The Mercedes-Benz E450 Has One Mission: Comfort Above Everything

By automotive-mag.com 8 Min Read

You know, there’s still something to a good sedan. It’s becoming a lost craft, with all the rigamarole surrounding crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. Or even the super-ification of every sedan left on the market. The joy of a luxury sedan—emphasis on luxury—has almost been lost. After a weekend with the new and distinctly unsporty 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450, I was firmly convinced: It is a beaming beacon of serenity and sanity.

OK, sanity might be a bit of a stretch considering Mercedes has added an optional third screen to an already LCD-dense dashboard. And yes, the infotainment might be overwhelming for most. But there’s still something to the E450 that I haven’t found in anything besides other mid-grade Mercedes products: A holistic approach to the problem of comfort and luxury. The core of the new E-class is that of a fuel-sipping, soft-riding, silent commuter missile.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
Quick Specs 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450
Engine Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I-6 Mild-Hybrid
Output 375 Horsepower / 369 Pound-Feet
Fuel Economy 22 City / 31 Highway / 25 Combined 
Base Price $69,250
As-Tested Price $90,970

Deep beneath the hedonistic amount of gimmicks, this is a car to pay attention to. In a market of dreary or outright ugly (looking at you, BMW i5), this Benz doesn’t miss the forest for the trees. This, folks, is still a true luxury sedan.

With an all-new generation for 2024, the E450 is still the mid-size sedan choice in the Mercedes matrix of cars. For the nerds, it’s called the W214 (superseding the W213), and it has grown in every direction despite looking largely like the old one. It’s one inch longer, 1.1 inches wider, and half an inch taller than before, with a fully redone interior that is closer in vibe to the EQ range of EVs. The E450 keeps its smooth and reserved turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six (thank god) with 375 horsepower and 369 lb-ft, and it goes a full half-second quicker to 60 miles per hour than before, though performance is hardly the objective.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review

With the new ergonomics, the 2024 E-Class is the first non-EQ Benz to feature three displays in its dash: A 12.3-inch gauge cluster, a 14.4-inch central display, and a 12.3-inch passenger display. While the gauge cluster and central display are standard, the third display is part of the $1,500 MBUX Superscreen package. And before you ask—no, there are almost no buttons in sight. I could only track down two: The fog light switch and the hazard lights.

Regardless, the new interior is stunning and well-considered. A full-length brushed metal vent motif spans the dash and frames the vastness of the screens, cleanly integrated with the HVAC vents, and some subtle ambient lights. Above the dash and below the dash, much brighter (and more preposterous) spans of LEDs brighten the cabin at night— a love or a hate depending on your stance on screens. If it tickles you, you can also adjust the brightness of the ambient lights on three separate zones to fine-tune your eye comfort.

Pros: Quiet, Efficient, Supple Ride

Once upon a time, the huge infotainment display would’ve been the most contentious part of the cabin. But much like a battle-worn middle school teacher, it’s just the reality of the game. It dominates the interior but is made subtly more intuitive with this latest iteration of the MBUX infotainment system. There are more shortcuts than ever, fewer annoying pop-ups, and a lot more usability overall than the first iterations of the touch-centric system.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review

Even the touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons feel less offensive than before, thanks to good calibration and haptic feedback. Still, it doesn’t quite replace hard buttons, and some basic adjustments like audio equalizers, brightness, and seek/track controls are unnecessarily screen-bound or behind several menus.

However, some of the gimmickry is actually hilarious. The E450’s ambient lighting can be music-reactive, turning the already nightclub-like lighting into an outright rave. Its excellent Burmester stereo has something called “4D” sound, which is just dedicated speakers in the front seats that give you a bass-fueled massage. Then, the gauge cluster can look 3D by using a special screen that, in principle, works like those ridiculous blue and red 3D glasses of old.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review

Despite the gimmicks and the amount of displays approaching sports bar levels, the car clearly understands the mission. It’s not about performance or speed, and it’s certainly not the multi-purpose sport sedan every enthusiast seems to expect. This is a true luxury sedan.

Cons: Useless Gimmicks, Confusing Infotainment, Driver-Assist Needs Work

If provoked, the E450 will take a corner with competence. But it just feels indecent to put the poor thing through it. It’s happiest at a cruise, whisking you and some passengers around in true comfort. All four seats are comfortable, though not incredibly soft. There’s some firmness and structure to them that trades plushness for long-term support. For my 5’9” frame, it worked nicely with plenty of room to spare. Visibility was excellent, too.

Then there’s the unbelievably low noise floor, which made me realize just how bad my tinnitus has gotten recently. You could whisper to your passengers at any speed, and the E450 didn’t betray wind leaks on the highway. Semi-trucks in the lane directly next are drowned out unbelievably well. The world truly disappears. With the excellently crisp, rich, and tonally warm Burmester stereo at a decent volume, the world is replaced with one of your own creation. It is just lovely.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review
2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review

Combined with the optional air suspension, it wafts along making time disappear on long drives. It’s easy, with lightly weighted inputs and gently dulled response. Mercedes has done good work to make the E450 anything but a chore to drive, but its usually excellent advanced driver’s assistance systems (ADAS) were left of the mark in my example.

Lane keep was constantly confused, and didn’t interact well with the adaptive cruise. The normally excellent automatic lane change feature also stumbled and lacked confidence. With all the active systems off, adaptive cruise finally worked well, but it’s a strange hiccup from the often unparalleled Mercedes systems.

2024 Mercedes E450 4Matic Review

It’s no enthusiast’s sedan, not by any stretch. At least not until some AMG version arrives. This is a car for your neighborhood dentist or doctor.

But, like the facelifted Mercedes GLC300 I drove last year, there’s something to the old-school approach of making a luxury car. For most folks, this will be a lovely companion for the everyday commute. It’s non-pretentious, doesn’t come with a flashy badge, and doesn’t have 7,000 horsepower. The 2024 Mercedes E450’s mission is simple and easy to understand: Comfort above everything else.

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