The great all-arounder. A concept as familiar to sports fans as it is dear to gearheads, the expression sums up a person or thing that excels by way of diffuse – rather than concentrated – excellence. This is an especially formidable concept in the picky midsize sedan segment of the luxury car world, we’d argue, where brand loyalty and the force of history often power purchases as much as a car’s feature set. Do nothing wrong and win, assuming your brand is strong and your model’s reputation sterling.
In the case of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, both brand and model are held in high regard, of course. What’s more, the current iteration of the car, substantially revised for 2014, is very much in the competitive mix with other luxury sedans in most categories, without really being the best at any one thing.
The question is, does that make it the best choice in its segment overall?
We grabbed the keys to a well-optioned E350 4Matic sedan in an attempt to answer just that. Though rear-wheel drive is standard for the E-Class; diesel- and V8-power available; and coupe, convertible and wagon bodystyles are on the offer sheet, the V6-propelled, all-wheel-drive sedan seems to be a bread-and-butter choice for executive shoppers here in the northern part of the country. And, of course, BMW, Lexus, Audi, Cadillac and all the other contestants make sedans with similar drivelines, power and price tags.