One of the foundation stones of the Mercedes Benz brand celebrated her company birthday with the launch of it new restyled car.
|125 years of the three pointed star|
It was the first car back in the 1950’s to offer crumple zones that help reduce front impact in a collision. It was also the first diesel powered car in the world. It was also from the E Class range where we find the best selling Mercedes model of all time.
|Rear of the sedan|
My most favourite model in it range has been the E550 and now Mercedes have launched a better and more economical facelift. It now has a 5.5-liter V8 engine is now married to a 7 speed automatic gearbox that the driver can operate manually by the use of paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.
|VIP rear seats|
Fuel consumption is now at 11 litres for every 100km covered. The light engine consisting of an aluminium block and heads which is fed with directly injected fuel gives 382 hp. This is enough to take it to a limited speed of 250km/h. 0 to 100 km takes only 5.1 seconds.
As with all Mercedes Benz creation there must be one or to complicated stuff in the menu. The new E550 gearbox is so advance it can let you skip some gear ratios, three in fact in the effort to ensure quick acceleration. One can downshift directly from seventh to fifth gear or from sixth to second gear.
Thanks to this system drivers now have a “Direct Select” lever which electronically controls the seven-speed automatic. One operates it by lifting the button up for reverse, push down for drive, and push a button on the end for park.
The suspension is next on the line of complicated stuff. With AIRMATIC suspension systems, the car can choose between suspension adaptive four stages. Stage 1 gives a soft compression and rebound stage during steady-state driving this gives the car a smooth drive. Stage 2 has the same softness in rebound setting and, at the same time, hard compression damping. This is suitable for roads with a few pot holes and bumps. Stage 3 gives soft compression / hard rebound damping. This is suitable for areas with rough roads and hard surfaces. It lets the suspension absorb the hard bumps. Stage 4; this has hard rebound and compression for maximum damping stiffness during cornering. It also to some extent the sports suspension setting that lets the driver fool around with the car without the threat of loosing control of the car. For the day to day driving, the car default setting is Stage 1. However with the change in road surfaces the settings change automatically in between each stage.
|E 550 coupe|
However as in all Mercedes Brands the safety equipment is among the best in the world. It has the latest generation Attention Assist that monitors 70 different things about the driver and ensures the driver stays alert in his ‘job’. There is also Blind Spot Assist which uses two radar sensors in the sides of the rear bumper to monitor the blind spot area.
|Rear of the coupe|
When a vehicle enters the blind spot, a red triangle appears in the respective outside mirror. If the driver actuates the turn signal with a vehicle in the blind spot, a warning tone also sounds. Lane Keeping Assist alerts the driver by simulating rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel, if the car drifts from its lane unintentionally. Images from a small camera are analyzed by a computer that identifies and monitors traffic lanes.
|Sports seats in the coupe|
Another feature is Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This uses a small windshield-mounted camera to control high-low beam operation automatically. The camera senses headlights from oncoming vehicles as well as the taillights of those ahead. Whenever it senses traffic, the system lowers the headlights, providing a soft transition from high to low beam and, when the way is clear, back to high beam.
|Rear leather seats of the coupe|
Drivers now have an option to have their E Class installed with Night View Assist that comes as standard with the S Class model. The car uses infra-red light from two beams located in the front. An infra-red camera picks up the received image and the driver can see what is on the road from the screen on the dashboard. The system is also intelligent enough to differentiate objects on the road. Hence it can warn the driver if for example an animal is crossing the road even before the actual headlights have ‘spotted’ the animal.
|Roof controls in the convertible|
The icing on the cake in the safety department is the PRE-SAFE system. The system initiates partial braking automatically in certain situations as well as full-power emergency braking. The systems also tension the seatbelts if the car senses an impending collision.
|E 550 convertible|
In addition, if the front passenger seat is overly reclined or forward, and if the seat cushion angle is too shallow, PRE-SAFE moves it to a more favorable crash position. Finally, if the vehicle skids the system automatically closes the sunroof. Side windows also close to provide better support for the window curtain air bags and to prevent occupants’ heads or arms from swinging outside the vehicle. I wish I could go on about how well this system is but experience has taught me that it by far the best thing ever fitted in an automobile.
The twin parallelograms shaped LED headlights at each side are now shaper and give it a distinct front design. The overall body shape of the new E-Class features taut lines that define large concave and convex surfaces. In particular, a graceful line follows each rear wheel well and shapes the muscular contours of the rear fenders. The shape also helps it to cut through air easily.
|With the roof up|
The rear LED headlights are more pronounced and it even has a brake light strip on the boot. At the front of the Sedan, the three pointed star seats gracefully at the bonnet. The front headlights have bi-xenon lights that ‘see round corners’. As the driver steers the car the bi-xenon headlamps follow the steering pattern. They also give a wide illumination of the road with a light that is almost close to natural light. Dim the headlights and if any passerby as the chance to see the sight, Night Assist will notify the driver of a mesmerized looker on the road.
The interior of the E550 remains appealing in terms of both style and function just like in the previous model. The sedan’s cockpit features five analog gauges, including two outer pairs that overlap each other. Standard equipment includes a premium leather-covered steering wheel with integrated multi-function switches and a Direct Select electronic shift lever mounted on the steering column.
A sweeping console groups many of the car’s controls for easy reach, including audio system and climate control, remote lowering rear headrests, optional heated seats, power rear sun shade and PARKTRONIC parking assist. It is also the first E Class to have a seven inch screen in the middle of the dashboard. This houses the COMAND system. The system has six-disc CD / DVD changer.
Using a console-mounted controller, the central display can be operated by either the driver or front passenger. A Bluetooth interface allows a phone still in a pocket or purse to be operated through the car’s audio system. The COMAND system can be equipped with optional iPod/MP3 interface and an advanced voice control system for the audio, navigation and phone systems.
|Harman/Kardon audio system|
However if you want the best sound in you Merc a 610-watt Harmon/Kardon audio system is available as an optional. It has a six-gigabyte hard drive with Music Register for music files, 12 speakers and surround sound with seven output channels. The command screen also acts as a multifunctional display.
It enable drivers to adjust many different functions such as the trip odometers and trip computer that includes fuel tank range; audio system (station seek, CD track, disc skip, seek, volume); interior / exterior light dimming; and Easy Entry function. The seats now feature 14 different adjustable options that are controlled electronically. They also offer lumber support, heat you in the cold and if you have more cash to give offer an all round message treatment. Rear passengers can also enjoy the very best in entertainment thanks to LED screen on the back of the headrests. They can also enjoy a DVD movies thanks to a player located in the middle arm rest.
An electronic trunk closer is also available as an option. One only has to push button on the inside of the trunk lid (or on the driver’s door) and a mechanisms pulls the lid downward, and a servo locking mechanism then locks the lid completely. As a safety precaution, applying just light force on the lid will stop it from closing. Keyless entry is another sweet option. One only has to touch the door handles or the trunk lid handle to unlock the car. It only works if the driver has the key in a pocket or bag.
|Nature meets top class driving|
The E550 is available as a sedan, estate, coupe and a convertible. Happy 125 birthday Mercedes!