automatic four cylinder sedan just set the record in consumer reports? No it must be a typo!" This was my initial reaction, but then I thought about it for a bit.
You see, the E-class has gotten the nickname "The German taxi" over the years, and it's not hard to see why. The E250 is especially true of this. The numbers make it out to seem very good from an everyday usability point of view. The 370ft-lbs of torque made by the 2.1liter diesel are enough to pull you along any road at a very respectable rate of speed. The 7-speed automatic might not be the best transmission for us enthusiasts, but it is a really damn good setup. Plus, the AWD system is another bonus that adds to this car's usability.
Yes, I do know the E250 is not the most exciting car in the world, but all the aspects of it have truly lead me to believe it is the best rounded car that has ever been on sale.
It is large enough to take a trip in, efficient enough not to break the bank, fast enough to be a proper high speed cruiser, nimble enough to perform well on those twisty roads, and definitely priced reasonably.
Ah yes, the price? a smidge over $60,000. "What? for a 4 cylinder diesel automatic family sedan?! are you mad?" might be your reaction, but think about it; Can a Porsche Boxter do anything this can't on a day to day basis, with the exception of taking it to a track and flogging it? The answer is most probably no. Now you might also say "Aha! but a VW Golf 4Motion TDi is also a 4 cylinder diesel family car, and it's about $32,000 cheaper! what can you say about that?" I can't say anything. It's true, the golf is a better deal by a mile. The reason why I still consider the Mercedes the superior car is the fact that it is a Mercedes. Call me a badge snob, but I expect something with the three pointed star to last, and last for a while! There have been many stories of old diesel Mercs hitting over 500,000 miles on the factory engine. I believe this car is headed down the same path, and that at some point in 2054 I'll pass one on the Freeway of tomorrow. I will look at it, as it slowly, with great pride and dignity, accelerates to the speed limit, in that fashion that only old diesel Mercs can.
This is why the E250 is such an amazing machine, because it is what a Mercedes Benz really should be; A big, comfortable, efficient technological marvel, slowly aging and gaining a specific gracefulness that only an old Merc can obtain.