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2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec 4Matic

2014 E250 BlueTEC

Base Price: $51,400
Price as tested: $67,000

By Russ Heaps

E-Class, when applied to Mercedes-Benz, can mean many things to many people. A conglomeration of body styles, engines and drivetrains, an E-Class can be just about anything you want it to be including diesel fueled or a hybrid. Sedan, wagon, convertible or coupe. Check. Rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? Check. A turbocharged diesel, a 3.5-liter V6 or turbocharged V8? Check, check and check. If you have $52,000 to $68,000 or more to spend on a car, there is an E-Class for you. There are even some souped-up E-Class AMG versions in the $100,000 range.

Mercedes-Benz handed me the keys to an example of its E250 Bluetec Sedan for a few days of beach cruising and evaluation during a bit of R&R in South Florida in late spring. Bluetec is Mercedes-speak for “clean diesel.” The price for admission into the E250 BlueTec is $51,400; unless, of course, you opt for AWD, which ups the ante by $2,500 to $53,900. Tacking a number of other goodies, such as leather seating, a navigation system, a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, parking assist, blind-spot assist and so forth, onto the test E250 swelled the bottom line to a robust $67,000.

Nothing like the noisy, air-fouling domestic diesels of the 1980s; today’s crop of mostly European clean diesels – including the E250 – are remarkably civilized and a true joy to pilot. Replacing last year’s diesel V6-powered E350 Bluetec, the E250 generates its go with a 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine bolted to a driver-shiftable, seven-speed automatic transmission.

Delivering the best fuel economy among Mercedes-Benz’s extensive stable of sedans, the E250 Bluetec earned an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city, a whopping 42 mpg on the highway and a very healthy 32 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

Great fuel economy, though, isn’t the only story here. All of the other elements we look for in a Benz are packed into this sedan as2014 E250 BlueTEC well. First, the engine and tranny provide plenty of forward thrust. Although its 195 horsepower doesn’t sound like a lot for a sedan tipping the scales at over two tons; it’s torque that gets the drive wheels turning and with 369 ft.-lbs. of it, the E250 Bluetec has plenty. Off-the-line acceleration is brisk and satisfying. Power comes early in the rpm cycle and yet there is still gobs of reserve power for passing on the highway. Acceleration is smooth and determined.

Composed and responsive, the handling leans more to luxury than sporty; but most drivers will feel quite confident with the way this sedan attacks the curves. Perhaps “solid” best describes the E250 Bluetec from behind the wheel. It feels stable and securely anchored. The ride is pleasant, but firm. And, despite being a diesel, it’s pretty darn quiet.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Luxury SedanInside and out, the styling is crisp, clean and contemporary. On the street, if not gawked at, it is at least noticed. Open the door and the cabin whispers restrained luxury. Pony up for the leather seating for the full effect. The front bucket seats are a sweet compromise between supportive and cushy. Three large, round gauges dominate the dashboard directly before the driver. Although at first glance the center stack appears overly fussy with a plethora of buttons, everything is rather simple to operate. Yes, that’s an analog clock in the center of the dash – a new addition for 2014.

Four occupants – five in a pinch – will feel right at home. There is plenty of head and legroom. As with any E-Class, the E250 Bluetec has an assortment of standard amenities and creature comforts including Mercedes-Benz’s Comand system with its center console-mounted dial control for overseeing a number of the car’s systems like the dual-zone automatic climate control and eight-speaker audio system.

Other standard gear includes a power sunroof, trip computer, 10-way power-adjustable driver and passengers seats, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, and iPod interface.

On the hunt for Mercedes-Benz-style luxury and better-then-average fuel economy? The E250 Bluetec delivers both. Sure there is a bit of a premium to be paid for the Bluetec technology, but a diesel requires less maintenance and should run longer than a gasoline engine. Plus, you’ll get to cruise by a lot more pumps between fill ups.