There’s no such thing as a sure bet, not unless you’re the one holding all the cards. Then again, maybe that describes the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the sedan that has long dominated the midsize luxury market.
Early this year, the German maker pulled the wraps off an all-new version of the E-Class, and also dropped the surprise news that it was rechristening its 2-door CLK the E-Class Coupe. The new look received strongly favorable reviews, but when it comes to luxury cars, beauty is a lot more than skin deep, so we jumped at the chance to take both the 2- and 4-door versions of Mercedes’ midsize mainstay out for a couple days of testing. We took delivery at the Encore, the newest and, arguably the hottest, resort casino in Las Vegas, a perfect venue considering Mercedes has placed an even bigger bet on its new offering than the highest rollers the strip normally sees.
The new E-Class is more than just what automotive folks like to call a “simple refresh.” It’s a top-to-bottom remake that, in many ways represents the best Mercedes can muster, even more than the flagship S-Class. And it will take that sort of offering to not only maintain momentum in today’s abysmal automotive market – but also to fend off a growing list of competitors that includes the usual suspects, BMW, Lexus and Audi, as well as the increasingly aggressive Infiniti and the surprising Hyundai Genesis. (more…)