Mercedes E350

Luxury estate is proving to be a prized asset – and a real winner when it comes to fuel consumption

  • The E-Class is incredibly safe. It monitors your every move, and will warn you with a shake of the wheel if you start to swap lanes without indicating. Ignore it, and the car will even correct your road position, by gently applying the brakes on one side of the car to steer you away from danger.
  • It's amazing the difference a year can make. I recently drove a BMW 5-Series, and was blown away by the quality of the digital screen. Sadly, the display in the E-Class looks basic in comparison.

Our long-term E-Class enjoyed a starring role at our Product Awards bash this month. The event was held in Birmingham, and you’ll have to wait until the 8 June issue for 
the results – but this year’s event was the best yet, and it simply wouldn’t have been the same without the big Mercedes.

Why? Well, it didn’t quite 
take centre stage, but it was 
used to transport our highly prized trophies to the event. 

Its comfortable ride carried passengers and glassware in 
total comfort and security, and 
it gave me the chance to play 
my favourite driving game: 
fuel station roulette. 

In case you’ve never played, 
it’s very simple. You wait until your car is running on fumes, 
and start driving past fuel stations. Every fibre of your 
being might be screaming at 
you to pull in and juice up, but 
to be a top player you have to learn to ignore the urge.

Running out of fuel is obviously not the aim of the game. Calculating your range 
to the exact last mile is. You 
can make it more exciting by choosing to play it on the way 
to an important meeting – or perhaps when you’re running late for a flight. Of course, the universal development of range predictors has taken the edge off the thrill but, as I discovered the other day, you can still have fun.

Our diesel-engined Mercedes E350 CDI simply displays a digital image of a refuelling SL (not an E-Class, inexplicably) once your predicted range drops below five miles, leaving you completely in the dark as to when the flow of fuel might end. Now, I don’t want to advocate irresponsible behaviour, and I know running out of fuel is a dangerous thing to do. But with diesel around £1.40 a litre, there has never been a better time to start thinking about improving your fuel consumption.

All the usual laws apply: don’t brake suddenly, drive smoothly, plan ahead and keep your foot away from the throttle for as long as possible. Over recent months, I’ve been following my own advice, which has resulted in a net 2.5mpg improvement in the overall performance of the E350. That doesn’t sound like much, 
but it means I get an extra 44 miles from its 80-litre tank.

And with a little over 7,000 miles on the clock, the engine 
is loosening up nicely, running more smoothly and quietly 
than before – this car 
is without doubt the most comfortable motorway cruiser on the extensive Auto Express long-term fleet. 

Finally, with the hot weather upon us, the E-Class is set to go from trophy transporter to holiday holdall as the Strong family gears up for a camping trip in Norfolk. You can find out how I get on in our next update... assuming I haven’t run out of fuel in a remote part of East Anglia.

Extra Info

“When my parents came to stay in London for the weekend and needed ferrying about, there was only one choice for me – the E-Class. It was posh enough to impress the folks, and they loved its soothing ride and whisper-quiet road manners.”

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