Engine: 2.1 L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, 195 HP, 369 lb-ft.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel economy (US): 27 MPG city, 38 MPG highway
Fuel economy (CDN): 8.6 l/100 km city, 5.9 l/100 km highway
Price (US): Starts at 55,225 including $925 destination charge
Price (CDN): $59,900
The best feature of the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC isn’t its styling, torque or amazingly efficient engine, it’s the fact that it’s the cheapest way to park an E-Class in your driveway.
That’s not to say the E-Class is a budget-minded proposition; or that it should be. But the simple fact of the matter is that Mercedes just made what might already be the most attractive mid-size luxury sedan a no-brainer purchase.
Sure the Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series are nice, but neither carry the cachet of the Benz, a car that perfectly fits the bill of being a personal luxury sedan, while also fulfilling any family-car duties required of it.
Trading Six Cylinders for Four
Priced at $52,725, the E250 makes just 195 hp but its 369 lb-ft of torque, which comes on from just 1,800 RPM, means you never want for power.
Replacing the old diesel V6 in the E350 BlueTEC, the new four-cylinder version puts the priority squarely on saving fuel. True, the older six was efficient, but the new model’s fuel economy is seriously impressive – though not quite as much as originally promised.
MPG Claims Revised
Before its introduction, Mercedes projected a rating of 28/45 MPG city/highway for the rear-drive model and 27/42 MPG for the 4MATIC all-wheel drive one. If you Google the car, you’ll find those numbers plastered all over the Internet.
As it turns out, the real numbers certified by the Feds are significantly lower at 28/42/33 (city/hwy/combined) for RWD models and 27/38/31 for AWD ones.
Despite the decrease, to highlight just how impressive those numbers still are, the E350 gasoline model is rated at just 20 MPG city and 29 highway, meaning that in regular driving the diesel should be roughly 10 MPG more efficient.
Real World Fuel Economy Impresses
If you know a thing or two about diesel-powered passenger cars you’ll know that the official government figures aren’t often right. And unlike gasoline models, real world results tend to be surprisingly better. That appears to be the case here once again.
During our time with a 4MATIC-equipped car in well-below freezing temperatures we averaged 35.1 MPG. On several commutes we saw even better numbers, registering 36.2 MPG one day and 37.9 MPG on another.
What are the Drawbacks?
Performance suffers somewhat with a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds versus 6.5 seconds for the old gas V6, but again, it never feels underpowered.
The only real downside is the price at the pump with diesel continuing to cost a hefty premium over gasoline. Still, a 10 MPG savings (or more for highway driving) means that if you have a lengthy commute, the diesel is a smart choice.
And unless you crave the awesome power of a turbocharged V8, the Bluetec is your best bet.
Miserly MPGs, Luxury Looks
Making the E250 even more compelling is the redesign in 2013. While the Mercedes name already sells itself in the luxury segment, the styling simply can’t be beat.
And driving the E250 does not disappoint. While it’s the most affordable E-Class option, you don’t feel like that from the driver’s seat. It’s well-equipped and the materials aren’t downgraded either.
Of course luxury has always been about pampering yourself and looking good, but Mercedes has made it a goal to also mean looking smart.
That means a commitment to being a safety leader with features that are good for you and the ones you love. As a result, standard equipment now includes a collision prevention assist feature as well as attention assist.
Taking safety a step further is a new Driver Assistance Package that can be had for $2,700. It includes numerous new features, all with tremendously long and complicated names, spelled with an excess of capital letters, as is Mercedes’ style. Those names might not be important, but what they do certainly is. The features combine to keep the E-Class in its lane, while also detecting both pedestrians and oncoming cars, applying the vehicle’s brakes if necessary to avoid a collision.
Unique Among its Rivals
While the engine isn’t a smooth as a gasoline one, Mercedes does a better job than its rivals at muffling the sound and dampening the shudder that diesel engines are known for.
SEE ALSO: Audi A6 TDI vs BMW 535d
And it’s in comparison with MB’s two big rivals that the E250 really stands out. Both Audi and BMW have a very different approach when it comes to their diesel offerings with the A6 3.0 TDI and 535d equipped with six-cylinder engines that focus more on performance.
Their claimed fuel economy numbers are only slightly less than the Mercedes at 26/37/30 MPG for the xDrive BMW and 24/38/29 MPG for the Audi, but in real world testing they both delivered exactly as promised while the Benz over-delivered during out week with the car.
At around $58,000-$59,000 for the Audi or BMW, the Benz undercuts those by abut $5,000. Sure its styling, pedigree, safety and fuel economy are attractive features, but the E250’s true standout is its price.