2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
With the economy still in question, car sales continue to suffer, no matter what the brand, or how well-heeled the customer. So as Mercedes-Benz prepared the launch of their all-new E-class, they made the decision to hold nothing back. They wanted to make their mid-size sedan and coupe as appealing as the flagship S-Class, but for a lot less money. Now it’s time to see if they’ve succeeded.
The E-Class is the proverbial backbone of Mercedes-Benz, and the all-new 2010 edition arrives with an edgier look and more techno-goodies than we can count.
Joining the classic sedan is a new E-Class Coupe, replacing the CLK.
We tested both the sedan and coupe side by side. While our duo shared the same deep black finish, and crease styling theme, each body style has plenty of unique details.
Let’s dissect the sedan first. Both in Luxury and Sport forms, it is more aggressively-styled, borrowing elements from the ConceptFASCINATION show car.
Oval front lamps have given way to wedgy housings, with hockey-stick LED driving lamps below. Still, our Sport model’s tri-bar grille is most familiar, as is the standup three-pointed star.
Strong fender flares and brawny character lines lead back to a thick rear also decorated with LEDs, along with dual exhaust cutouts.
The 5-passenger interior is less dramatic, defined by lots of wood and fine grained upholstery, but now filled with S-Class like luxury and technology.
Our sedan’s multicontoured seats look flat, but use active bolsters to help maintain body position during cornering.
Much of the new technology is for safety’s sake. Standouts include Nightview Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, and Lane Keep Assist. There’s even standard Attention Assist that monitors your inputs and will alert you if it thinks you’re falling asleep at the wheel.
And in addition to the normal front and side impact airbags, there are now two front pelvic airbags and one for the driver’s knees.
In the center of it all is Mercedes’ latest, and now standard COMAND interface, it governs the sound system, Bluetooth interface, and available navigation.
The sedan’s rear seat is both comfortable and spacious, and the low lip trunk provides a sizeable 19.1 cubic feet of space.
The E-Class coupe sheds both wheelbase and length, for an even more athletic shape.
You instantly think it’s capable thanks to a more open, twin-bar grille that surrounds an oversized star logo.
From there, lines flow pass its clamshell hood and along frameless doors and a pillarless greenhouse for a true two-door hardtop design.
Taillights and rear deck treatments are also sharper, for a nicely dynamic rear-view.
The Coupe’s interior is a more intimate, four-seat layout, but the standard panoramic sunroof keeps it from feeling confined.
Other differences include less wood and chrome, a dark surround to the five-gauge cluster, sportier bucket seats, plus steering wheel and console mounted shifters compared to the sedan’s column mounted flip switch.
The rear seat is expectedly tighter than that of the sedan, especially in legroom. The 15.9 cubic foot trunk is also smaller, but still accommodating.
Power for the E-Class is carryover. The E350 is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 with 268-horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; with the E550’s 5.5-liter V8 doling out 382-horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.
Both tied to a 7-speed automatic which feeds the rear wheels for now.
A 4MATIC all-wheel drive sedan will be available later in the model year, along with the road-scorching E63 AMG, and a super thrifty E350 BlueTech clean diesel.
At the track, the E350 sedan will trot from 0 to 60 in 7.0 seconds, with a quarter mile of 15.5 seconds at 92 miles per hour. The 3.5 seven-speed combo isn’t a powerhouse, but it’s a decent performer with quick shifts.
The multi-link suspension with standard Agility Control yields a very nimble response without a harsh ride. Throughout our test the sedan remained firmly planted with plenty of grip.
Brakes were impressively solid too, with virtually no dive and minimal fade. Our 124 foot average from 60 to 0 rates great.
The E550 Coupe conquered our 0 to 60 run in just 5.6 seconds, with a fast quarter mile of 14.1 seconds at 105 miles per hour. Power never stopped building, with the deep and throaty exhaust note just egging us on.
Through the cones, our E550 Coupe felt a good bit stiffer than the E350 Sedan thanks to the standard Dynamic Handling Suspension’s adjustable shocks and modified throttle response. It was actually a little twitchy, especially at lower speeds. But the faster we went, the more precise it became.
Our only disappointment were the brakes. Stops were solid, but at 135 feet from 60 to 0, a tad long with noticeable fade.
Mercedes-Benz has honed E-Class aerodynamics to make them sip fuel like smaller rivals. Our slippery E350 Sedan has Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 17 city/24 highway on Premium gas, with a 23.6 miles per gallon test loop.
Ditto the E550 Coupe with 15 city/23 highway, and 21.5 miles per gallon on mixed roads.
Pricewise, the E-Class is also a better value than last year. The Sedan starts are $49,475. That’s a drop of about $4,800. The Coupe begins at $48,925, or about the same as the less well equipped CLK.
So competitors beware. The new 2010 E-Class is even more formidable than before. With artistic styling, top drawer luxury and technology, and the addition of a new coupe, the “E-Class” remains the spear carrier of the Mercedes-Benz lineup.
- Engine: 5.5-Liter V8
- Horsepower: 382
- Torque: 391 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 5.6 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 14.1 Seconds @ 105 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 135 Feet
- EPA: 15 MPG City/ 23 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 21.5 MPG
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined