January 18, 2016
Typically, I tend to sway towards Audi when it comes to the big three German automakers, but Mercedes has gained much ground. Daimler AG unveiled the new E-Class at the North American International Auto Show, and now I am a believer. In my opinion, they have attained the level of affection equivalent to that of a pet. Instead of being able to pet a pet in exchange for making sure it does not die, an auto can take you hundreds of miles away and back. Maybe a car cannot cuddle with you when you are afraid of a thunderstorm, but it can protect you from one. In this regard, pets and cars are just about even until they are made distinct by the fact that autos aren’t ever inherently insidious. They may have some nefarious owners or constructors, but cars are relentlessly loyal albeit unreliable at times. However, I am a rather shallow connoisseur. I can forgive a car (sometimes their manufacturers) of just about anything if the final product is beautiful. Jaguar’s C-X75 may be the Villain in the latest bond movie Spectre, but I would rather have it than Bond’s relatively ugly DB10 (despite my typical penchant for Aston Martin), even if it meant that I would be labeled an enemy of MI6. It is because of the amazing aesthetics that my opinion has been swayed; the 2017 Mercedes E-Class has has turned a corner visually. It is not quite as alluring as the Audi A6. Except the interior, which is vintage Daimler AG: simple, yet stunningly tasteful. Benz as a whole has changed their style profile, it started with the S-Class, then went into the G-Class, and now the E-Class has perfected the iconic beauty. Mercedes now has a masculine (muscular) shape across the spectrum. They balanced the shape with curved edges and dainty accents (can you see the Stardust effect on the taillights), while keeping a smooth simplicity. Audi has a more flowing feminine exterior, and the A6 interior is geared more to ergonomics (though this material combination is sublime) as opposed to luxurious aesthetics. However, because the E-Class was more recently revamped; and despite the apparent simplicity in the interior; it is still a superior overall product. Beyond the beautiful face, Daimler AG’s flagship mid-size luxury sedan has improved in every conceivable way. In some senses, it even surpasses the segment leading Tesla Model S. For starters, Mercedes E-Class is lovelier to behold (unfortunately, Tesla Motors made the mistake of allocating designers (they had Aston Design the front and Jaguar the back (that is backwards (Jag actually copied Aston’s revered rump)))). Daimler AG has designed an Autopilot system that is purported to be better than Tesla’s iteration; it has added a feature that forces the driver to periodically acknowledge the road. Rather than having autopilot stay on automatically until driver assistance is absolutely necessary. Mercedes added this feature after daredevils exposed a nifty little oversight, allowing them to let their cars drive themselves while they sat in the and filmed from the back seat. While it is technically more dangerous to be in the back seat while the Mercedes E-Class is in autopilot; it is a beautiful notion. The car is so safe on its own I don’t even have to be in the front seat. People in the lane next to them on the freeway maybe momentarily disconcerted, but then they would see the driver watching Netflix in the back seat and immediately envy both his bravado and his beautiful E-Class made by Daimler AG.