Available as either a four-door sedan, wagon, convertible, or two-door coupe, Mercedes' E-Class entered its fourth generation in 2010, and still represented the heart of the company's lineup.
Not as pricey or exclusive as the S-Class, it was a cut above the C-Class stable. It also got a complete makeover in this year and, depending upon who you spoke to, it was one of the prettiest cars on the road – emulated by other manufacturers, such as Hyundai and Volkswagen.
Arguably the most visually appealing model was the Coupe, which replaced the CLK 350. From its "arrowhead" front end to a back deck evocative of some of Mercedes' models of the 1950s, this one was – and still is – a knockout.
The market for upscale two-door coupes in Canada has never been huge and most buyers have always opted for a four-door sedan configuration when it comes to their primary form of transport. By Mercedes' own admission, coupe aficionados have traditionally been completely different creatures from sedan buyers, so even a stunning piece of eye-candy like the E-Class two-door did not sell in huge numbers.
Sharing platforms and many other components, the 2010 E-Class sedan and coupe were offered in Canada in two variants: E350 and E550. A formidable AMG E63 version came later. The former featured a 3.5-litre V-6, while the latter was handily propelled by a lusty 380-horsepower V-8 and both models were chock-a-block with mechanical and engineering features that covered everything from front-end accident avoidance to high-speed cornering stability.
One of the more intriguing features was Mercedes' Attention Assist system, which monitored the driver, taking note of driving habits, and evaluating them, with a view to providing a warning at the onset of fatigue or drowsiness. Unlike Volvo's system, which utilized a small camera, Mercedes' Attention Assist kept an eye on the driver via computer. A cute little coffee cup graphic on the instrument cluster lit up to let the driver know that he or she was being observed.
This was one of a myriad of high-tech features found on the E-Class Coupe. A few other noteworthy goodies included a dynamic handling package that, at the press of a dash-mounted button, allowed the driver to choose from comfort or sport setting; an adaptive cruise control that maintained a certain distance from the vehicle in front; and adaptive high-beam headlights that automatically adjusted the headlights according to the prevailing driving conditions.
If all this weren't enough, there was also an optional navi package, upgraded Nappa leather interior, and a 450-watt sound system. The AMG version included 18-inch alloy wheels, bigger rubber, upgraded brakes, different seats and various interior bits and pieces. Not to mention a considerably higher price tag.
One safety recall to report from Transport Canada and it concerns the power steering system. The high-pressure line could leak, cause the pump to run dry and result in loss of steering. This glitch also applies to the Mercedes C-Class of the same year.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, meanwhile, has 17 technical service bulletins on file for this year of the E-Class. These range from recalcitrant front seatbelts, to issues with the vehicles' "limp home" mode, to problems opening and closing the rear doors in cold weather.
Although the 2010 E-class did have its weak points – particularly in the electrical system – Consumer Reports still likes it a lot. "The E-class sedan and wagon have been among the best cars CR has tested," it enthuses, giving the 2010 edition top marks in every category, save electrical, which gets a failing grade. Some comments from owners: "Command Control system controls are archaic and complicated," "Super visibility in all directions," "Better-than-expected gas mileage" and "Love the legroom."
No ambiguity here from market research firm J.D. Power. Aside from some small issues with the car's performance level, it receives top marks in every department and an "among the best" rating for overall performance and design.
No surprise that this one has held up well, value-wise. Expect to pay from about $40,000 for an E350 sedan, right up to near $50,000 for a loaded E550. The Coupe is valued at $1,000-$2,000 less than the sedan and the AMG version is near the $70,000 neighbourhood (if you can find one).
2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Original Base Price: $58,600-$73,200; Black Book: $39,150-$47,450; Red Book: $39,750-$47,475
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 and 5.5-litre V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 268 hp/258 lb-ft for V-6; 382 hp/391 lb-ft for V-8
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with manual shift mode
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.9 city/7.6 highway (V-6); premium gas
Alternatives:Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M45, Lexus GS, Jaguar XF, Porsche Panamera