E350 is stylish, luxurious, spacious
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Mercedes-Benz E350 luxury sports sedan. DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2007, the sedan can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. That's remarkable for a midsize sedan offering abundant space for cargo and passengers. TECH & PERFORMANCE: Lurking under the hood is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which pumps out 268 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 258 pounds-feet of torque at 2400 rpm. It's mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with a power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering. A four-link suspension design up front and an independent five-arm multilink in the rear ensure the car juggles sharp corners and turns with confidence. The 13-inch front and 11.8-inch rear vented discs operate inside 17-inch wheels shod with 245/45 tires. LOOK & FEEL: The V-shaped radiator grille with two steeply slanted elliptical headlights at the corners and fog lamps underneath convey a handsome and graceful appearance. Continuing with the elegant theme at the rear is a spoiler molded into the trunk lid edge, LED tail lamps and dual chrome exhaust pipes. Slip behind the power tilt-and-telescopic four-spoke steering wheel and you are greeted by a well-lit and airy interior made up of soft-touch materials and outstanding finish. The instrument panel, with three circular gauges for speedometer, tachometer and clock and electronic vertical bar graphs for fuel and coolant temperature readings, is clear-cut. That Mercedes designers are among the world's finest is evident in the black bird's-eye maple wood trim strip, which runs through the dashboard and doors. Cool features include 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a Harmon Kardon six-disc in-dash CD sound system.SAFETY FIRST: Standard features are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows with rollover protection, Electronic Stability Program and traction control, front and rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, four-wheel antilock brakes and the Pre-Safe system, which senses an accident and tightens the seatbelts to hold occupants firmly in place. OUT THE DOOR: $51,200, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The $530 electronic trunk closer will be helpful while loading and unloading grocery bags. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/45R17 all season; wheelbase, 112.4 inches; length, 191 inches; weight, 3,740 pounds; fuel capacity, 21.1 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 17 mpg. WHY DIG IT: For several years now, the E-Class has been a top-selling sedan worldwide. That tradition will continue, or even gather momentum, with this stylish, luxurious, spacious and potent E350. It's one sensational car that will leave you asking for more from the German carmaker.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.