Is this E200 a move towards autonomous driving?
WE KNOW WHAT you're thinking: 'what's an executive saloon doing on these pages? They only usually test drive the barmy and ostentatious.' And in many ways you'd be correct. If it makes a racket or comes in colours including neon green, you will normally see us behind the wheel. So why are we going all sensible this week? Because despite appearances, like Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, the Mercedes E200 may look conventional on the outside, but underneath it's a twisted genius.
The most noteworthy addition to this model is the Distronic plus technology. This car, as is traditional with E-Classes, pushes the envelope in terms of safety and provides a step forward towards a more autonomous driving experience. Essentially in stop/start traffic such as the rush hour to Sharjah every evening, the car will drive itself. It does this using stereoscopic cameras to make sure it knows its surroundings and two radars to tether itself onto the car in front - adjusting speeds accordingly to avoid collision. Mercedes don't recommend this, but you can take your hands off the wheel and watch it work. The experience is a tad unnerving at first, but affords you a fantastic insight into the future of motoring.
More conventional aspects of the car are also impressive. Inside is spacious for the mid-range luxury marque model and it is obviously a very comfortable environment in which to find yourself. Touches of elegance including the cockpit lighting and more examples of a techie's dream such as the scroll and click command unit for the onboard settings make it more like a business class jet than a car.
Performance wise, It's not blisteringly quick, but then in this segment you don't really need to be. 0-100km/h takes 7.7 seconds and it has a top speed of 240km/h. More than adequate.
Top speed: 240km/h
0-100km/h time: 7.7 seconds
Starting price: Dhs193, 409 (basic E200)