Mercedes E-Class review
The Mercedes E-Class blends sumptuous comfort, refinement and tech in a stylish executive package
The fifth generation Mercedes E-Class arrived in 2016 and, as the styling suggests, it feels a lot like a smaller S-Class. That's a good thing, as it set new standards in the class for comfort and has an impressively sumptuous cabin.
Refinement is also top notch, while the S-Class-inspired technology makes it safer and easier to live with. It’s not quite as fun to drive as a Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series, but it’s close enough in a class where cruising ability and composure count. The entry-level diesel is now faster and more efficient than ever, too, which will be important for business users, while there's some scorching AMG-badged performance models for those who need more pace.
While it's more expensive than its rivals, even the entry-level E 220d SE packs more standard kit than the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. Overall, it’s a comprehensively equipped, efficient and stylish package that's well worth considering if you're in the market for a new executive saloon.
The Mercedes E-Class is about as traditional as you can get in the executive saloon market. There was a time when Mercedes' line-up was based exclusively on this size of saloon, but today there are so many different models in the range that the E-Class faces the risk of being lost in the line-up. Fortunately, Merc knows that the E-Class is still one of the most important models in its range, so it gets a host of hi-tech gadgets, advanced engines and a plush fit and finish to maintain its appeal.
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The current E-Class arrived in 2016, but while the W213 model is the fifth-generation to wear the E-Class badge, its saloon roots can be traced all the way back through to the Ponton Mercedes saloons of the 1950s. There are some illustrious models in the Mercedes saloon back catalogue, including the W114 and W124, but with every model, Mercedes has improved its executive saloon to keep it competitive in the sector.
The E-Class name first arrived in 1993, when the facelifted W124 model hit showrooms with the newly added E badge on its name, and almost 30 years later the E-Class is still one of the leading lights in the executive saloon class. Its main rivals are its German counterparts in the shape of the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, while the Jaguar XF is a strong contender, too. In addition, high-end versions can rival the Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera, while cars like the Lexus ES and Volvo S90 offer something different in the class. At the very top of the tree, the AMG E 63 S is a super saloon that delivers supercar pace in a luxury four-door package.
Like the last model, the current E-Class is offered in four body styles: four-door saloon, estate (including the four-wheel-drive All-Terrain Edition), coupe and convertible. All versions borrow technology from the S-Class limousine, while the styling gains some influence from that model, too. The saloon really does look like a shrunken S-Class, and it could even be difficult to distinguish it from the C-Class from a distance.
There are three basic trims, SE, AMG Line and AMG Line Edition, while Mercedes offers Premium packages for the latter two trims that add plenty of additional kit. More luxurious equipment levels include the AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, followed by the Mercedes-AMG Premium and Premium Plus versions.
Even in standard guise the SE model is pretty well equipped, while AMG Line adds a sportier look with bigger wheels, although as well as the two Premium packages, there are a range of options that can be added, too.
There’s a decent range of engines in the E-Class, with diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains on offer. The E 220 d and E 300 d four-cylinder variants, along with the E 350 d and E 400 d straight-six units make up the diesel range, while a single four-cylinder 2.0-litre, fitted to the E 200, covers the lower end of the petrol line-up.
Two hybrids are available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine fueled by either petrol or diesel and mated to an electric motor. The E 300 e is the petrol version and the E 300 de is the diesel. Both offer an all-electric range of around 30 miles.
At the top of the standard petrol range is the E 450 4MATIC, followed by the beefy AMG E 53 and AMG E 63 S models. The AMG cars have straight-six or V8 twin-turbo engines respectively, with 4MATIC four-wheel-drive standard on both. All E-Class versions feature a nine-speed auto gearbox.
Prices start from around £39,000 for the E 220d model, while all other models sit above the £40,000 road tax threshold. The most expensive E 63 S saloon is almost £100,000.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Mercedes E-Class blends sumptuous comfort, refinement and tech in a stylish executive package
- 2Engines, performance and driveImproved efficiency and refinement is where Mercedes has made big strides with the E-Class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsNew 2.0 diesel improves CO2 emissions to class-leading levels
- 4Interior, design and technologyHigh quality cabin, plenty of practicality and lots of tech make the new Merc E-Class easy to travel in
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceJoint biggest boot in class and a roomy cabin offer plenty of practicality
- 6Reliability and SafetyCutting-edge safety tech and clever protection systems mean E-Class is arguably even more advanced than S-Class big brother