Sunday, August 3, 2008


Luxury all the way

The Mercedes-Benz E280 AMG gives new meaning to power on the road and new perspective to sporty design
by Y.S. Khong

powerful Mercedes-Benz E280 is now available with a look-good AMG body kit, plus a sports suspension package for the more discerning and demanding buyers of this icon of success.

The E280 series is designed to cater to the higher-echelon customer who demands more power and is willing to pay for it. With a V6, 3.0-litre, 24-valve engine producing 231 horses and 300Nm of torque, the E280 can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 7.3 seconds, and achieves a top speed of 248kph.

The inclusion of an AMG Sports Package makes it even more potent on the road. The package consists of a body kit, larger wheels and tyres, and an up-rated suspension.

The AMG body kit consists of a re-styled front and rear apron, 18-inch alloy wheels – 8.5in wide at the front with 245/40R18 tyres, and 9in wide at the rear with 265/35R18 tyres.

Also included is an AMG exhaust system, tuned to give the engine better response and a more sporty exhaust note. The deep-throated roar of the V6 through this exhaust system is a head turner when you whiz by at high speed.

Other standard features for the E280 AMG include a sun-roof and an on-board navigation system. Drive is to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Paddle shifters on the AMG Sports steering wheel, sports pedals and foot rest in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs add to the sporty feel.

The AMG Sports handling package includes up-rated coil springs and dampers, plus newly-developed spring link bearings for more neutral handling around corners.

Safety is not forgotten with the anticipatory ‘Pre-safe’ system from the Mercedes S Class and the ‘Neck-pro’ head restraints, with sensors that will move the headrests forward within milliseconds during a rear impact to minimise whiplash injuries.

ABS, BA, and ESP are standard issue, with the addition of an adapting braking system adapted from the S Class. In wet conditions, the system automatically ‘applies’ minimal braking to keep the discs and pads dry, and it also ‘pre-engages’ the brake pads when it senses a sudden ‘lift-off’ on the accelerator to minimise the time it takes for the pads to ‘bite’.

On the road, the behaviour of the E280 AMG Sports is totally different from that of a standard E Class. Additional get-up-and-go makes the E280 AMG more responsive to throttle, and it actually becomes more fun to drive.

With its close ratio seven-speed transmission, it can out-accelerate most cars on the road, and overtaking is a cinch.

Taking the E280 AMG through the old Bentong road is a breeze. You forget that this is a two-ton, large sedan when you get such sporty and neutral handling.

The E280 AMG feels ‘planted’ all the time. Body roll is minimal, and the dampers soak up all the undulations without any problem. The sports suspension is firm, but not harsh; I was pleasantly surprised to find it was quite comfortable.

Fuel consumption is rated at 9.4-9.7 litres per 100km. In real world conditions, I got 440km from RM148 of fuel, (fuel tank capacity of 65 litres with eight litres reserve), and that was with some heavy-footed driving on some stretches.

Not that it would matter to those who can afford to shell out RM438,000+ for one of these cars.

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