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Mercedes-Benz E 320 (2002) | General information

For stability , comfort, safety, balance, braking efficiency, quality of finish and equipment, the Mercedes-Benz E 320 has seemed to me one of the best cars in its class. It is more expensive than most of its competitors, but it may be worth paying more to drive a car as balanced as the E 320. The catalog of options allows to achieve a level of equipment also exceptional, although some of them are very expensive. Outstanding in comfort and smoothness of rolling, this model offers extraordinary dynamic qualities in any circumstance, on fast freeways or twisted secondary roads. I think it’s the best we can find right now among the luxury saloons of its characteristics.

Not many years ago, the Mercedes-Benz cars were very comfortable but a bit dull for drivers looking for a certain sporting mood at times. Also available with Classic and Avantgarde finish, the unit we have tested has been an E 320 with Elegance finish (2.048 option) and Airmatic DC pneumatic suspension (option of 2,176 ??), which I recommend to any driver. The braking system SBC (Sensotronic Brake Control) that has been standard has seemed outstanding for braking ability, touch, resistance and, above all, efficiency when braking on the curve. Without a doubt, it is one of the saloons that best brakes. The benefits have not seemed to me according to the 224 HP of its V6 engine. It stands out more for its smoothness and good response in any regime than for its acceleration capacity, largely because it has an automatic change with very long transmission developments (there is no manual change for the E 320). The maximum speed itself is high thanks to its excellent aerodynamics and the consumption has not seemed moderate. The interior is still more functional than in the previous E-Class, although it only allows four adults to comfortably travel. The level of completion is exemplary, but I was surprised to find some improvements, something unusual in deluxe vented rv motorhome covers.

Softness and silence

From the first moment we start the engine, the Mercedes-Benz E 320 can transmit a feeling of peace, silence and comfort. The perfect interior soundproofing barely lets you hear an engine that is already silent in itself. There are no vibrations and everything is smooth: in the operation of the engine, the steering, the automatic change and in the suspensions. On the road, the “Airmatic DC” air suspension (optional) absorbs every unevenness of the floor with enormous efficiency. The ride comfort is outstanding and the E 320 has a rolling quality that borders on perfection for softness and low sound. Once under way, it seems to offer no impediment to movement and its low aerodynamic coefficient (Cx 0.26), the lowest among saloons in its class, allows to reach a high maximum speed: we have measured 244 km / h (247 km / h marked on the speedometer).

All the controls can be handled with ease and the different mechanical systems stand out for their smooth operation and efficiency. The five-speed automatic transmission is very comfortable and pleasant to use in normal conditions. It can be used in fully automatic mode or the gears can be locked manually by sequential movements in the shift lever. In normal use, or even a certain “sporty” style, it works fast enough. If we try to make the most of the dynamic qualities of the E 320, this automatic change is a bit slow in the reductions. On the other hand, the developments are somewhat long and the jump between the 2nd and 3rd speed is very sharp. The steering has a variable reduction ratio , less direct at the beginning and faster in the extreme positions, so it can have a good turning diameter (11.4 meters) with only 2.8 turns of the steering wheel (3.2 laps in the previous Class E). However, I found it too slow and not very direct at the starting point. On the other hand, the E 320 has parametric servo assistance (optional in other E-Class), which varies the degree of assistance depending on the speed: below 100 km / h the force required to move the steering wheel decreases progressively. In general, it seems to me that it has a pleasant touch in any circumstance (in the previous Class E the servo assistance was a bit soft).

Mercedes-Benz E 320 (2002-2004)

Price    € 50,900

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Commercialization      03/2002 – 10/2004

Length 4.82 m

Main trunk volume      540 l

Maximum power         224 CV

Gearbox          Aut

Traction           After

Aut: Automatic

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Mercedes-Benz E 320 (2002) | Soft motor, moderate acceleration and high consumption The engine of the new E 320 is the same that used the previous model. It has 6 cylinders in V to 90 °, three valves per cylinder and variable intake . It develops 224 hp at 5,600 rpm and a torque of 315 Nm between 3,000 and 4,800 rpm. Compared with other similar engines, it does not stand out especially in power in relation to its displacement (70.0 HP / liter). The Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 V6 (220 hp), the Audi A6 3.0 (220 hp), the BMW 530i (231 hp) and the Jaguar S-Type 3.0 V6 (238 hp) have engines with greater specific power . However, the Mercedes-Benz engine is the one that has a higher torque (the other models named develop between 265 and 300 Nm at a higher rate). It is an especially pleasant engine and with a good response to any regime. It stands out for its smoothness of operation, reduced sound and good elasticity , but is not able to offer a good acceleration in the E 320. As the acceleration value announced by Mercedes-Benz (0 to 100 km / h in 7.7 s) it did not correspond to what he appreciated subjectively, we made an acceleration from standstill with our Correvit: the result was 9.5 seconds from 0 to 100 km / h and 30.7 s from 0 to 1,000 m.

To the 1,645 kg of weight it is necessary to join also some rather long transmission developments (more than in the previous E 320). Other possible competitors (except the Alfa 166 and the Jaguar S-Type) have a more favorable relationship between weight and power , and shorter developments. On the contrary, the excellent aerodynamic coefficient of the E 320 (Cx 0.26 vs. 0.30 and 0.32 of the other models) allows it to be the fastest in maximum speed. Mercedes-Benz announces 243 km / h and we have measured 244 km / h real (247 km / h in the speedometer). The previous E 320 had an average consumption of 10.3 liters / 100 km, compared to 9.9 l / 100 km of approved average consumption of the new model. In mixed driving by road and city, at a quiet pace, it has spent 11.9 liters / 100 km (11.8 l / 100 km indicated by the travel computer). In the same conditions, but at an agile pace, it has consumed 14.1 l / 100 km (14.0 l / 100 km on a travel computer), and in deep driving on mountain roads it has reached 21.9 l / 100 km (22.3 l / 100 km on a travel computer).

A nice automatic change

The five-speed automatic transmission of the E 320 (with torque converter ) is very comfortable and pleasant to use in normal conditions (this model is not available with manual transmission). It has two modes of use: either select any of the five speeds fully automatically, or select only up to the speed the driver wants. In the first mode there are, in turn, two operating programs: «sport», which is the automatically selected program, and «winter» (winter), which we select by pressing a button next to the selector lever. With the latter, the gearbox gears as long as possible, to limit the torque made by the wheel and, with it, the risk of losing motor . This automatic change has an electronic management that, depending on the information it receives from various sensors (accelerator position, speed with which the accelerator is operated, vehicle speed and geared gear) adapts its operation to the driving style that is performed in every moment. In a quiet drive, the upper gear engages at low speed to increase the smoothness of the gear and reduce consumption; in sports style driving changes at maximum speed (between 6,000 and 6,200 rpm), reduces in braking hurries (although not too effectively) and can hold the gear for a few moments, without changing to the top gear, when we lift the foot of the throttle.

Airmatic DC, a highly recommended suspension

The Mercedes-Benz E 320 Elegance we tested had the air suspension called «Airmatic DC». This suspension is optional on all E-Class (standard on E 500) and I think it is worth paying for it the 2,176 ??what it costs With this suspension, the stability of the E 320 is exemplary, in the same measure as comfort. It is as comfortable as it is stable and its level of comfort and smoothness is the best we can find among the sedans of its class. It has very neutral and predictable reactions. At the limit it is slightly understeer , but depending on how we drive it, we can achieve very neutral reactions. It surprises positively by his agility of movements, in spite of his 4,8 m of length and 1,645 kg of weight. The braking team that has the E 320 I think is the best that exists today for a saloon series. It stands out in all the aspects: tact and precision of the pedal, power, resistance to the demanding work and, especially, in efficiency of braking in curve. It has brake discs of 295 mm in diameter front and 300 mm behind (before 300 and 290 mm respectively) and has, for the first time, aluminum clamps on both axes (the front ones are four pistons).

Like the rest of the new E-Class, what differentiates the braking equipment of the E 320 is that it comes standard with the SBC (Sensotronic Brake Control) system developed jointly with Bosch. It is mainly responsible for its extraordinary efficiency and integrates, in turn, the antipatination system ( ABS ), emergency brake booster (BAS), electronic braking distributor (EBD), traction control (ASR) and stability control (ESP) . More technical information of the SBC system . Comfort for four and good trunkThe interior is still more functional than in the previous E-Class, although it only allows four adults to comfortably travel. In fact, the rear of the passenger compartment still has the same defects as the previous E-Class: a very bulky central tunnel and a design of the rear seats that is appropriate to accommodate only two passengers (which, yes, will be very comfortable) . The interior measurements are very similar to those of the previous E-Class, it has hardly grown in legroom and height to ceiling, but it is a bit narrower. It has a spacious cabin; no more than other sedans similar in width, but in height and space for the legs.

Driving position: everything under control

The air suspension Airmatic DC allows to select between three degrees of hardness, but it seems to me that in the normal position the car goes well in any case. If any of the two hardest positions are selected, the loss of comfort is clearly noted and not the stability gain. The comfort of suspension also seems outstanding. The passengers are very well insulated from all kinds of irregularities: those of higher frequency that mainly affect the tires, those of medium frequency that mainly affect the suspension, and the wider ones that cause slow movements of the bodywork. The unit we have had not braking particularly well. In our braking measurements we completely stopped the car and, at the end of each test, it seemed to lengthen the braking. The resistance to warming is greater than that of any other sedan that I have driven.

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