A 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350, a 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6, a 2014 Audi A6 3.0T, and a 2014 BMW 535i xDrive, all midsize luxury sedans vying for the top spot. Car and Driver put the four lux sedans, all ranging price from $62,745 for the Audi to $76,600 for the BMW. Check below for a brief overview of each car as well as Car and Driver’s thoughts on the Mercedes E350. Don’t want to spend that much time reading? Skip to the end for their conclusion.
The rear-wheel-drive CTS receives its power from a mid-level engine, a 321-hp 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6. It’s the slightly up-powered version of the previous CTS’ 3.6. The test car was dressed in Premium-level trim, which gives you a huge load of both useful and frivolous features, so much so that it is priced at $67,075, when the less-opulent CTS with the same engine can be had for about $55,000.
Then there’s the Audi A6, also fitted with a mid-level engine option, the 310-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. The Audi is the only vehicle in this test not significantly changed from last year. It carries the comparo’s lowest as-tested price of $62,745, even while equipped with optional adaptive cruise control and a sport package among other less costly stuff.
The BMW 5-series tested was the four-wheel-drive 535i, powered by the 302-hp, turbocharged inline-six. Thanks to its M Sport package ($3150) and a couple of expensive convenience bundles, the 535i rang in as the priciest candidate at $67,600.
Not to be forgotten , the Mercedes-Benz E350 Sport. With leather seating and loads of infotainment features, the E350 arrived with a comparatively reasonable $63,490 price tag. It is powered by a 302-hp 3.5-liter V-6.
Mercedes E350 Review
Car and Driver’s senior editor Tony Quiroga reckoned that if we swapped out the “fun to drive” category from our scoring chart with “gratifying to drive,” the Mercedes E350 would have aced that cell. And he’s right.
Mercedes has been building large, satisfying luxury sedans for longer than just about any carmaker, and it shows in the E350’s air of cool imperturbability. It pours down the road fluidly. It shelters its occupants from the nastier bits of the world without completely isolating them from the experience of driving.
The basics are so very right. The dash is low and the windows are tall, providing excellent visibility. Its straightforward rectilinear instrument panel implies quality, solidity, and durability. And the apparent quality of the materials and finish is impeccable, with just the right amount of gleam. Its infotainment controls are even sensibly designed—no small accomplishment these days. And the E350 has the second-roomiest and most comfortable back seat of the bunch.
The E350 encourages you to drive it as you would a Mercedes. This is to say, at a reasonable pace with none of that high-school nonsense. Should you choose to push it further—and we did—the seemingly imperturbable car becomes perturbed. Its seven-speed transmission gets confused in hard running (even in its sport setting), delivering shifts at odd, inopportune times. The big-displacement V-6 gets loud and gritty-sounding. And the suspension stops bothering to control body motions. The Mercedes was the only car without a selectable sport setting for its suspension.
Cool down a bit and the E350 eases back into its happy place and, frankly, so does the driver.
The E-class is a car that nails one side of the luxury-sport equation and disregards the other. If that’s the kind of car you’re looking for, stop looking.
And the winner is:
The Audi with 206 points, followed by the Cadillac with 201, the Mercedes with 200 with the BMW bringing up the rear with 192 points.
|VEHICLE||Max Pts. Available||2014 Audi A6 3.0T||2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6||2014 Mercedes-Benz E350||2014 BMW 535i xDrive|
|FIT AND FINISH||10||9||8||10||8|
|FUN TO DRIVE||25||21||25||18||17|